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Last month, industry and media reports detailed two bankruptcy cases of individuals with financial connections to the marijuana industry. One a landlord and another an employee of a cannabis worker staffing agency. Although the staffing agency employee was denied the right to pursue bankruptcy, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth District, which has jurisdiction in California cases, granted permission for the landlord who rented to a dispensary.

Marijuana Company Workers, Landlords, Contractors Seek Financial Shelter in Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is an important right in the U.S. after moving away from the practice of debtors’ prisons in the 19th Century. Both Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy provide individuals with a fresh financial start and shot at a real future, free of looming debt they would have no hope of ever paying off.
Chapter 11 is a reorganization of debts, while Chapter 13 involves creating a manageable plan of repayment stretched over a period of time.
To deny this critical avenue of relief to those just because they work for or do business with a state-legal cannabis company is unconscionable.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Denied to Oregon Marijuana Ancillary Business Employee

One of those involves a woman from Oregon employed by a marijuana staffing agency. Marijuana Business Daily reports the appointed federal trustee is a bankruptcy monitor employed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
She had filed for personal Chapter 13 bankruptcy. protection The trustee filed court documents asserting the woman did not have the right to relieve for personal bankruptcy because her earnings were tied to marijuana sales and citing federal prohibition on the drug.
As longtime cannabis business attorneys, we found this ruling troubling in scope.
The good news is, that court’s ruling is not the final word on this.

Appellate Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Cannabis and Bankruptcy

That same month, the 9th DCA in Garvin v. Cook rejected the argument of the DOJ’s trustee to deny the landlord Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, affirming the bankruptcy court’s decision to allow plaintiff’s right to bankruptcy protection.
The DOJ trustee responsible to oversee the bankruptcy cases argued before both the bankruptcy court and the appellate judges that Chapter 11 bankruptcy was not appropriate in this case, as the landlord rented commercial space to a marijuana dispensary.

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Two cannabis delivery companies – one Californian, one Canadian – are facing off in a San Francisco civil lawsuit involving customer payment processing fraud. The Toronto-based firm is accusing the other of carving an unfair market advantage by using European shell companies to illegally processing customer payments via credit or debit card.cannabis credit card processing

By processing both debit and credit card payments from customers through its online platforms, plaintiff alleges its biggest cannabis services competitor committed wire and bank fraud. A spokesman for the stateside company called these allegations, “false.”

As longtime Southern California marijuana lawyers, we recognize that in any other industry with any other product – this would not be an issue. Unfair business practices lawsuits crop up fairly often enough, but most competitors aren’t concerned with how each other’s payments are processed. Cannabis commerce is the only place we see this because of the labyrinth of laws varying. It starts with the statutes in 34 states plus Washington, D.C. that directly conflict with federal classification of the drug and only gets more confusing from there. Continue reading

Increasing accessibility to medical marijuana is being linked to a one-third reduction of workplace deaths among those between the ages of 24 and 44. Study authors opine workers are consuming less alcohol and pills because of legalization, and the reduction of this lethal combination has meant fewer people killed on-the-job. workplace cannabis attorney

Workplace cannabis lawyers know this contradicts some of the many arguments employers, Chambers of Commerce and other business advocacy groups have made as medicinal and marijuana is becoming increasingly state-legal. Their position was that because marijuana has the potential to impair one’s cognitive and motor function, legalization may cause more an uptick in people using it at work, which in turn would result in higher on-the-job accidents and injuries.

Now, we’re seeing that in fact the opposite is true. Continue reading

Once seemingly-impenetrable marijuana regulations loosening their grip across the globe. With that, California cannabis business and industry leaders are ramping up efforts to establish shops and services that are not just licensed, stocked and accessible, but that give them an edge on increasingly fierce competition. That means strategic locations, expanded delivery services, a diversified product line and experts as employees.cannabis company lawyer

Cannabis stocks have risen sharply in recent years, and despite hesitation given that it remains a Schedule I narcotic, the trend is expected to continue through the Q3 and Q4 of 2019.

But cannabis business attorneys urge entrepreneurs to carefully consider the full picture before taking their stock public. The process is complex and expensive – and risky. That risk can pay off, but it’s imperative to first discuss your marijuana business plan with a qualified lawyer because surging forward without careful deliberation and sound reasoning. Continue reading

The announcement that one of California’s largest licensed marijuana dispensaries, Harborside in Oakland, would be the 66th U.S. cannabis venture added to the Canadian stock market, questions have arisen about the legal risk of investing in such stock. Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

Elbowing one’s way into Canadian stock market investments isn’t always a simple task for outsiders, with a fair number of U.S. brokers disallowing international stock trades. Canadian stocks are increasingly an exception to the rule, but it’s likely to be more expensive, and of course, the cannabis market is still burgeoning and volatile, particularly while there are so many conflicting local, state, federal and international rules and regulations.

As far as the marijuana industry goes, investing in public stock of cannabis companies is perhaps at this point one of the least-risky options, as you have no direct involvement in the daily cultivation, production, testing or sales of the products.

