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While there may come a day when marijuana is legal for recreational use all across the nation, that day is nowhere in sight yet.  President Donald J. Trump has said he would be willing to remove marijuana from Schedule One of the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (USCSA), but that is far from something certain to happen in light of his Attorney General’s feelings about marijuana, and marijuana users.  It would be certainly be a good thing for the nation if marijuana were legal for adults everywhere, but for now, those few states which have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes are finding themselves at a distinct advantage when it comes to what is now being called marijuana tourism, and those in the recreational marijuana business in Los Angeles are hoping to cash in on this.

recreational marijuanaThere was a time when people had to travel to Amsterdam for legal marijuana, and now they can go to Canada as our neighbors to the north have legalized marijuana nationwide, but according to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times, local hotels are trying out new strategies to make their properties more marijuana friendly and hopefully make a big impact in this growing market.   Continue reading

For many decades before recreational marijuana was legalized in California, people were buying marijuana illegally. This included literally buying it on the street in open air drug markets as they are called by the Los Angeles Police Department, and they were also buying on what is often dubbed the marijuana gray market. Now that marijuana is legal for adults to purchase it for recreational purposes, it would seem people would no longer have to buy it illegally.

marijuana tax lawyerThe problem is that people are able to get high quality cannabis products on the gray market, and will not be charged with possession of marijuana under state law for having it, and if they want to purchase it legally, they may be forced to pay much higher prices.  This is not to say there is no risk to those selling marijuana illegally as they can be arrested and charged with various criminal offenses, but there is not much risk to the consumers.  Continue reading

Long Beach will soon be the next city in Los Angeles County to embrace recreational marijuana business planmarijuana after its city council voted overwhelmingly to regulate industry operations. The council passed a series of amendments that will set guidelines for cultivators, testing labs, distributors, and dispensaries in the city, according to an article from Press-Telegram. The 7-1 vote reflected a strong support from council, with the support of the mayor as well as the residents who voted for Proposition 64 in November 2016.

City staffers estimate the move could bring in about $750,000 in taxes from recreational sales next year and a whopping $4.5 million from medical marijuana taxes. City officials also hope to stimulate the economy with a clause that requires collective-bargaining agreements with United Food and Commercial Workers 324, the union that represents cannabis workers, raising the bar on the quality of jobs provided by local establishments. Continue reading

Pennsylvania’s marijuana DUI law could be about to see some much needed reform. State medical marijuanaRep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) is working on a bill that would exempt medical marijuana patients from an overbearing law that prevents them from ever being allowed to drive, according to The Inquirer. The move comes as Pennsylvania Department of Health is in the process of implementing the state’s medical marijuana program.

PA Code Title 75, Sec. 3802, as it currently stands, states: “An individual may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle … (if) there is in the individual’s blood any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance.” Just as under the federal Controlled Substances Act, Pennsylvania also has cannabis listed under their own Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act as a Schedule I narcotic, right alongside heroin, peyote, mescaline and the like. Continue reading

Cannabis legalization isn’t enough to protect someone from being arrested on marijuana criminal charges. Being onemarijuana criminal defense of the trailblazing marijuana business owners in the state isn’t even necessarily enough. Just ask the woman who opened Ventura County’s first legal medical marijuana dispensary. She has spent the last year and a half facing down charges for perjury, possessing and transporting marijuana, and maintaining a place to sell the drug. These charges, however, were recently dropped, freeing her to focus on her business at last.

The woman is also president of a collective in Ojai, Calif. The property of the collective and her own home in Ventura were raided in November 2016, just before Proposition 64 passed on the ballot. She lost many personal possessions in addition to property of the collective. At the time, the collective was operating under the guidelines of Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which regulated use and sales of medical marijuana in the state, but investigators said she was in violation of those rules, according to a Ventura County Star article. Continue reading

California could learn a thing or two from those who paved the way for cannabis legalization. For example, Uruguay cannabis lawyerwas the first country to fully legalize marijuana, and the South American country has learned much as a result of trial-by-error. Cannabis was legalized there five years ago, but it wasn’t until last year that legal sales began. Since then, Uruguay has experienced a number of supply problems. Residents report having to travel long distances to licensed pharmacies, and sometimes once they arrive, the supply is dry.

