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A growing swell of support for decriminalization and legalization of marijuana – and expunging the criminal records of those with prior cannabis convictions – could indicate these policy changes might become reality in the next few years.

A top advisor to Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, stated emphatically that these would be top priorities for the new administration if he’s elected. L.A. cannabis lawyers

In an interview with MSNBC, the advisor referred to these drug reform policy proposals as “modest,” but also imperative, underscoring that neither Biden nor his pick for vice president, Kamala Harris, think people should be jailed for non-violent drug offenses.

This isn’t a total 180 from the campaign’s previous platform on drug policy, but it does indicate that marijuana reform is something that is being pushed to the forefront. The idea of decriminalizing – and going a step further to legalize – marijuana at the federal level was part of the recommendations made by a criminal justice task force that Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) launched earlier this year. But Biden’s position doesn’t go quite that far. Continue reading

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released a new interim rule on hemp and derivative products, such as CBD. The DEA insists that this final rule simply conforms the agency’s regulations to the statutory changes made to the Controlled Substances Act in the 2018 Farm Bill. hemp cbd lawyers

But our Los Angeles CBD lawyers know that those in the hemp processing business still need to use special care. The 2018 Farm Bill did in fact legalize hemp, its derivatives and extracts. Yet nothing in the bill expressly covers processing of hemp, and the new DEA regulations don’t address it either. This creates some concern that hemp processing companies may face criminal actions because the chemical effect of the hemp extraction process can push the THC concentration above the legal limit. Continue reading

A superior court judge tentatively ruled against cities pushing to overturn the government rule allowing California marijuana deliveries everywhere in the state. But the case isn’t over yet.L.A. marijuana delivery lawyers

In the ruling, the judge expressed doubt that some of the cities that filed the complaint even have legal standing to bring the action. Some have no local ordinances in place that expressly conflict with the California Bureau of Cannabis Control‘s marijuana delivery rule. If they lack legal standing, there is nothing to dispute.

This is a case that will likely have far-reaching implications for legal marijuana sales statewide. The question is whether it’s the state or local governments who maintain control over marijuana cultivation and sale within different jurisdictions. Continue reading

As longtime Los Angeles cannabis business lawyers, we recognize that there are significant legal barriers to entry in California’s legal marijuana market. For this reason, an increasing number of smaller farmers are jumping on the bandwagon of something called “contract cannabis farming.” This is a common practice in mainstream agriculture that is just starting to gain steam in the cannabis market.Los Angeles cannabis contract lawyer

These types of contracts diverge from the normal model of cultivation employment, and they can even vary significantly from contract to contract. Basically land owners gain the appropriate cultivation permits from local and state authorities. From there, they contract with experienced cannabis crop growers who conduct the actual farming. Many of these farmers are legacy growers who weren’t successful in landing their own state cultivation permits due to so many barriers to entry. The land owners and the growers then split the profits. Additionally, farmers get their foot in the door of an industry they may not have otherwise. That could result in more opportunities down the line.

Cultivation contracts vary in length and scope, but they typically last a year or so, but some continue in perpetuity until one or both parties dissolves the relationship. Neither should enter such an agreement until having it carefully examined by a California cannabis business lawyer experienced in contract drafting and review. The importance of this is underscored by the fact that there have been numerous lawsuits stemming from these arrangements, with allegations including fraud, breach of contract and labor law violations. Continue reading

The 2018 Farm Bill left no question as to the legality of hemp when it removed the crop – and its derivatives like CBD – from the definition of “marijuana” as listed within the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. The measure gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulatory authority over how hemp could be grown under federal guidelines. That said, states were given the option to assert primary regulatory authority over hemp growth and production inside its own borders. States that wanted to do this needed to submit plans to the USDA. Los Angeles CBD Lawyer

Although states weren’t given a strict deadline for submission of their own plans, it was noted in USDA interim rules that previous federal statute governing cultivation of hemp (the 2014 Farm Bill) expires at the end of October. That means hemp industry insiders in states that don’t turn in their hemp cultivation and production plans prior to Oct. 31, 2020 may have issues if their practices are not consistent with federal law.

As a longtime Los Angeles CBD lawyer, I have been closely watching these developments in California. In 2019, state lawmakers passed SB-153, a measure that required the state’s attorney general and department of food and agriculture to team up and put forth a hemp production plan to the federal agriculture department by no later than May 2020. However, that did not happen. According to the USDA, the feds are still waiting on California’s plan. Continue reading

The U.S. Department of Justice is requesting that a federal court intervene to force marijuana regulators in California to turn over records on cannabis business licenses, shipping manifests and other data. The purpose of that request remains unclear. Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer

According to L.A. Cannabis News, a petition filed within the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California shows the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in January issued a subpoena to the California Bureau of Cannabis Control for records pertaining to cannabis companies and owners. Regulators refused to turn the records over, citing the federal government’s failure to specify the relevancy of their request. Furthermore, the agency said they risked violation of privacy laws by turning over the records.

