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  • criminal defense: marijuana possession,
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marijuana businessCalifornia lawmakers, in late January, breathed new life into a proposal that could cut the state’s taxes on marijuana for the short term, to help boost the struggling legal market.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has shown his support for the bill, as he now takes aim at updating California’s cannabis regulations.

Assembly Bill 1948, introduced by Assembly Members Rob Bonta, Ken Cooley, Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Tom Lackey, and co-authored by Assembly Member Mark Stone, seeks for three years to:

  1. lower marijuana retail sales state tax from 15 percent to 11 percent; and
  2. eliminate the cultivation tax altogether.

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marijuana bankingThe state of California has now permitted the legal use of marijuana for two years. And tax dollars collected from the cannabis industry are already showing great impact across a variety of sectors.

Since its passing in 2016, Prop 64 has earmarked its entire cannabis industry tax revenue, minus regulatory costs, to supporting public health, repairing the environment, and bettering public safety.

New parks, healthier children, broader educational opportunities, forest clean ups, drugged drivers removed from the roads, and criminal records cleared are just some of the areas already seeing big improvements thanks to Prop 64 tax revenue contributions.

And this is just the beginning. In mid January this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed another $332.8 million in cannabis tax revenue would be allocated to social services for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

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marijuana lawyerCalifornia regulators, marijuana business owners and law enforcement arms must all up their games in fighting the illicit cannabis market, a new report says.

Just last week, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), the cannabis industry’s largest trade association,  issued a report urging all groups to do more in hopes of addressing the nation’s ongoing vaping health crisis.

The NCIA report looked closely at areas specifically intended to help legal cannabis business owners catch up with, and eventually outpace, illegal marijuana businesses. Those include:

  • Relaxing financial burdens weighing heavily on licensed operations — specifically lowering legal cannabis product taxes;
  • Applying procedures that better identify counterfeit cannabis products; and
  • Removing barriers currently making it difficult for unlicensed cannabis companies to join the legal market.

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Los Angeles marijuana lawyerLos Angeles officials announced that cannabis vape cartridges seized from unlicensed storefronts late last month were tainted with potentially hazardous additives. These include an agent that is known to thicken substances, and is also blamed for causing the vaping lung illness sweeping the nation.

In December, California investigators also raided unregulated storefronts throughout Los Angeles and confiscated illegal vape products. According to state testing results, many of those products showed as far less potent than labeling suggested.

In some cases, the oil cartridges THC contents showed to be only a portion of that claimed and were diluted more than one-third by undisclosed but likely dangerous additives.

Los Angeles officials tested a sample comprising more than 10,000 randomly selected illegal vape pens confiscated in those raids. Results showed three in four vapes contained the thickening agent vitamin E acetate, which federal regulators blame for the majority of lung illnesses linked to the national vaping health crisis.

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In 2018, the federal government took several steps to legalize the manufacture and distribution of industrial hemp, the part of the cannabis plant that only contains trace amounts of THC (the psychoactive component) and which has a number of industry uses from food to clothing to building materials. Unfortunately, thanks to bureaucracy in the rulemaking process, there remains a fair amount of confusion that leaves drivers and carriers that ship hemp from state-to-state vulnerable to legal trouble.hemp lawyer Los Angeles

As noted by the Commercial Carrier Journal, drivers face potential criminal action if they navigate through a state that doesn’t have clear hemp rules in place that align with the Farm Bill of 2018. If a state law does not allow hemp, our Los Angeles hemp lawyers would advise farmers and carriers to map their routes accordingly.

There are published cases of at least half a dozen drivers over the last 18 months being arrested and charged with felony counts of marijuana trafficking and distribution. There are also many cases of drivers hauling hemp that is mistaken for marijuana. Continue reading

Los Angeles marijuana lawyerNew product liability concerns have cropped up since regulators announced that California marijuana vape pens seized from illegal shops in Los Angeles were laced with hazardous additives. USA Today reports the ingredients included a substance that has been associated with a fatal, vape-related lung illness.

State officials with the California Bureau of Cannabis Control reportedly confiscated an estimated 10,000 vaping cartridges from unlicensed retailers of marijuana in a series of raids last month. The test results of those products is just now being completed, and authorities report 75 percent of those cartridges contained chemicals that were not disclosed to consumers or regulators. One of those was the vitamin E acetate, the agent used for thickening the compound that has been cited by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an estimated 60 deaths and 2,600 illnesses in all 50 states.

