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In what is being characterized as an abrupt change in CBD edible products policy, New York City has begun cracking down on CBD oil following by a late-last-year ruling by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deeming CBD unsafe for consumption in culinary use. Los Angeles CBD business attorneys have begun seeing in this in California also. CBD edibles California law

Last summer, the Orange County Health Department began paying visits to coffee shops, bars and cafes, seizing CBD-laced food and warning the company to stop using illegal cannabis or else pay a fine. The Orange County Register reported the new rules were causing a major shift in the trend of widespread use of CBD oil. The rules impacted many L.A. restaurants and bars that were beginning to rely on sales from CBD cocktail and/or supplement. Some businesses reported CBD-laced products account for 30 percent of their business.

Last week, Florida’s new Secretary of Agriculture – who ran partially on increasing access to medical marijuana – recently made a public statement asserting CBD is not legal to sell in Florida. There is, however, a pending bill in the state legislature that proposes a state regulatory framework for cultivation of hemp and quality control for CBD. Mandatory testing and FDA approval would all be part of that, but so far, that measure has not passed. Continue reading

The latest report on the recreational cannabis industry in California reveals aggregate profits of about $345 million – not $1 billion as was anticipated in its first year. A new report by the state’s Cannabis Advisory Committee, revealed in-depth that one of the biggest drags on the market is dilution due to black market sales of the drug – often cheaper and more accessible than legal purchases from a licensed dispensary – creating unfair competition. Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys know the complex regulatory system doesn’t help. Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer

Gov. Gavin Newsome, a staunch proponent of recreational marijuana legalization who received some $340,000 in campaign contributions from the cannabis industry, said it could take at least five years before the market truly hits its stride. One strategy by the state has been to extend timelines to licensed businesses to comply with all aspects of complicated state and local regulations. However, some evidence suggests this could be hampering business for those already in compliance. Part of the problem also has to do with the fact the state lacks adequate resources to enforce the laws. Pot shops also pay hefty taxes and must invest in significant resources to manage a cash-only operation.

Recently, the governor announced plans to expand the effort to shutter illegal cultivation of marijuana, particularly those operated by international drug cartels in Northern California. Specifically, he’s lending expanded aid from the California National Guard to assist the federal government in cracking down on black market marijuana operations. Analysis by New Frontier Data, a private company that follows marijuana industry trends determined 80 percent of the cannabis sold statewide is black market pot. Profits for illicit marijuana sales are estimated to be four times that of the legal market.  Continue reading

California hemp businesses cheered when the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (“2018 Farm Bill”) approved federal expansion of legalized hemp and hemp-derived products – including CBD (cannabidiol). But when mapping supply chains that cross state borders, Los Angeles hemp business lawyers urge caution.interstate hemp sale

This may seem a bit confusing, given that section 10114(b) of the 2018 Farm Bill expressly states that no state or Indian Tribe has the authority to bar transportation or shipment of hemp or hemp-derived products across boarders, so long as the products meet the criteria of section 10113.

Straightforward, right?

Why Interstate Hemp Shipping Requires Caution  Continue reading

Medical marijuana has long been known to be effective in treating conditions like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain. Yet the U.S. military has long taken a hard-line stance against marijuana, a position solidified during the Vietnam War as reports blasted on the evening news indicated that half of all soldiers deployed were regularly using marijuana. A study by the Pentagon later revealed the actual figure was closer to 70 percent. This, along with the crash of an aircraft carrier by soldiers later found to have marijuana in their systems led to a zero tolerance policy. California medical marijuana veterans

This has led to all sorts of injustices. Historically, it’s been military policy to exclude from entrance any individual who previously used marijuana as a civilian. In recent years, waivers for “past misconduct” have risen, and are expected to continue rising. Just last year, for instance, the Military Times reported a Vietnam War veteran and head of a military school in Florida was terminated for using medical marijuana extract to treat cancer.

