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California is posed to instantly become the country’s largest marijuana market when lawful sales of cannabis for recreational use begin on January 2, 2018. While this presents vast opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs, it also presents a wealth of regulatory challenges. Businesses often face greater regulation in California than other states, simply due to the size of California’s legal and regulatory codes. Cannabis businesses will have the added headache of new and changing regulations in a brand new industry. Yet, with preparation and planning, and skilled legal advice from an experienced marijuana business compliance attorney, business owners can keep their operations compliant and profitable throughout the coming changes in regulatory framework applicable to California’s cannabis industry.cannabis compliance lawyers

California’s Compliance Rating

Forbes reports on recent compliance data issued by Adherence Compliance, a cannabis compliance company based in Denver, Colorado. Adherence Compliance has applied predictive analytics and machine learning to the cannabis industry in order to determine the compliance areas in which a business is likely to fail. Its data has found California cannabis business owners to be the least compliant across the country. Here, owners average sixteen compliance infractions per inspection, and score an average of 74.4 out of 100 on Adherence’s compliance metrics. By contrast: Illinois was found to be the most compliant state, and averaged 91.1 out of 100 on the same tests. It is worth noting that Illinois has a relatively new and small program of strict regulation. Colorado, in comparison, has an older and larger program of regulation, which has complex applications for both recreational and medicinal use. Its cannabis business owners scored an average of 82.9 out of 100 on the Adherence Compliance metric. Continue reading

For years, industry and academia have partnered to find better ways of delivering a better product to consumers. This model has allowed entrepreneurs to take advantage of scientific findings and reliable data to improve their operations and products. Now, one cannabis company is partnering with academic researchers to better understand marijuana.cannabis business lawyers

An Unusual Partnership

The Denver Business Journal reports that Front Range Biosciences – an agricultural biotechnology company based in Lafayette, Colorado which specializes in marijuana – has partnered with the University of California-Davis to study marijuana. The deal began with a $150,000 gift – one of several installments – provided to the University of California by the company, which says it is designed to advance understanding of the medicinal and nutraceutical uses of cannabis. In turn, a professor in the UC-Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology says the college is excited to have the opportunity to study and decode the hemp genome, which will enable new insights into the genetic bases of complex pathways of secondary metabolism in plants. The company also seeks to reduce pesticide residues and excessive application of fertilizers in compounds with medicinal benefits.

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As with any retail business, cannabis entrepreneurs find themselves with increased sales around the holiday season. Businesses which are prepared for these opportunities can invest in growth which will sustain profitability well into the new year.cannabis business attorneys

Fall Festivities

There are many ways to market cannabis products for the fall season. GOOD Co-op, a cannabis company based in Oakland, has introduced a “pumpkin spice blondie”. According to Fortune, the cookies are made with real pumpkin, a special blend of spices, and organic cannabis butter. The edibles will be sold exclusively through the Eaze platform in the Oakland area. There are many possibilities for similarly autumn-themed cannabis edibles and products. Apple butter, pumpkin buttercream, and similar autumn scents can be incorporated in many different formats. Edible treats, lotions and salves, bath products, candles, and many other products can carry popular autumn scents. Autumn festivals, carnivals, and other events give cannabis business owners more formats in which to introduce their products to consumers.

In the wake of devastating wildfires in Northern California, many cannabis farmers were dealt a particularly hard financial blow. Cannabis businesses are generally unable to obtain insurance coverage. This is because the insurance industry is regulated by federal law – a federal law which classifies marijuana as an illegal substance. For this reason, when millions of dollars of crops were destroyed, the losses were not compensable. The wildfires also destroyed cash reserves of many businesses. Many cannabis businesses are forced to operate entirely in cash for the same reason – federal law prohibits regulated banks from offering financial services to cannabis businesses. With large cash reserves on site and many evacuation orders coming instantaneously, business owners were not always able to save their business funds. Now, the state Department of Insurance is speaking to cannabis business owners to learn about the challenges they face, and how the insurance industry can better meet the future needs of the cannabis industry.cannabis business lawyers

A New Option for Protecting Cannabis Business Assets

A series of recent moves within California’s insurance industry indicate that cannabis business owners may be better able to protect their assets from future acts of force majeure. The Insurance Journal reports that, for the first time, a carrier admitted to the California Department of Insurance has filed to provide coverage to legal cannabis businesses within the state. Other carriers have expressed the desire to file with the Department to offer similar products to the legal cannabis industry. Standardized insurance forms for the cannabis industry may also be available in the very near future.