There are currently more than 300 publicly-traded marijuana stocks and funds on the U.S. trade markets, and a growing number globally. These can be lucrative for investors willing to take the risk. However, it can also be costly if you aren’t careful/consider the fine print. Continue reading

California CBD lawyers have become aware of an increasingly concerning trend of arresting people for possession of CBD oil, a low-THC extract of cannabis used in a variety of health applications, often to help treat pain associated with arthritis, cancer and back injuries. As it happens, many who suffer from these ailments are in the in the over-50 crowd, and are seeking CBD treatment.CBD oil for seniors

The AARP reported early last year seniors comprise 36 percent of medical marijuana registries, and many preferred CBD (cannabidiol), which does not get a user high, to its psychoactive cousin, marijuana.

The good news is CBD oil has been removed from the U.S. Controlled Substances list with the 2018 Farm Bill (it, along with the hemp from which it’s derived, used to be classified as a Schedule I alongside marijuana), CBD has become increasingly more popular. (It is not approved for food and beverages, per the FDA.)

But there are states – California for instance – that still retain stringent regulation on CBD. There remains confusion about what is/isn’t legal, and people are still finding themselves the subject of law enforcement investigations when it’s found in their possession. Continue reading

Is it legal to buy recreational cannabis for my friend in California?

This was a question our Los Angeles cannabis lawyers were asked recently. Now that recreational marijuana is legal in California, thanks to the Adult Use Marijuana Act, it can seem common courtesy to pick up a candy or tincture for our friend while you’re at the local dispensary. But is it legal? marijuana possession attorney

It’s not unreasonable to be concerned about what might seem a rather banal errand – at least where marijuana is concerned – even in a state where it’s legal. Continue reading

If a Louisiana coroner’s report is to be believed, a 39-year-old woman in the Bayou State became the first person on record who died of a marijuana overdose. On the other hand, marijuana experts are highly suspicious of the coroner’s cause-of-death listing, especially as she indicated it with “100 percent certainty.”cannabis attorney blog

But that certainty stemmed from the fact she could find no other obvious cause for why a woman with healthy organs, no alcohol or other drugs in her system and no obvious illness would have been discovered dead on her couch.

Can THC Really Result in a Fatal Overdose?

Probably not. Although this may have been a tough case to crack, the reality is Americans use billions of cannabis products annually. This has been true for a long time, not just since legalization came about, and this is the very first time an overdose has been formally attributed to cannabis – and skeptics abound.

The coroner noted that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, can result in severe heart palpitations and anxiety, perhaps leading to heart failure, and it was present in 15 times the detectable amount in this patient. Although this might seem startling at first, the reality is marijuana in the bloodstream is not like alcohol; it passes slowly through the system and lingers, long after the effects. A regular user could have high levels of concentration in their blood, yet not even be “high.”

While our cannabis lawyers concede the circumstances are puzzling, a number of medical and scientific experts have expressed deep skepticism, especially given an asserted conclusion of 100 percent certainty when the report reflected circumstantial evidence and process of elimination AND there have been no recorded deaths attributable to marijuana overdose, per to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A number of medical experts quoted in a series of media reports called the coroner’s conclusion “highly unlikely.” Continue reading

Licensed marijuana business leaders are fed up with pervasive scofflaws, saturating the market with unfair competitive advantage (they’re not paying for exorbitant taxes, seed-to-sale tracking and quality testing). Customers are swayed by lower prices, and some may even be tricked by ripped-of branding/copyright violations.marijuana lawyer

One of those companies is now threatening the city with legal action if they don’t start enforcing statutes and ordinance against unlawful business practices. The licensed cannabis company sent a letter to to the city attorney specifically requesting beefed up enforcement against illegal pot shops. By some estimates, these number in the hundreds.

In that letter, the cannabis company opened by saying that during the slow roll-out of regulated recreational marijuana sales, the city attorney’s office as well as the city attorney himself “overlooked” and “ignored” the businesses interests of licensed, regulated shops, as well as city residents – South Los Angeles especially, where there seems to be the greatest concentration of illegal pot stores.

What Duty Does the L.A. City Attorney Have to Address Illegal Pot Shops?

Following a 2017 special election, voters approved Measure M, which spelled out the city’s regulatory and tax framework as well as plans for criminal and civil penalties imposed on unauthorized shops. These included various civil fines for nuisance offenses by these operators and landlords, as well as enhanced punishments/fines for actions like disconnecting power and water utilities. Continue reading

California residents and visitors over age 21 have for the last couple years enjoyed access to legal, recreational cannabis –  up to an ounce and within the regulations set forth by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control.cannabis lawyer

But what if a person is found with pot in prison?

That was the question before a California appellate court weighing the legality of five convictions for possession of marijuana while incarcerated by the state. The court ruled to overturn those criminal cannabis convictions.

Justices did note that while ingesting or smoking marijuana while in prison may still be considered a felony charge, possession of the drug isn’t spelled out in the plain language of pertinent statutes, California Health and Safety Code section 11362.45 and 11362.1, which expressly impose penalties for use, but not possession. Continue reading