According to a report from High Times, the issues are two-fold. First an excess in government oversight is creating supply chain issues. Only registered pharmacies can sell cannabis, and there have only been 14 licenses issued out of the 1,200 pharmacies in Uruguay. The government is also in charge of cultivation of marijuana, but only two cultivators have received licenses. Much like in California, when too many restrictions come between buyers and their marijuana, many consumers will choose black market options, even though there are legal options.

Second, the head of the Uruguay National Drug Council said there is an issue of farming capacity. Farming cannabis on such a large scale was not common, and there certainly was not a guidebook available. This led to a learning curve for cultivators to catch up on technology and processing on a mass scale. The two cultivators have just recently reached the allowed capacity of 4 metric tons per year. Continue reading

Time is almost up for marijuana business owners to achieve full compliance of testing and packaging regulations. Forcannabis business six months, businesses have enjoyed a grace period that allowed them to sell marijuana products that were not in total compliance so long as they included a label indicating any safety standards the product did not meet. As of July 1, owners must clear their shelves of all product that does not meet regulations, resulting in an influx of cannabis sales in the month of June and could lead to an impending shortage, according to the Orange County Register.

When Proposition 64 went into effect Jan. 1, it brought with it new sets of rules in regards to recreational marijuana sales. Because marijuana products were already in production long before then, having served the medical marijuana market for almost 20 years, California imposed a grace period in which production and labeling regulations could catch up. This led to retailers bulking up on less expensive products that were not in total compliance at the end of 2017 to keep their stores well stocked in the first half of the year. Now they will need to clear their shelves of any remnants of that stock. Meanwhile, owners will be clamoring to replace that inventory with new products that meet regulations.  Continue reading

A bipartisan blend of politicians has come together to support a bill that could finally offer some marijuana businessconcrete relief from the oppressive federal law that continues to bind the hands of marijuana businesses despite state legalization. The STATES Act, Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States, is a more formal way of declaring that state laws regarding cannabis usurp the federal government’s Schedule I classification under Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812.

According to a report from Leafly, the bill allows representatives who refuse to step into the 21st Century to support marijuana businesses without taking a stance on marijuana at all. It turns the matter purely into a states’ rights issue, which has become the great unifier in the cannabis debate. It also removes industrial hemp from the definition of “marijuana,” freeing many industries that create products unrelated to the psychoactive properties of cannabis. Continue reading

Nine drivers in Northern California are speaking out against what they say are shady practices by marijuana criminal defensepolice departments who allegedly are targeting businesses while transporting cannabis and seizing their delivery and cash. North Coast Journal conducted an investigation of these cases and found a pattern of confiscations over the past three years without any charges ever being filed against the drivers. Each of the incidents allegedly occurred during traffic stops with local police officers, and some said they were not even in the jurisdiction of that department when the stops were made.

It is not unusual that officers would share duties with other departments near major highways, like Highway 101, to patrol those long stretches of road. It’s not even unusual that they would be intercepting illegal drug transports, as the department in question was part of joint efforts to go after cocaine, meth, opioids, ecstasy, and methamphetamines. Also on the list of targeted drugs, though, was marijuana, and drivers alleged officers showed no interest in whether or not drivers were in compliance with state and local laws. One driver described a briefcase full of all necessary paperwork he carried on his route in case he was pulled over, but it allegedly did not protect him, and the contents of his vehicle were confiscated. Continue reading

While we try to hash out how to handle marijuana laws across the U.S., World Health Organizationmedical marijuana is bringing their findings to the global stage. WHO was tasked by secretary general of United Nations to deliver a recommendation on the level of international control necessary for cannabis, according to a Mother Jones report. It is of no surprise to our cannabis law firm that the first report from WHO described marijuana as a “relatively safe drug.”

An international team of marijuana experts contributed to the report, which was presented to the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. The report analyzed both THC and CBD and found evidence it has medical benefits, particularly in relieving symptoms of cancer treatments, pain relief, and anxiety. It also concluded that driving under the influence of cannabis is risky, but not as risky as alcohol. Marijuana use also can also be risky for pregnant women and children. Continue reading