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Proponents of the failed “War on Drugs” have long characterized marijuana as a “gateway” drug, meaning it opens the doors to use of heavier, more dangerous narcotics.marijuana lawyer

But now, a new drug rehabilitation center in Los Angeles is touting cannabis as an “exit” drug – a way out of the prison of addiction. As Leafly reports, the center, called High Sobriety, does not focus on complete and total abstinence of all substances (the hard-line approach advocated by groups like Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-step model programs). Instead, participants are encouraged to rely on marijuana as a means to cope with the difficulties of withdrawals and more. Although many treatment models staunchly discourage replacing one drug for another, that’s exactly what facilitators hope to do here. Marijuana, they say, is much less threatening than the harder drugs like heroin, cocaine and prescription narcotics for which the cannabis serves as a substitute.

The facility and its treatment model are quite new, but there is a high likelihood we’ll see more of these centers crop up if there are continued success stories. Although medicinal marijuana has been available in California for those with certain debilitating medical conditions since the 1990s, those in the treatment center won’t need a prescription, so long as they are over 21, thanks to the passage of Prop. 64 last year. Continue reading

Cannabis businesses have many legal issues with which to contend, from banking to bud-tending. Commercial leases for cannabis businesses raise special concerns for both landlords and tenants.marijuana business

Because of the federal civil asset forfeiture program, which allows the U.S. Justice Department to seize assets of any real property used to manufacture or distribute drugs that are illegal under federal law, the typical boiler plate lease won’t cut it. That’s why in many cases, property leases that involve cannabis businesses use something known as an “escape clause,” for instances when there is federal intervention or enforcement action. This can help protect the property owner, but it’s likely to end – or at least halt – the marijuana business indefinitely, likely costing a great deal of money.

We must now also consider the recently-passed Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation Safety Act (MAUCRSA). Structuring the business – and the commercial lease agreement – according to these provisions can help safeguard your financial investment and livelihood.  Continue reading

The Trump Administration’s anti-marijuana policies adversely affect thousands of Americans who rely on the medicinal benefits of cannabis to relieve various forms of suffering. There is, perhaps, no more potent illustration of the harm these policies cause than in the military veteran community.medical marijuana lawyer

The American military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have created a mental health crisis of unprecedented proportions within the veterans’ community. Post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, night terrors, depression, suicide, opioid addictions and other symptoms are increasingly prevalent. According to the National Alliance for Mental Health, nearly one in four active service members shows signs of a mental health condition. The Veterans Administration reports that, in 2014, an average of twenty veterans died every day from suicide. Six out of these twenty daily deaths were veterans who had accessed VA services in an attempt to get help.       Continue reading

Federal banking regulations have made the operation of a cannabis business both a complicated and dangerous proposition. Because cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law, any transactions made at a cannabis business operating lawfully under state law are, nonetheless, considered illegal drug money under federal law. This is a problem for banking institutions, because they are subject to federal law and banking regulations. Most cannabis businesses have no alternative other than to operate exclusively in cash. Continue reading

It is a logical contradiction, but one which can benefit cannabis entrepreneurs: despite being banned by federal law, marijuana and marijuana products can be protected by federal patents. Problems with theory and logic notwithstanding, cannabis business owners can protect and enhance their business interests with an understanding of the patent process.   Continue reading

Since recreational marijuana was legalized in California as of November 9, 2016, residents and government regulators have experienced many unintended consequences of the regulatory sea change. Perhaps one of the most bizarre outcomes is changing an increased power needs for those areas of California which house indoor grow houses.Cannabis farmer attorneys

This is not unlike the British phenomenon of “TV pickup”. There, utility administrators must respond to predictable surges in electricity use. Geek.com reports that these surges are a well-documented correlate of the widespread use of electric tea kettles immediately after popular TV programs end. The British National Grid allots an electricity reserve to manage these surges, and can even access reserves in France when needed. If there is a lesson to be learnt from British utility services, it is that careful planning around reliable data can be used to prevent interruptions in service and other problems as a result of increased electricity demand.   Continue reading

The legalization of recreational marijuana in California has caused massive change in the regulatory framework guiding the industry. Many details remain to be settled. One that has recently come the attention of the state legislature could vastly impact sales for cannabis businesses by imposing advertising restrictions upon them.   Continue reading

Marijuana use has always been an issue of heated political debate. Whether for recreational or medicinal use, staunch opponents fight he presence of  marijuana  just as vehemently as proponents fight its absence. California – with its diverse population and wide variety of political leanings – has a long list of cities and counties that are friendly to cannabis businesses, and just as many which fight to keep such businesses out altogether. These vastly different market climates can mean the difference between life and death for a business.

cannabis business lawyer

The Conundrum of Marin County

In the liberal cannabis climate of Northern California, Marin County is a conservative outlier on marijuana issues. Sonoma County has an estimated twelve thousand residents working in the cannabis industry. Nearby Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino Counties  form an area quickly becoming known as the “Emerald Triangle” for its vast marijuana farms. In contrast, every city and town council in Marin County (other than Fairfax) has either taken public positions against marijuana dispensaries or banned them altogether.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports that this lead Marin County officials to recently reject ten dispensary applications. The County also received two separate anti-dispensary petitions with hundreds of signatures. This is a confusing message from a county which approved the 2016 recreational use referendum by seventy percent.   Continue reading

California cannabis lawyersThe legalization of recreational marijuana in California on November 9, 2016, brought a host of unexpected questions for the commercial cannabis industry. Municipal and county ordinances have created a confusing web of compliance requirements for marijuana cultivators, distributors, and dispensaries. And in some limited areas, marijuana is simply banned altogether.

County supervisors in San Luis Obispo County are considering a package of commercial cannabis regulations. Among other things, the drafted regulations prohibit the growth of marijuana in areas zoned as residential-suburban. The Tribune reports that this would include the California Valley and the entire Carrizo Plain. Limited groundwater and a high concentration of endangered species (the largest concentration in the lower forty-eight states, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife) are reasons given by opponents in support of banning marijuana growth in the Carrizo Plain. This does not, however, give cause for banning marijuana grows in all other residential-suburban areas of San Luis Obispo County.  

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The Adult Use of Marijuana Act ensured that the State of California would begin issuing cannabis business licenses no later than January 1, 2018. The state is working feverishly to meet this deadline. Nevertheless, it is a massive undertaking which will require the coordination of hundred of employees at dozens of state agencies. These include: the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation within the Department of Consumer Affairs; CalCannabis within the Department of Food and Agriculture; the Office of Medical Cannabis Regulation within the Department of Public Health; and the California Department of Technology.

cannabis business lawyer

While it remains to be seen exactly when cannabis business licenses are issued, the state has taken an important step toward implementing an efficient licensing system. Government Technology reports that the state has selected software from Accela, Inc. to manage licensing for the cannabis industry. State Chief Information Officer Amy Tong says the software was chosen due to a competitive price quote, ease and flexibility of use, and its successful history within the industry and other state licensing entities. While this successful history does bode well for cannabis business licensing, it is, of course, no guarantee of success in meeting the state’s January 1 deadline.  Continue reading