Sarah Loya of Surterra Wellness, left, and Lauren Linder, right, Surterra Wellness. (Left, courtesy photo; right, photo by John Disney/ALM)
Sarah Loya, the general counsel of Atlanta-based cannabis company Surterra Wellness, says when she is asked what kind of legal needs she faces, her stock answer is—”every one of them.”
That makes sense for a company aiming to be a major player an industry with explosive growth around the country—all while the federal government and a shrinking number of states consider trafficking in its main product to be a criminal act.
Surterra doesn’t seem bowed by the patchwork legality of cannabis. The company says it is nearing 2,000 employees, with active operations in Florida, Texas, Nevada and Massachusetts, with plans to enter California soon.
The company boasts nearly 1 million square feet of cultivation space and 30 retail dispensaries, including 26 in Florida.
Loya joined the company last year from a partnership at Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, where she worked with clients on corporate matters, especially venture capital, mergers and acquisitions and financing transactions.
Loya said she had several clients in cannabis, including Surterra, which she started working with in 2017. She said the company stood out. Where other companies viewed themselves “like restaurants,” Surterra was dedicated to becoming a leader in the industry.
Loya oversees three other lawyers and a paralegal. She recently hired a deputy GC—Lauren Linder, who started this week after a four-year stint at The Weather Channel.
Last year Linder became the network’s de facto GC when her boss was promoted. “They’re hiring,” she said when asked who was replacing her at The Weather Channel. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
Like Loya, Linder said she was excited to be working at the forefront of a new industry. “I’m walking around here with a big smile on my face,”