Identifying the target market of a business is an important step for any entrepreneur. Profitability can be enhanced by spending advertising budgets effectively, and expanding into markets which have the best potential for sustained business growth and profitability. Entertainment icon Whoopi Goldberg is now breaking into the cannabis industry with this strategy. She and her business partner, Maya Elisabeth, are marketing their products to the medical needs of women.cannabis business lawyers

The Whoopi & Maya Market

Goldberg and Elisabeth launched their cannabis brand, Whoopi & Maya, with a focus on female users. The Daily Beast reports that this has allowed them to gain traction in California’s expanding market for topical cannabis products. And as their business has expanded its efforts to meet the needs of women, Goldberg herself has become vocal on another issue: the use of medical marijuana to treat menstrual pain. She lives in New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie has rejected legislative efforts to add menstrual pain to the list of qualifying conditions for accessing medical marijuana in that state. Goldberg claims that Christie has stated “several times” that he doesn’t believe period pain is real pain. This has spurred her efforts to market Whoopi & Maya products to sufferers of menstrual pain, and raise awareness of the issue in her public appearances. Continue reading

In April 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order which declared an end to the state of emergency in California related to the drought. This lifted many of the legal restrictions placed on water use of California residents and businesses. Unfortunately, California’s water woes are far from over. Marijuana farmers and grow operations are finding it particularly difficult to meet their high water consumption requirements while meeting obligations under state water laws.cannabis business lawyers

 

The Conflict Between Business Needs and Conservation of State Resources

California’s Mojave Desert is the site of many new cannabis grow operations. News Deeply reports that American Green (the country’s largest publicly traded marijuana company) purchased the entire town of Nipton, California. Nipton is home to twenty residents on eighty acres of land. American Green plans to turn it into the first cannabis resort in the United States. The resort will boast Wild West themed amenities, employee housing, and bottled water infused with cannabis. Unfortunately for American Green, the huge water demand of these activities could conflict with the provisions of California’s new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. For the first time in California’s history, groundwater users must ensure that aquifers to not suffer from chronic depletion. Business owners now have a legal obligation to ensure that their depletion rate of groundwater aquifers does not chronically outpace the recharge rate by precipitation.  This places responsibility on private business owners to manage their use of valuable natural resources. In the area surrounding Nipton – where a golf club and the world’s largest solar thermal power plant have already placed significant demands on area groundwater – this responsibility could become onerous. Continue reading

While we are now the verge of having a legalized recreational marijuana industry in California, many in Los Angles fear they won’t be able to join this growing and prosperous industry due to having a conviction involving marijuana on their record. As discussed in a recent article from Civilized, marijuana laws disproportionately affect those in minority communities, and some city lawmakers in Los Angeles are hoping to reverse these negative effects.

cannabis defense lawyersThe theory behind this program is that since marijuana laws have been proven to have had disproportionate effects on African Americans and the Hispanic community, and those who suffered should not also be excluded from being able to legally make money in the medical cannabis and recreational marijuana industries. Continue reading

One of the main arguments against the legalization of marijuana, other than the long- disproved gateway drug theory, is that there will be more cases of people driving under the influence of marijuana.  This is not necessarily the case, but regardless of whether there were be more people driving under the influence  of marijuana in Los Angeles, is how the police and prosecutors will try to prove someone is under the influence at the time they were driving.|

cannabis technology lawyersWhen someone is driving while intoxicated by liquor, there is no question as to the effects alcohol has on a person’s ability to drive, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has amassed decades of research.  For example, at .08, which is the legal limit in California, a person will have poor muscle coordination, having trouble detecting danger, a lack of judgement and self-control, impaired ability to concentrate and many other physical and mental issues that makes it dangerous to drive. Continue reading

There has been a growing acceptance of medical marijuana use across the nation, and it has reached the point where at-least 29 states and other federal jurisdictions have legalized medical marijuana.  Some states have legalized marijuana for recreational use as well including California. In some states, the legalization of medical marijuana came from the state legislature, and in other states, it was done through direct voter initiatives and propositions put on the ballot. This can be done by getting enough signatures from voters, and the initiate will be placed up for a vote at the next election.

marijuana business lawyerOne of the major issues is that marijuana is still listed as a Schedule One Controlled Substance on the U.S. Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (USCSA).  A Schedule One controlled substance, under federal drug laws, is one that has a high potential for abuse, is dangerous to users and the general public, and there are no accepted medical uses.  This was done for political reasons and while there is no sense in saying that marijuana is more dangerous or potentially addictive than Oxycontin, congress has been unwilling to remove or reschedule marijuana, and it is unclear whether that will happen in the near or even distant future. Continue reading

With wildfires tearing across California, many homes are being destroyed, as are other businesses including medical marijuana farms, and unlike other businesses, these farmers cannot have insurance policies on their grow operations because federal law prohibits insurance carriers from writing such policies.marijuana attorney

According to a recent news article from the Cannabist, a company that runs a major online crowdsource, has just pulled the plug on a campaign hosted on their platform to raise money for  the farmers who lost a great deal to the massive wildfires in Northern California. There were already many donations on the site that totaled over $13,000 before the campaign was terminated. Continue reading