Banking & Financial Services Access
Corporate & Business
Food, Beverages & Consumer Packaged Goods
J.D., Loyola Law School
B.A., University of California San Diego
Sahar Ayinehsazian is a partner in Vicente LLP's Los Angeles office. As a leading member of the firm's Corporate Department, she guides multi-state operators in the cannabis industry in their expansion into new markets across the U.S. and advises businesses, investors, and other law firms on the nuances of executing corporate transactions involving licensed and ancillary cannabis companies.
In 2023-2024, Sahar was recognized by her peers in the "Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch" list for her work in corporate law.
Prior to joining Vicente LLP, Sahar served as the director of regulatory and governmental affairs at a multi-state money transmitter servicing the cannabis industry, where she developed a comprehensive understanding of credit card flow, banking and cannabis compliance. Using her specialized knowledge, Sahar helped establish and currently co-leads Vicente LLP's Banking and Financial Services Access practice. In addition to helping cannabis and cannabis-related businesses establish traditional banking relationships, she assists third-party payment providers with compliance related to state and federal cannabis banking guidelines.
As a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Banking & Financial Services Committee, Sahar works on strategy and educational advocacy to enable state-licensed businesses to obtain accounts at depository institutions. She is a go-to source for businesses, industry groups, and reporters seeking opinions, analysis, and guidance on cannabis and hemp corporate, banking and financial services matters.
Sahar holds a Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from the University of California, San Diego, and a law degree from Loyola Law School, where she was a Loyola Scholar.
Leadership & Community Involvement
- Member, Banking & Financial Services Committee, National Cannabis Industry Association, 2019-2020
- Member, Banking Access Committee, National Cannabis Industry Association, 2018-2019
- Chief Advisor for Banking Policy, California Growers Association, 2018-2019
Sample Representations & Transactions
- Acted as cannabis regulatory and corporate counsel to Cookies, one of the largest multi-state operators in the United States, in connection with various intellectual property licensing and joint venture transactions.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc., one of the largest multi-state operators in the United States, in connection with their signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Verano Holdings, LLC, one of the largest privately held multi-state, vertically integrated licensed operators of cannabis facilities with an extensive portfolio of premium branded products, in an $850 million all-stock deal.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to TILT Holdings Inc. in connection with its acquisition of Standard Farms., a vertically integrated cannabis operator, with the majority of its operations in Pennsylvania, for US$5M cash and US$45M in securities.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to TILT Holdings Inc. in connection with its acquisition of Blackbird Holdings Corp., a distribution company providing logistics operations and software solutions for each touchpoint in the cannabis supply chain, for approximately US$40 million, consisting of US$12M cash and 11,090,453 shares of TILT.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to Canaccord Genuity, LLC on numerous transactions.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to LeafLink.
Represented a device manufacturer on plans to enter the cannabis market and national expansion, including advertising parameters, banking matters, and the status of state legislation.
Represented an entertainment company on a potential expansion into the cannabis industry.
Represented a leading e-commerce company on its plans to expand into the cannabis sector.
Represented numerous cannabis brands and manufacturers in intellectual property licensing and contract manufacturing agreements.
Represented numerous cannabis and ancillary operators in obtaining depository accounts with financial institutions.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to numerous California cannabis businesses seeking to obtain state licensing.
- Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, Corporate Law, 2023-2024
Co-author, "The Six Main Functional Mushroom Types: Opportunities and Ongoing Research ," June 5, 2023
Co-author, "Key Provisions of Delaware’s Recently Passed Legislation to Legalize and Regulate Cannabis," May 16, 2023
Co-author, "Key Takeaways from Maryland’s Adult-Use Cannabis Implementation Bills Awaiting Governor Moore's Signature," April 26, 2023
Co-author, "Functional Mushrooms: The Difference Between Regulation as a Food, Food Additive, or Dietary Supplement," March 3, 2023
Co-author, "Preparing for the Rising Demand for Due Diligence in Cannabis Transactions," May 5, 2020
Co-author, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: California Regulatory Updates," April 29, 2020
Co-author, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: Illinois Regulatory Updates," March 28, 2020
Co-author, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: Washington Regulatory Updates," March 27, 2020
Co-author, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: Michigan Regulatory Updates," March 23, 2020
Author, "Hope for Hemp Banking: Federal Guidance Clarifies and Eases Reporting Requirements," December 12, 2019
Co-author, "Understanding New Jersey's Medical Cannabis Expansion Law," August 2, 2019
Co-author, "Status of Colorado HB19-1090: Publicly Licensed Marijuana Companies Bill," July 16, 2019
Co-author, "Raising Private Capital in the Cannabis Industry," Bloomberg Law, September 2022
Co-author, "Committee Blog: Cannabis and Covid-19 – a Legal Perspective," National Cannabis Industry Association, May 21, 2020
Co-author, "8 Things Investors Should Know Before Investing in Cannabis," Green Market Report, November 1, 2018
Co-author, "Cannabis Compliance for Non-Cannabis Companies," MG Magazine, July 9, 2018
Author, "Curbing Cannabis Cash in a Post-Cole-Memo Climate, MG Magazine, February 1, 2018
Author, "California's Continuing Mission to Curb Cannabis Cash," MG Magazine, December 1, 2017
Author, "Could a Public Bank Solve California's Cash Conundrum," MG Magazine, October 1, 2017
Author, "Giving the Green Light; Federal Cannabis Banking Bills," Community Bankers of Washington Newsletter, June 1, 2017
Author, "Marijuana's March on Capitol Hill," MG Magazine, May 10, 2017
Co-author, "Compliance Considerations in the Cannabis Industry," Direct Cannabis Network, March 1, 2017
Author, "The New Administration Won't Trump Marijuana's Momentum," MG Magazine, March 1, 2017
Author, "Cryptocurrency: A Cannabis Banking Blight," Community Bankers of Washington Newsletter, December 2016
- Speaker, Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, "The State of California Retail,” Chicago, September 27, 2023
- Speaker, PBC Conference 2023, "CRB Due Diligence for Banking Executives,” Washington D.C., September 21, 2023
- Speaker, Minnesota Cannabis Law Conference 2023, "Banking, Liability, and Insurance Issues Around the Business of Cannabis,” Minneapolis, July 31, 2023
- Speaker, Vicente LLP, "Maryland Cannabis Licensing: What We Know, What We’re Waiting For, and How to Get Started Now,” Online, July 19, 2023
- Speaker, 2023 NORML Denver Legal Seminar, "Cannabis Banking: How It’s Done and What’s Left To Do,” Denver, June 08, 2023
- Speaker, Vicente LLP, "Maryland Cannabis Legalization: Implementation & Opportunities,” Online, May 04, 2023
- Speaker, Vicente LLP, "Asset-Light Strategies to Boost Cannabis Business Growth,” Online, April 27, 2023
- Speaker, Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, "Debt Financing: The Industry's White Knight in 2023,” Miami, April 11, 2023
- Speaker, Green Check Verified, "Lawyers, Accountants & Bankers… Oh My!,” Online, February 22, 2023
- Speaker, Rossdale CLE A National Leader in Continuing Legal Education & Training, "Mastering Marijuana & Cannabis Business Regulation for 2023 CLE,” Online, November 30, 2022
- Speaker, MJBizCon, "MJBizFinance Forum - Don’t Sweat Your Debt: Ensuring Healthy Financing in Cannabis,” Las Vegas, November 15, 2022
- Speaker, National Hispanic Cannabis Council, "NHCC Legal Committee Live Seminar: Banking Compliance in the Cannabis Industry,” Online, September 28, 2022
- Moderator, Bisnow California Cannabis CRE Conference, "Creating a Cannabis Centered Community Panel,” Los Angeles, September 20, 2022
- Speaker, PBC Conference (Payments, Banking + Compliance), "Growing and Selling your Cannabis Banking Program,” https://www.pbcconference.com/panel-growing-and-selling-your-cannabis-banking-program, September 08, 2022
- Speaker, Above The Law, "What All Lawyers Need To Know About Cannabis,” Online, March 31, 2022