Now, Congressional leaders have filed twin bills in the House and Senate to change federal law that would allow U.S. veterans who abide by state medical marijuana laws to avoid federal intervention and would allow doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs to issue medical marijuana recommendations to their patients. The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, sponsored by U.S. Senate Democrats from California and Hawaii, notes that the drug is legal in 33 states and that medical marijuana can be used to treat chronic pain without the use of dangerous and highly addictive opiates. The sponsor of the House version of the bill said in a statement, “it’s past time to end the anti-science, anti-health cannabis prohibition laws that prevent veterans from accessing health care.” Continue reading

Leaders in luxury are looking to grace their way into marijuana product sales in Los Angeles, with a high-end New York retailer inking a partnership with an upscale cannabis firm to offer a large line of cannabis accessories and “lifestyle products” under the business model concept of a “wellness shop.”luxury marijuana products

Los Angeles marijuana retail attorneys recognize the ways in which this illustrates the many ways in which ancillary companies can break into the bud-tending business. Because marijuana is such a versatile plant – used in everything from medicine for seizures and anxiety to shampoo – we’re likely to see more of these non-traditional dispensaries on the horizon.

These companies need the advice and guidance of a dedicated Los Angeles retail marijuana lawyer to help them navigate the complex legal landscape, ensuring they can offer their products in a way that aligns with state and local regulations – to protect their brand and their assets. Continue reading

Years ago, you could call your Los Angeles pot product pretty much anything you wanted, and not only would you find a market for it, you were unlikely to face costly litigation if you swiped someone else’s style. As marijuana increasingly gains legitimacy across the U.S. (now fully legal in Canada), preserving your budding cannabis brand is becoming a significant legal issue for Los Angeles marijuana businesses. Our California cannabis attorneys can help you in this and other endeavors in launching – or rebranding – your legal marijuana business. cannabis intellectual property protection

As NBC Los Angeles recently reported, now that regulations in the year-old recreational marijuana industry are beginning to settle, some companies are revamping their whole image in an effort to appeal to a wider audience. (Years of “reefer madness” propaganda, a spotty patchwork of state medical marijuana statutes and a spate of federal raids hadn’t helped the industry’s image.)

Building on this previously-untapped market, long-time dispensaries are taking a new tact on branding, while those just breaking into the market are working on forging their recognition for the first time. Unfortunately, because federal law – specifically the U.S. Controlled Substances Act – remains at odds with the now-majority of states that legalize the drug in some form, not all types of intellectual property protection are available to marijuana businesses. Nonetheless, acting on available protections now can help combat copycats in the present while better positioning them to seize further opportunity if/when the government does repeal the CSA. Continue reading

In the more than two decades since California voters approved legal marijuana as medicine, we’ve seen a dramatically-altered legal and political landscape in the California cannabis industry – and yet cash is still king

When medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives first started cropping up around California in 1997, they had to heavily guard their assets – both product and cash. Banks, cowed by federal law that might ensnare them on criminal money-laundering charges, denied accounts to almost everyone who profited from cannabis, a Schedule I narcotic. Being state-legal didn’t matter.marijuana asset protection lawyer

More than 20 years later, although California was late to join the recreational sales party, our Los Angles cannabis lawyers have seen so much of the legal landscape change. Profits are not only allowed, but encouraged. Collectives and co-ops were outlawed as of last month. Businesses are licensed and heavily regulated and taxed. Everything from seed-to-sale is tracked and tested by outside labs.

