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More California marijuana products are passing rigorous safety standards imposed by state law, though Orange County marijuana business attorneys know the the abrupt closure of a state-approved laboratory found to have fallen short in checking for pesticides has some Orange County cannabis companies scrambling to ensure they’re meeting state guidelines.california marijuana lawyer

Earlier this year marked the beginning of broad legalization of marijuana in California, but strict testing of pot products was mandated by state officials beginning July 1. Eight weeks into that testing and one-fifth of all marijuana products were failing those standards. By November, however, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control reported the testing failure rate fell to roughly 14 percent. That still means approximately 24,000 marijuana items for sale never made it to store shelves.

Among those items reportedly having the highest failure rates were cannabis-infused:

  • Candies
  • Cookies
  • Tinctures (concentrated herbal extracts)

Those items on their own had a fail rate of about 26 percent over the summer, though this was still an improvement. Previously, the fail rate of these processed marijuana products had been about one-third.  Continue reading

California vineyards seeking to cash in on possible cannibdiol-infused (CBD) wines may benefit from provisions of the much-touted 2018 Farm Bill, which amended the federal Controlled Substances Act to remove restrictions on both hemp and hemp-derived CBD, which is unique from marijuana in its lack of THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis. However, as experienced Orange County cannabis industry attorneys, we urge wineries to proceed with caution and legal consultation.Orange County hemp lawyer

Although the impact of removing restrictions on hemp and hemp-derived products is likely to be significant, technically federal agricultural subsidies don’t rope in growers of vegetables and fruits – including grapes. Plus, even as the federal ban on marijuana lifted, many states – including California – still have laws on the books making it unlawful to infuse hemp in alcohol or food products. The Farm Bill expressly allows states to govern their own regulation of hemp production, the same as it does with alcohol.

Congress did direct states to both license and track any hemp produced from seed-to-sale, but gives state lawmakers the authority to impose tighter hemp regulations if they so choose. However, state rules can’t be any less strict than federal guidelines and those regulations do need to get the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s approval stamp. Continue reading

To answer a question that still commonly crops up for our Los Angeles marijuana criminal defense attorneys: Yes, you can still get busted for cannabis-related offenses in the state of California.Los Angeles criminal defense marijuana

When California legalized cannabis for recreational purposes with Prop. 64, broadly opening the market for adult consumers earlier this year, it did not legalize all cultivation, production, sale and possession of the drug. Instead, marijuana legalization was inducted into a highly-regulated market. And while criminal arrests for cannabis possession are down, there is still a risk of running afoul of state regulations and criminal codes.

This summer, a crime report issued by the state revealed that while marijuana-related arrests in mid-2018 saw a significant drop this year compared to last (56 percent overall, with felony marijuana arrests down 74 percent), there is still a risk that Californians and visitors could face substantial jail or prison terms, hefty fines and criminal records. Still, the number facing those risks fell by 8,000 from 2016 to 2017.

Los Angeles marijuana criminal defense attorneys as well as those with the Drug Policy Alliance and other supporters who have long-backed marijuana legalization efforts, overall this is good news, as it means less taxpayer-funded law enforcement resources are being dedicated to non-violent drug-related offenses, and the focus now can rightly shift to more serious crimes.  Continue reading

The gig economy that contracts ride-share drivers is known for being unpredictable, tedious and, as contract workers, exempt from key employment benefits like health insurance, workers’ compensation and retirement savings. Now, with marijuana delivery services in L.A. and throughout California legal, cannabis companies are starting to poach these workers from big-name ride-share companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash.Los Angeles marijuana delivery attorney

Los Angeles marijuana delivery attorneys know the pace is likely to pick up now that California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control this month moved to allow the delivery of marijuana products throughout the entire Golden State. This includes allowing delivery drivers access to those areas with local bans on marijuana sales, per NBC San Diego. Although the move is opposed by the California League of Cities as well as numerous law enforcement agencies. Los Angeles marijuana delivery attorneys know means some drivers may get some flack from local police. In fact, as our cannabis criminal defense law firm knows, the state regulator took action to make this right explicit after several law enforcement agencies in non-pot-friendly communities made it known they intended to detain and arrest licensed marijuana delivery drivers who were ferrying marijuana through their cities for commercial purposes. Despite this opposition, the directive from the state control agency will become law next month unless the state’s Office of Administrative Law intervenes. If that occurs, the matter could wind up in court.