- Speaker, NCIA Cannabis Business Summit & Expo, "Cannabis M&A is Back: What You Need to Know to Succeed,” San Francisco, December 16, 2021
- Speaker, 2021 NAPABA Convention, "Risky Business: Litigation Challenges and Insurance Solutions for the Cannabis Industry,” Washington, D.C., December 10, 2021
- Speaker, MJBizCon, "Cannabis Branding: An Inside Look at Multi-State Expansion,” Las Vegas, October 22, 2021
- Speaker, Bridge West CPAs & Advisors, "Cannabis Banking Insights: Understanding the Evolution and Preparing for the Future,” Webinar, September 24, 2021
- Speaker, INCBA, "Business Law – Formation 201 - Drafting for cannabis business entities,” Webinar, July 01, 2021
- Speaker, The Cannabis Investor Series - Investing in American Cannabis, "The Path to US Cannabis Legalization,” Virtual, May 04, 2021
- Speaker, Symposium on the Economics and Law of Cannabis Markets, "The Economics of Multi-Sovereign Regulatory Contradiction: How Federal Drug Laws Impact Banking, Payroll and Financial Services in States with Legal Cannabis Markets,” Online, October 12, 2020
- Speaker, ABA Business Law Virtual Sectional Annual Meeting, "BCLC Recent Developments in Business & Corporate Litigation: Annual Review Panel Part 2 - Corporate & Cannabis,” Online, September 23, 2020
- Speaker, Vicente Sederberg LLP, "Protect Your Brand! Cannabis Trademark Strategies and Benefits,” Webinar, September 23, 2020
- Speaker, DRI Cannabis Law Virtual Seminar, "Curbing Cannabis Cash,” Online, September 17, 2020
- Speaker, Emerge Virtual Cannabis Conference, "Fast-acting Edibles: How Technology & Food Science are Fueling the Biggest Change in Cannabis,” Online, September 08, 2020
- Speaker, Vicente Sederberg LLP, "Private Financings in Cannabis,” Webinar, August 26, 2020
- Speaker, MJBizCon 2019, "Finding the Right Investor for You,” Las Vegas, December 12, 2019
- Presenter, HUB International Insurance Services Inc., "On-Demand Webinar: Investing in the Cannabis & Hemp Industries,” -, October 29, 2019
- Speaker, NCIA Cannabis Business Summit & Expo, "Marijuana-Related Banking from Both Sides,” San Jose, July 23, 2019
- Presenter, Loyola Law School, "Cannabis: The California Experience,” Los Angeles, June 06, 2019
- Presenter, Expo Cannabiz Business Conference, Colombia, "Cannabis Banking Setbacks,” Cartagenia, May 11, 2019
- Speaker, Expo Cannabiz Business Conference, Colombia, "Funding Your Cannabis Business,” Cartagenia, May 11, 2019
- Speaker, Hall of Flowers, "Creating a Brand Without Cultivation: White Labeling Laws in 2019,” Los Angeles, May 02, 2019
- Speaker, California Bar Ethics Symposium, "Ethical Obligations in Representing a Marijuana Business,” Los Angeles, April 12, 2019
- Moderator, 2019 National Cannabis Industry Association Seed to Sale Show, "Seed-to-Sale,” Los Angeles, February 02, 2019
- Speaker, 2018 Los Angeles Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, "Taking it to the Bank,” Los Angeles, September 25, 2018
- Presenter, Blunt Talks, "Cannabis Banking,” Los Angeles, June 25, 2018
- Presenter, Loyola Law School, Journalist Law School, "Marijuana Regulations and Banking,” Los Angeles, June 11, 2018
- Moderator, California Growers Association, Spring Quarterly Meeting, "How to Make Your Business Bankable,” Los Angeles, April 05, 2018
- Speaker, 2017 Los Angeles Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, "State of LA Market,” Los Angeles, September 10, 2017
In the Media
- Benzinga, "Is Cannabis Rescheduling A Solution? Experts Delve Into California Cannabis Retail Challenges At Benzinga Conference," October 3, 2023
- Benzinga, "OPINION: Ed Perlmutter On Cannabis Banking In The Time Of SVB," May 19, 2023
- Benzinga, "See What The Partner Of This Cannabis Law Firm Said About Debt Financing At The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference," April 27, 2023
- Highly Capitalized, "Interview: Sahar Ayinehsazian: Partner and chair of cannabis banking group: Vicente Sederberg," December 17, 2022
- Benzinga, "No More Weed Schemes: Pot Retailers Can No Longer Use Cashless ATMs, What Now & Why SAFE Might Not Be the Answer," December 13, 2022
- High Times, "SAFE Banking Act Left Out of Defense Spending Bill," December 9, 2022
- High Times, "Dispensaries’ Cashless ATM Transactions Get The Ax," December 7, 2022
- Green Market Report, "Debt Lending, Financing Top Concerns for Cannabis Industry," November 15, 2022
- Banking Dive, "What Decriminalization Could Mean for Cannabis Banking," October 7, 2022
- High Times, "New Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Cannabis Banking Legislation," September 8, 2022