And yet: Most Southern California marijuana businesses still can’t convince banks to do business. That means in a world where e-commerce is booming, retail stores are shuttering and most people pay with plastic, marijuana businesses can’t move money electronically. So every time cash must be moved – to pay a vendor or file taxes – it’s almost always coordinated with teams of gun-strapped security officers (many ex-military) and armored cars, equipped with bullet-proof glass and high-end GPS tracking. Continue reading

With tax season in full swing, the deadline approaching April 15th, California cannabis companies and growers are hauling in piles of cash to government offices to ensure their taxes are paid. However, neither those firms or government employees are keen on dealing with the archaic process of hand-counting dollars. Yet as our California cannabis business attorneys can explain, these tax woes are indicative of the long-standing and much bigger problem: Marijuana businesses can’t access banking. California cannabis company lawyers

Despite the fact that now 10 states plus the District of Columbia have marijuana legal for recreational purposes (1 in 4 Americans lives in a state where recreational use is legal), the federal Controlled Substances Act that still designates marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic means banks are reticent to get involved. Doing so could risk the U.S. Department of Justice coming after them for money laundering. Recently, The Modesto Bee reported the U.S. House of Representatives intends to hold hearings on bills that, if passed, could allow marijuana companies easier access to banking services – some six years after states started legalizing the plant for recreational use. It’s not the first time the issue has been raised, but it had always stalled in the past with Republicans being the Congressional majority – even when, as recently as 2017, the House bill had 95 bipartisan co-sponsors and a sister measure in the Senate had 20.

Lawmakers from Colorado and Washington are sponsoring a new marijuana banking bill that cannabis lawyers in Los Angeles know could help these companies – and government workers – avoid the risk of carrying around large cash stashes that may make them vulnerable to criminal targeting. As it now stands, the California Tax and Fee Administration already has to expend substantial resources to carefully plan for cannabis company tax payment drop-offs. In Humbolt County, where a large number of marijuana growers operate, the tax collector’s office has invested in numerous cash-counting machines, which so far have helped to processed some $10.3 million in marijuana tax revenue. Statewide, officials collected nearly $230 million in tax revenue from the marijuana industry in the first nine months of last year. Little less than half of that was reportedly submitted via cash payment. Continue reading

If you are operating a marijuana business in Los Angeles County without a license: You’re probably going to want to promptly seek legal representation from lawyers with longtime experience in state and federal marijuana criminal and civil cases. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control reported it had carried out search warrants on two businesses – one in Los Angeles County and the other in Sacramento County – for allegedly operating an unlicensed cannabis company.Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

January 9th marked the end of what state regulators called the grace period for unlicensed marijuana businesses across the state. This was akin to a warning shot, with the agency noting the several hundred unlicensed marijuana retailers and delivery services statewide are “taking their chances.” Even if they do close shop, there is no guarantee authorities wouldn’t take action after the fact, though it’s more probable they’ll want to pursue action against those in active operation.

Licensed L.A. marijuana retailers have been complaining for the last year that black market operators were undercutting their sales with an unfair advantage. The Sacramento raid stemmed from a complaint filed with the BCC, though the agency didn’t indicate where the tip originated.  Continue reading

Marijuana business entrepreneurs are increasingly striking green in the Golden State. If you’re looking to launch a new pot shop or any company ancillary to the cannabis industry: California is a prime location. Our Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys could have told you that, but this comes from a new report by FitSmallBusiness.com, which ranked California the No. 5 best state in the U.S. for cannabis start-ups. marijuana entrepreneur

The study analyzed numerous factors, including how easy it is for a new business owner to enter the market, what it costs to do so, how much you’ll pay in taxes, how many laws and regulations exist and the overall market opportunity.

Oregon wrestled the No. 1 spot, Colorado No. 2, Michigan No. 3 and Alaska No. 4.

The fact that we aren’t first – despite being the biggest legal marijuana market despite being the largest marijuana market – was attributed largely to our patchwork of laws and hefty taxes (15 percent excise and a sales tax for recreational product). There’s also a mid-range startup fee – $5,000 for business applications. Compare that to Oregon where the fee is a cheap $250 but then also to Illinois, where a cultivator licensing fee costs $200,000 – all but ensuring any prospective small business owners would be pushed out.

Still, California secured the most recreational marijuana revenue of any in 2018 – it’s very first year – at $2.75 billion. Continue reading