State marijuana regulators, given broad control by voters to regulate virtually every aspect of legal cannabis sales, maintain that when California voters passed Proposition 64 legalizing marijuana for recreational production, sales and possession, that included delivery services too. A spokesman for the agency noted that marijuana dispensaries that are regulated have tight security, verify each driver’s identity and legal age and are careful to make sure every employee is properly licensed.  Continue reading

With Congress having reached an accord on the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which includes a provision to lift the federal ban on cultivation of industrial hemp, the proliferation of hemp farming in California and across the country is expected to grow exponentially. California hemp farming attorneys know that up to this point, the U.S. has been the only industrialized nation wherein industrialized hemp isn’t already an established crop. The provisions of the act amend the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 to indicate industrial hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC won’t be classified any longer as a schedule I narcotic. The measure gives states, rather than the federal government, authority regulate commercial hemp production and sales. California hemp farmer attorney

It’s a measure that could potentially be a cash cow for California farmers, as well as those across the U.S.

Hemp is defined in California Health and Safety Code Section 11018.5 as the fiber or oilseed crop limited to types of the cannabis plant with no more than three-tenths of THC. It’s production is overseen by the California Industrial Hemp Program, with Division 24 of the California Food and Agricultural Code providing for the cultivation of industrial hemp by registered growers as well as established agricultural research sites. The reason this federal measure is so important is that up until that law goes into effect, hemp is still considered a Schedule I narcotic per the CSA, which California hemp farming attorneys know means unless specifically exempted there, any hemp-related activity is still technically subject to federal prosecution, no matter what the state law says. Continue reading

Los Angeles marijuana DUI just got a little likelier, given local news reports the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has bolstered funding for the prosecution of driving under the influence charges involving cannabis and other drugs. Because determining intoxication via marijuana can be subjective – even for trained police officers – it’s important to contact an experienced Los Angeles marijuana DUI lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your rights are preserved.marijuana dui defense Los Angeles

There is currently no accepted scientific test that “proves” impairment by THC, the blood, urine or breath tests do with alcohol. That’s because alcohol moves through the human body at a much more rapid rate than THC, which means if it is detected in the system in high concentrations, intoxication is almost positive. THC concentration doesn’t tell us the same because the chemical can remain in the body for weeks or even months after consumption, particularly if one is a regular consumer of marijuana.

With the help of a nearly $1 million grant form the California Office of Traffic Safety via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency that seeks to curb drunk driving and slash the number of drug- and alcohol-related deaths and injuries across the U.S. This year’s grant is $100,000 more than the last. The funding is allocated for training and in some instances prosecuting cases of drug-impaired driving that results in death. Additionally, the grant will help train police agencies and boost the number of officers in Los Angeles County who are considered certified drug recognition experts (DREs).  Continue reading

Almost all California businesses know they’ll need to secure some type of insurance. Unfortunately, as our Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys know full well, companies that deal in cannabis face a host of major hurdles for this essential service. Although the California Insurance Commissioner has approved a handful of insurance carriers to offer insurance coverage to the cannabis industry this year, giving growers and distributors at least some options, there is a good argument to be made that cannabis companies need an insurer tailored to meet the unique needs of the industry – just like they require an attorney who specializes in marijuana law. Los Angeles marijuana lawyers

Although it has become easier this year for cannabis companies to find insurance coverage than ever before, Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys recognize the industry is still very under-served.