What is not clear to our Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys is what type of federal investigation is occurring such that would require records pertaining to legal cannabis operations. Overall, the current administration has taken a hands-off approach with respect to state-legal marijuana laws, even after they had rescinded the Obama administration memorandum directing federal prosecutors to generally avoid meddling in state-legal marijuana markets. The president has said he supports the right of state governments to set their own cannabis laws, regardless of federal-level prohibition. Continue reading

In the four years since marijuana has hit the legal market in California, the legal parameters of the industry have transformed at sometimes breakneck speed. The industry is, in a sense, always looking ahead. But because the laws and regulations have changed so quickly, it’s imperative to consult with your Los Angeles marijuana business attorney to periodically look back at older agreements and contracts – ensuring you aren’t overlooking any previous obligations or restrictions. Los Angeles marijuana business attorney

This point was underscored recently in the California Appellate Court decision in Metsch v. Heinowitz. In this case, the appellate court refused to enforce a contract to produce and distribute marijuana edibles. The contract had been drafted in 2014 – at a time when cannabis wasn’t legal for recreational use in California. This factored significantly in the court’s ability to enforce it. Continue reading

Significant reforms in the Los Angeles cannabis business licensing process may be on the horizon, as city council recently approved changes. Tweaks include tightening rules pertaining to the social equity program, implementing a lottery system for newer licenses and imposing new rules for dispensaries operating in neighborhoods that have already reached their limit.marijuana business lawyer

The initial approval of these significant changes to Los Angeles’ marijuana business licensing and social equity program marks the end of months-long delays that halted permitting and had resulted in significant frustration among stakeholders.

The changes aren’t final until council approves them one more time and the mayor signs off, but it’s a significant step. A separate motion was adopted to allow 100 of those who won social equity licenses in the lottery last year to be placed on an immediate track for approval.

The vote, however, doesn’t completely make it up to those affected by the extensive delays. Many note they’ve been paying hefty rents on marijuana business properties they have yet to be able to open. Continue reading

California businesses operate legally all over the state (under certain licensing and oversight conditions), but that doesn’t mean companies can expect a hassle if they operate near an international boarder.Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys
Of course, lack of harmony between the state and federal positions on marijuana is nothing new. But it’s important for marijuana businesses in cities close to international borders to use extra caution, and consult with a California cannabis lawyer for insight on how best to protect their investment, operation and employees from legal headaches. As The Los Angeles Times reported recently, those in Imperial and San Diego counties especially need to beware due to the closeness of the U.S.-Mexico border. The U.S. Boarder Patrol has the authority to establish checkpoints that stretch as far north as 100 miles past the international line.

In one reason case, a small van transporting about $15,000 of marijuana wholesale – locally grown, certified and state-legal – from Imperial County to a state-licensed dispensary about three hours north. However, it was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint on the highway – 20 miles from the actual U.S.-Mexico boarder. The distributor reports federal agents seized the entire load.

Driving under the influence of any drug is never advisable. Still, most California cannabis DUI lawyers will tell you that a positive THC test on its own usually isn’t enough to build a criminal case against a driver. That’s because THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, not only stays in the system for a long time, it also intoxicates in small quantities. That makes it harder to detect than alcohol. Further, even a positive test showing high THC levels is a poor means of determining actual intoxication.California marijuana DUI lawyer

As our Los Angeles cannabis criminal defense lawyers can explain, the fact that someone tests positive for THC only shows that they used it at some point, but that could have been an hour ago, last night or last week. This has long been the bane of police and prosecutors in these cases, though some states have established arbitrary THC-blood concentration limits anyway.

Now, an Oakland business says they have a remedy. They are ramping up for the release of a new marijuana breathalyzer test that purportedly is able to nail down whether a motorist’s pot use occurred within a three-hour window. The company, Hound Labs is reportedly slated to start up a marijuana breathalyzer pilot program in Oklahoma, approved just last month by state lawmakers and the governor. California cities are eyeing the technology too.

The makers of this and other similar devices say it could also be used by employers who want to make sure their workers aren’t high on the job. This might be of particular interest to those who operate trucking, construction and warehousing operations.

Still, it’s not exactly clear how the device works and how accurate it is. While the program is still operating as a pilot, the THC concentration results won’t be admissible in court. Continue reading

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