Rhode Island Launches Burgeoning Industrial Hemp Program

Time to Think About That Family Business Succession Plan

Register Today: 2018 Cybersecurity Symposium - Protect Against Cyber Attacks


Rhode Island officially entered the nation’s burgeoning and highly profitable industrial hemp marketplace this month. On October 9, 2018, the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation (DBR) began accepting license applications from aspiring growers and handlers (license holders who process industrial help commodities). DBR is the State’s chief regulatory body that is granted authority for licensing and oversight of the program, pursuant to The Hemp Growth Act, Rhode Island General Laws § 2-26-1 et seq.

Much excitement surrounds the launch of Rhode Island’s hemp program. The hemp industry is expected to double in the United States over the next three years into a multi-billion-dollar market. The anticipated passage of further federal legislation to broaden the acceptability of U.S. grown and processed hemp is believed to further expand the marketplace and decrease demand for foreign hemp imported to the States from China and others. It comes as no surprise then, that many will move quickly to be in at the ground floor in state programs like that of Rhode Island’s to obtain favorable market share.

Having a professionally drafted and thoroughly vetted application will best ensure quick processing and acceptance of hemp grower and handler applications with the Department. Indeed, the Department itself has explicitly recommended that “all potential Applicants thoroughly review the Act and the Regulations governing license application procedures and licensee requirements” before attempting to advance an application through the State’s regulatory process. Engaging legal counsel with experience with the Department’s regulatory process, and broader experience within the hemp industry would be most prudent. PLDO Partner Benjamin L. Rackliffe is a leading authority on licensing, compliance and regulatory law regarding the cannabis and hemp industry and has successfully advised investors and owners of cannabis facilities and hemp farms in Rhode Island and throughout the New England region. He can be reached at 401-824-5100 or email

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The most recent PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. Family Business Survey (2017) concludes that succession planning is a “perennial problem” for family businesses. Nearly one-third of family businesses have no succession plan at all, and just 23% have a formal documented plan in place.

One reason why so many family business owners do not engage in proper succession planning is that they view the process as difficult and complex. To be fair, it can be overwhelming to account and plan for family dynamics, career objectives of children, the state of the market in which the business operates, and how the business should be transferred, if at all, to the next generation. Further, business owners typically want to leverage their lifetime work to ensure financial support for their lifestyle after they exit the business.

As one might expect, a comprehensive, tailored succession plan is a significant undertaking. A business owner’s exit strategy should address and take into consideration personal and business asset protection, strategies for tax minimization and value maximization, business continuity planning, estate planning, and possible lifetime transfers of ownership of the family business to the next generation.

To help business owners understand how they can construct an effective business succession plan, an experienced attorney can develop an organized, logical, step-by-step blueprint for the transfer of the business. The blueprint should provide the owner flexibility and adaptability if plans were to change, which they often do. For example, if a key employee were to leave or a third party came along offering top dollar, a well-designed succession plan would be able to adjust.

Business owners have the absolute right to determine how to transition the control and ownership in their business to the eventual successor. Planning for the eventual transition, in whatever form it takes, will take time, and the earlier one starts, the better. Now is the perfect time to begin. To get started, contact Attorney Jason S. Palmisano, who has extensive experience helping clients prepare succession plans as well as wealth management strategies and trust and estate administration. He can be reached at 561-362-2034 or email, or you can contact the firm’s Managing Principal and business attorney Gary R. Pannone at 401-824-5100 or email

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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The designation aims to raise awareness and educate individuals and businesses about how to prevent and protect against the threat of online attacks by cyber criminals.

To help in this effort, PLDO attorneys are joining Compass IT Compliance experts and national and local law enforcement representatives, along with other cyber security professionals in business and academia, for the 2018 Cybersecurity Symposium on Thursday, October 25, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Meehan Overlook in North Providence. The program includes multiple panels covering topics such as “The Art of the Attack,” a review of cyber initiatives and concerns at the federal and state level, “cyber liability insurance 101,” business continuity planning and resiliency, and social and digital media legal issues and data protection strategies to minimize online cyber attacks.

Headlining the symposium’s speaking program is U.S. Congressman James Langevin who is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the Ranking Member of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee.

PLDO Partner Brian J. Lamoureux and Senior Counsel Joel K. Goloskie, both members of the firm’s cyber law and business law teams are featured speakers during the day-long event, along with the following industry-leading cyber professionals: Mark Weatherford, the nation’s first Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity for the Department of Homeland Security and presently a Senior Vice President and Chief Cybersecurity Strategist at vArmour; Captain John Alfred of the Rhode Island State Police Cyber Crimes Unit and Fusion Center Commander; Lt Col Christopher N. Allen, the Detachment Commander and Director of Operations, 102d Cyberspace Operations Squadron in North Kingstown; Jesse Roberts, Professor of Cybersecurity and Network Engineering at the New England Institute of Technology; Brian Kelly, CISSP, CISM, CEH, MSIA, Chief Information Security Officer at Quinnipiac University; Mike Barry, VP of Information Technology at Coghlin Companies, Inc.; and Warren Smay, Chief Technology Officer at Clear Harbor, LLC.

The public is invited to attend. Tickets are $50 and will include breakfast and lunch. All proceeds will go to The Sargent Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island. For more information about the symposium and to register, visit 2018 Cybersecurity Symposium.

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Corporate & Business Overview

Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC
Northwoods Office Park
1301 Atwood Avenue, Suite 215 N Johnston, RI 02919

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