Most cannabis insurance primarily focuses on product liability coverage, as explained in a recent article by Insurance Journal. However, there are a number of other potential liabilities too for which cannabis companies likely could use insurance coverage. That’s an opportunity for insurance companies, but of course many are keenly aware of the risk, given federal laws pertaining to money laundering when doing business with any enterprise that derives income from illegal sale of cannabis.  Continue reading

Legalization of marijuana has brought a number of enterprises and employees from the shadows of the black market. One of those includes the work of so-called “bud trimmers.” Los Angeles marijuana employment attorneys know that because so many of these workers are from other places, flocking in heavy numbers during harvest seasons, they are sometimes referred to as “trimmigrants.” These workers were historically subject to an outsized risk of the same sort of abuses many migrant workers face – unfair wages or wage theft, discrimination and sexual harassment.Los Angeles marijuana employment attorney

An article published two years ago in “Broadly” was written by a woman who worked for years during harvest season on illegal marijuana farms in rural California. The isolation of the site made it all the more dangerous for young female workers – not only because they risked jail time and felony charges for unregulated, untaxed income, but because they are frequently (especially on the black market) targeted for sexual harassment. One investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal found in 2016 that the number of sexual assaults suffered by female trimmers was far underestimated.

Ideally, legalizing the drug would have brought these sort of elements of the industry to light, making workers safer. Perhaps to some degree, that is true. However, as Los Angeles marijuana attorneys with practice areas both in the budding cannabis law as well as California employment law, we recognize these workers may still be vulnerable, especially if the operation is still illegal (as a fair number still are, given the high taxation and testing requirements on legal marijuana and the limited number of cultivators and distributors allowed, which varies by jurisdiction. Trimmers are an inherent part of cannabis cultivation process, though the hours are long and the work tedious.  Continue reading

Hundreds of batches of marijuana products may need to be recalled and retested after a California cannabis testing lab surrendered its license following a state inspection reportedly revealed falsification of product testing results over the last four months. Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers recognize this could have substantial impact on statewide supply and industry operations heading into the new year. That’s because come Jan. 1, 2019, a host of additional marijuana testing requirements go into effect, and cannabis oils, flowers and edibles are required to undergo more rigorous testing for certain toxins like heavy metals. This is bad news because bottlenecks at state-authorized testing labs were already beginning to form, slowing the process of getting these products from seed to sale.Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers

The lab in question, Sequoia Analytical Labs in Sacramento, was undergoing a routine inspection late last month when state investigators with the California Bureau of Cannabis Control noted that in testing for 66 pesticides required by law, tests for 22 of those were not correct, thanks to a “faulty instrument.” Furthermore, the bureau reported the lab director was aware the results were erroneous, and not only failed to intervene and take corrective action, but instead falsified lab results to indicate the products were safe when in fact they may not have been.

Safety Concerns for Faulty Testing Prompt Marijuana Business License Forfeiture Continue reading

Banking for marijuana businesses has been fraught with legal perils. As Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys can explain, this stems primarily from the fact that no matter how many states allow marijuana, the Department of Justice continues to consider the drug unlawful according to federal law, which puts banks in the legal cross-hairs, thanks to money laundering statutes. That’s why despite being a multi-billion dollar industry, only 30 percent of cannabis businesses have access to banking.cannabis attorney blog

That may be changing, though the pace will truly depend on how aggressively the federal government pursues violators pursuant to federal law. The Anchorage Daily News reported a credit union plans to launch a pilot program intended to extend banking and checking services to marijuana-related businesses that otherwise operate largely in cash. As noted by the credit union’s CEO, the lack of financial services for cannabis companies has resulted in essentially a cash crisis for marijuana businesses as well as a safety issue for local communities, as these locations may be targeted for strong arm robberies.

Alaska, like California, allows marijuana cultivation, sale and possession for recreational purposes, and has done so since 2014. Yet as retailers have cropped up throughout the state, they face problems similar to those in this state, which is they must operate in cash and owners have even had their personal bank accounts abruptly closed. The credit union says it hopes to address this market need and also improve community safety by giving cannabis companies another option besides cash-only operation. Just in Alaska alone, the industry is handling some $1.5 million monthly – all in cash, according to local media. Continue reading