Articles Posted in California hemp farmer attorney

marijuana dispensariesAs California’s legal marijuana industry continues to bloom, so too does a well-stocked black market, comprised of unlicensed, locally grown cannabis, and a plethora of counterfeit cannabis products.

Fake THC Cartridges Are Flooding California
Of all counterfeit cannabis products, refillable THC cartridges used inside vaping pens are currently most common. Surprisingly, states like California – where recreational cannabis use is legal – appear to be most flooded with counterfeit products. Big brands like Kingpen and Rove have tried to get ahead of counterfeits by repackaging their products, but counterfeits have shown they can keep pace, often reproducing new packaging almost as quickly as the legitimate brands.

And industry insiders unanimously agree, the fakes are getting better all the time. Many knockoff THC vape pens are comprised of illegally but locally grown cannabis, which producers then stuff into refillable cartridge pens, before attaching counterfeit labeling they’ve purchased online, and selling the finished counterfeit pens at discounted prices to illegal pop up shops. To most consumers and law enforcement officials alike, it’s very difficult to tell a real pen from a fake one.
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cannabis lawyerCalifornia’s unlicensed farmers in Humboldt County are on notice, with a new crackdown on cannabis growing now in effect. After issuing 1,500 provisional cannabis licenses, state and local authorities are increasingly pursuing farmers for operating without permits.

And it’s not what we’ve seen in years past. Growers need not fear raids from Sheriffs in Humboldt, as much as they should civil action. That’s right, fines are now being issued in the amount of $10,000 per day, for each violation, capping out only at $900,000. And if that isn’t deterrent enough, next comes property liens and forfeitures.
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California marijuana farmers are facing a crisis. Currently, all 9,464 state issued temporary cannabis cultivation licenses, have expired. Meant to be replacing those, for businesses continuing to meet the required regulations, are either provisional or permanent annual cannabis business licenses.

The catch though, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is yet to show its ability to approve those provisional or permanent licenses, at the same pace applications are being lodged.

California Cannabis License Attorney

The backlog on approvals may be due to the complexity of the licensing application process itself. Tellingly, by mid July 2019, only 2,053 provisional licenses and 230 permanent licenses had been granted. As it stands, when applying for prospective licenses, cannabis farmers are expected to demonstrate compliance with the stringent California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), as well as submit:

  • Background checks;
  • Surety bonds;
  • Real property documents;
  • Detailed site plans;
  • Farm management practices;
  • Waste management protocols;
  • Security procedures; and
  • Pesticide measures.

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Could hemp wood become the next market revolution in sustainable products? Some assert it could be manufactured as an alternative – perhaps even a superior one – to polymers, fabrics, paper, soy, corn, wood – maybe even motor vehicle components.hemp lawyer California

Los Angeles hemp business attorneys know it may be something of a misnomer to refer to these uses as revolutionary, as the fibers derived from industrial hemp (one of two forms of the cannabis sativa plant) have been used for many thousands of years by civilizations for production of paper, cloth materials and even fuel. Unlike it’s cousin marijuana, neither hemp nor its derivative CBD contains the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) known for producing the “high.” That is the primary reason it was removed from the list of narcotics banned per the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, while marijuana remains.

Production of hemp materials has been a mainstay in parts of Europe and China, though in U.S. and many other parts of the world, its use slowed or halted entirely thanks to widespread marijuana prohibition. The current shift is not only due to the “green rush” set off by the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill that legalized industrial hemp, but also by the extreme ecological damage inflicted by polymers and fossil fuels.

Hemp cultivators and manufacturers will need to be cautious as they enter this new domain not only to ensure quality but also compliance with relevant state and federal regulations, including in marketing. Continue reading

Dozens of bipartisan Congressional leaders signed onto a letter pressing top law enforcement agencies for faster action in approving marijuana cultivation for government research. The Associated Press reports the letter advocated for more analysis of the medicinal properties, benefits and potential risks of the drug.marijuanaresearch-300x200

Orange County marijuana farming lawyers know this would be a substantial first step to decriminalizing cannabis at the national level, a move that could have significant implications for state-legal dispensaries. Because cannabis remains illegal under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act – especially in the highest-risk classification – California marijuana farms, production centers, labs, landlords and ancillary businesses know the Cole Memo is little more than a tenuous truce. They are largely at the mercy of political whims, and while it seems certain legalization (or at least lower classification) will be inevitable, the question is: When?