If anything, our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers see this as a warning to consumers to limit their purchase of marijuana products to licensed retailers. Black market marijuana products may be cheaper, but the potential cost to one’s health seems hardly worth the risk. As the CBCC pointed out in a recent release, retailers that have been licensed are required to submit their products to extensive laboratory testing to ensure they meet state labeling and consumer safety standards. Continue reading

As of this month, parents and guardians are allowed under California law to administer medical marijuana products to K-12 public school students. Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

Los Angeles medical marijuana lawyers know the law is significant for two main reasons:

  • It does not force public school districts to adopt any policy compelling school personnel to administer medical cannabis products to children;
  • It does give access to the largest public school population in the nation (roughly 6 million).

Although the law is controversial, it is not without precedent. Eight other states (Colorado, Washington, New Mexico, Illinois, Florida, Delaware, New Jersey and Maine) also allow medical marijuana to be administered to children on campus. Thus far, none of those schools that allow this practice has lost federal funding. Continue reading

It’s been nearly 25 years since California became the first state in the U.S. to approve medicinal marijuana. As of this month, all but 16 states allow legal sales and possession of the drug in some form, with California being among the 11 plus Washington D.C. that allow recreational sales for adults. But along with that, California’s compassionate use collectives dried up. medical marijuana lawyer

The 1996 Compassionate Use Act allowed growers and distributors to donate a portion of their marijuana crop to small, non-profit collectives (and later dispensaries) which in turn would pass them along for free to indigent medical marijuana patients. Many of these were suffering from conditions like epilepsy, AIDS, cancer, chronic pain and PTSD, and were able to avoid dangerous, addictive opioids and other powerful drugs.

But when Proposition 64 passed in 2016, legalizing marijuana for recreational use by adults in California, the crop started being taxed at virtually every stage of production and distribution. The compassionate use donations became virtually non-existent, as Prop. 64 called for a sunset on collectives by January 2019. (Today there are only a few dozen compassion programs through which a small number of patients receive free cannabis.) Although any adult over 21 can gift any other adult over 21 with up to one ounce of the drug at the time, dispensary owners risked breaking the law if they did so; it was considered illegal advertising. Those stores could lose their licenses. Therefore any cannabis that made its way into consumers’ hands was treated as a sale. Some suspect this is a significant part of what is driving black market sales. Continue reading

Eyelid tremors? Slow movement? Green tongue? If you ask law enforcement officers, these are indicators of a driver’s marijuana intoxication, used to justify traffic stops and arrests for driving under the influence of the drug. The problem is, if you ask a Los Angeles marijuana DUI defense lawyer, some of that is complete junk science. marijuana DUI defense

There is no doubt that THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, can result in a person’s intoxication, weakening one’s ability to focus and react quickly. What is in doubt is the best way to ascertain whether someone has crossed that threshold. We know that a person with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher can be reasonably judged as intoxicated, based on the science of how we know alcohol moves through the body – very quickly. But this kind of measurement of THC concentration won’t give you an exact answer because the drug is processed through the body at a much slower rate. It remains detectable in the body not just for hours but days or weeks, the concentration level a potential indicator of whether one is a regular user but not an accurate indication that one is too impaired to drive.

Despite this, at least five states have adopted a so-called “per se” law that outlaws driving if one’s blood level of THC exceeds a set amount. Most others, including California, are relying heavily on the training and testimony of “drug recognition experts.” Their methodology includes a series of assessments, including the standard field sobriety test, which might include exercises like the one-leg stand. Civil rights activists in several states have questioned whether DRE training is adequate and whether the program used to validate the results is backed by both the medical and scientific community. The New Jersey Supreme Court is slated to consider one such case in the coming months. Continue reading

State cannabis officials could soon require marijuana shop owners to display proof of their licenses (also known as Quick Response codes) in store front windows for the benefit of consumers as well as to crack down on unlawful sales. Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers

Late last year, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control began urging retailers to post their QR codes somewhere visible. Customers could use their cell phones to scan the QR code and quickly ascertain whether the store has a state-issued license – which in turn means their products are subject to rigorous testing. Although this push began as entirely voluntary, officials are now mulling an emergency regulation that would make the display a requirement. The codes might also need to be carried by anyone transporting the drug for easy verification. Consumers can also run a retailer’s address through the BCC online license search feature to determine whether a shop might be displaying counterfeit QR codes.

BCC chief Lori Ajax released a statement indicated that the displayed QR codes (or lack of them) could also be used by law enforcement to quickly ascertain whether a business is legal. Those that are not would face not only closure and civil fines, but possibly also marijuana trafficking charges. Continue reading

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