A Schedule I narcotic like marijuana is considered by law to be extremely dangerous, highly addictive and have no medicinal value. Even those opposed to federal legalization for recreation know this description is absurd. The problem is its classification has prevented reputable study for decades. Yet the government has argued it doesn’t have enough data to eschew the Schedule I categorization – so it becomes a catch-22. Continue reading

So much weed is being grown in California, it could create a bubble that will soon leave us set up for bust. There are too many marijuana farms, too much product and not enough demand. It has the potential, according to Vessel Logistics, to result in an an industry collapse. This is obviously something to which marijuana businesses and our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers are paying close attention. cannabis lawyer L.A.

The research firm/marijuana distribution company, crunched the numbers to learn nearly 1,150 acres of cannabis farms have a permit by the state. Those farms can generate an estimated 9 million pounds of the crop annually, yet the wholesale marked for the drug in the state – just realistically at this point – is about 2.2 million pounds. That means even if cannabis farms cut their production by half – we would STILL have an overstock.

In a typical trade situation, we’d look to offload that excess to markets in other states selling less. But we’re forbidden to do that by federal and state law. The drug remains a Schedule I narcotic, which our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know that neither farmers nor distributors can ship this product across state or international lines without breaking serious felony drug trafficking laws – even when those states allow the drug to be used and sold legally.

California hemp businesses cheered when the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (“2018 Farm Bill”) approved federal expansion of legalized hemp and hemp-derived products – including CBD (cannabidiol). But when mapping supply chains that cross state borders, Los Angeles hemp business lawyers urge caution.interstate hemp sale

This may seem a bit confusing, given that section 10114(b) of the 2018 Farm Bill expressly states that no state or Indian Tribe has the authority to bar transportation or shipment of hemp or hemp-derived products across boarders, so long as the products meet the criteria of section 10113.

Straightforward, right?

Why Interstate Hemp Shipping Requires Caution  Continue reading

With tax season in full swing, the deadline approaching April 15th, California cannabis companies and growers are hauling in piles of cash to government offices to ensure their taxes are paid. However, neither those firms or government employees are keen on dealing with the archaic process of hand-counting dollars. Yet as our California cannabis business attorneys can explain, these tax woes are indicative of the long-standing and much bigger problem: Marijuana businesses can’t access banking. California cannabis company lawyers

Despite the fact that now 10 states plus the District of Columbia have marijuana legal for recreational purposes (1 in 4 Americans lives in a state where recreational use is legal), the federal Controlled Substances Act that still designates marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic means banks are reticent to get involved. Doing so could risk the U.S. Department of Justice coming after them for money laundering. Recently, The Modesto Bee reported the U.S. House of Representatives intends to hold hearings on bills that, if passed, could allow marijuana companies easier access to banking services – some six years after states started legalizing the plant for recreational use. It’s not the first time the issue has been raised, but it had always stalled in the past with Republicans being the Congressional majority – even when, as recently as 2017, the House bill had 95 bipartisan co-sponsors and a sister measure in the Senate had 20.

Lawmakers from Colorado and Washington are sponsoring a new marijuana banking bill that cannabis lawyers in Los Angeles know could help these companies – and government workers – avoid the risk of carrying around large cash stashes that may make them vulnerable to criminal targeting. As it now stands, the California Tax and Fee Administration already has to expend substantial resources to carefully plan for cannabis company tax payment drop-offs. In Humbolt County, where a large number of marijuana growers operate, the tax collector’s office has invested in numerous cash-counting machines, which so far have helped to processed some $10.3 million in marijuana tax revenue. Statewide, officials collected nearly $230 million in tax revenue from the marijuana industry in the first nine months of last year. Little less than half of that was reportedly submitted via cash payment. Continue reading

Standalone CBD shops – those selling oils or other products made solely from cannabidiol (a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant that does not contain the psychoactive elements of THC) – are not expansive in California, but they have gained footing in some cities that have otherwise banned full marijuana dispensaries. They are also proving popular options in states where the drug itself may not yet be legal, particularly in light of the recent passage of the federal Farm Bill, which included provisions that legalized hemp, from which CBD oil can be obtained. L.A. CBD business attorney

Los Angeles CBD shop attorneys understand that while these little stores are outnumbered by the full-service cannabis dispensaries in the city hundreds-to-one, these store owners say they were drawn to the business primarily for the health benefits and variety of products (salves, tinctures, creams, edibles, soft gels, tinctures and more), but also for the reduced legal risk and ease in securing insurance and funding. One in L.A., for instance, sells only hemp-made CBD oil expressly for this purpose Shops that sell only CBD aren’t required to have the pricey licensing, as is required by legal cannabis dispensaries in California.

Such stores have also opened in Missouri, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, North Carolina, Minnesota, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio. What the Farm Bill, signed in December by the president, did was remove hemp from the list of controlled substances, allowing states to freely allow permanent cultivation programs, and farmers can be eligible for crop insurance and grants.  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