Articles Posted in California marijuana business lawyers

Leaders in luxury are looking to grace their way into marijuana product sales in Los Angeles, with a high-end New York retailer inking a partnership with an upscale cannabis firm to offer a large line of cannabis accessories and “lifestyle products” under the business model concept of a “wellness shop.”luxury marijuana products

Los Angeles marijuana retail attorneys recognize the ways in which this illustrates the many ways in which ancillary companies can break into the bud-tending business. Because marijuana is such a versatile plant – used in everything from medicine for seizures and anxiety to shampoo – we’re likely to see more of these non-traditional dispensaries on the horizon.

These companies need the advice and guidance of a dedicated Los Angeles retail marijuana lawyer to help them navigate the complex legal landscape, ensuring they can offer their products in a way that aligns with state and local regulations – to protect their brand and their assets. Continue reading

Years ago, you could call your Los Angeles pot product pretty much anything you wanted, and not only would you find a market for it, you were unlikely to face costly litigation if you swiped someone else’s style. As marijuana increasingly gains legitimacy across the U.S. (now fully legal in Canada), preserving your budding cannabis brand is becoming a significant legal issue for Los Angeles marijuana businesses. Our California cannabis attorneys can help you in this and other endeavors in launching – or rebranding – your legal marijuana business. cannabis intellectual property protection

As NBC Los Angeles recently reported, now that regulations in the year-old recreational marijuana industry are beginning to settle, some companies are revamping their whole image in an effort to appeal to a wider audience. (Years of “reefer madness” propaganda, a spotty patchwork of state medical marijuana statutes and a spate of federal raids hadn’t helped the industry’s image.)

Building on this previously-untapped market, long-time dispensaries are taking a new tact on branding, while those just breaking into the market are working on forging their recognition for the first time. Unfortunately, because federal law – specifically the U.S. Controlled Substances Act – remains at odds with the now-majority of states that legalize the drug in some form, not all types of intellectual property protection are available to marijuana businesses. Nonetheless, acting on available protections now can help combat copycats in the present while better positioning them to seize further opportunity if/when the government does repeal the CSA. Continue reading

In the more than two decades since California voters approved legal marijuana as medicine, we’ve seen a dramatically-altered legal and political landscape in the California cannabis industry – and yet cash is still king

When medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives first started cropping up around California in 1997, they had to heavily guard their assets – both product and cash. Banks, cowed by federal law that might ensnare them on criminal money-laundering charges, denied accounts to almost everyone who profited from cannabis, a Schedule I narcotic. Being state-legal didn’t matter.marijuana asset protection lawyer

More than 20 years later, although California was late to join the recreational sales party, our Los Angles cannabis lawyers have seen so much of the legal landscape change. Profits are not only allowed, but encouraged. Collectives and co-ops were outlawed as of last month. Businesses are licensed and heavily regulated and taxed. Everything from seed-to-sale is tracked and tested by outside labs.

And yet: Most Southern California marijuana businesses still can’t convince banks to do business. That means in a world where e-commerce is booming, retail stores are shuttering and most people pay with plastic, marijuana businesses can’t move money electronically. So every time cash must be moved – to pay a vendor or file taxes – it’s almost always coordinated with teams of gun-strapped security officers (many ex-military) and armored cars, equipped with bullet-proof glass and high-end GPS tracking. 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

Marijuana business entrepreneurs are increasingly striking green in the Golden State. If you’re looking to launch a new pot shop or any company ancillary to the cannabis industry: California is a prime location. Our Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys could have told you that, but this comes from a new report by FitSmallBusiness.com, which ranked California the No. 5 best state in the U.S. for cannabis start-ups. marijuana entrepreneur

The study analyzed numerous factors, including how easy it is for a new business owner to enter the market, what it costs to do so, how much you’ll pay in taxes, how many laws and regulations exist and the overall market opportunity.

Oregon wrestled the No. 1 spot, Colorado No. 2, Michigan No. 3 and Alaska No. 4.

The fact that we aren’t first – despite being the biggest legal marijuana market despite being the largest marijuana market – was attributed largely to our patchwork of laws and hefty taxes (15 percent excise and a sales tax for recreational product). There’s also a mid-range startup fee – $5,000 for business applications. Compare that to Oregon where the fee is a cheap $250 but then also to Illinois, where a cultivator licensing fee costs $200,000 – all but ensuring any prospective small business owners would be pushed out.

Still, California secured the most recreational marijuana revenue of any in 2018 – it’s very first year – at $2.75 billion. Continue reading

Recreational marijuana use has been legal in California now for little more than a year, but access to the drug remains scarce in some regions. That’s why some – including those who seek non-psychoactive CBD oil – are relying on a technology app called Weedmaps to help them locate the nearest provider. Our Los Angeles marijuana attorneys are aware this has generated a few problems stemming from the fact that a number of the providers listed on the platform aren’t legally allowed to operate by the state and have not been subjected to the same rigorous quality assurance regulations as legal marijuana businesses.marijuana lawyer

From a patient’s perspective, that means the product they are receiving may not be 100 percent safe or accurately-labeled with proper potency levels. From the perspective of marijuana businesses, these other companies have carved an unfair advantage over them because they operate in regions they do not and/or have not had to pay the mountains of fees for taxes, licensing, workers’ compensation and quality assurance testing. From the state’s perspective, these businesses are flouting the regulatory framework of the law.

As reported by Wired.com, marijuana businesses can list their services on the site for free, but top billing requires an advertising fee. Some companies pay as much as $20,000-a-month for top-level billing on the site, which doesn’t vet firms to see which are technically legal and does not indicate those pot shops that pop up first on the site have paid for that placement.

California’s marijuana industry is seeing some major money, with investors pouring millions of dollars into new bud ventures. Recently, Esquire reported San Francisco 49ers football legend and four-time Super Bowl champion Joe Montana was part of a $75 million investment made on a California marijuana company. Our Los Angeles marijuana investment attorneys know this was actually the second time Montana had gone in on such a venture, the first time pouring funds into a Canadian marijuana media company called Herb, which as of mid-2017 had raised $4.1 million to expand its venture to the U.S. Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

Montana explained his reasons as somewhat philanthropic, saying he supports the industry as a whole because he believes in the power of the plant to offer pain relief with the potential to blunt the raging opioid crisis. (A number of retired football players have said they prefer pot for pain management.) And yet, he himself won’t cop to being a cannabis user, something that still apparently speaks to the stigma that followed the drug for so long. There is also a possibility that he, like many marijuana investors, is reticent to speak too much no the topic given the fact the drug is still illegal at the federal level.

Los Angeles marijuana investment attorneys know that first of all, the profile of cannabis company investors differs from that of the norm. Part of this is because many of the cannabis start-ups are simply too small to go for the big fish. What they can do is seek buy-in from single, high net-worth individuals. Another reason these arrangements are atypical is because investors need to know there are some elements that are a bit in the legal gray zone. Huge firms aren’t likely to buy-in for such a risk with relatively low returns (compared to their average). Most of this stems from the fact cannabis remains categorized as a Schedule I narcotic.  Continue reading

Lawmakers in California are exploring ways to ease the financial pressure many pot companies are under, with many saying lowering taxes on cannabis products being one of the best ways to facilitate real competition against the black market. Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know this has resulted in serious struggle for some shops in the last year since recreational marijuana hit the market. The AP reports a number of marijuana industry-backing state legislators have proposed a measure that would cut taxes for these firms and offer a much-needed jump-start needed to get back in the game.Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

Assembly Bill 286 proposes to:

  • Temporarily lower from 15 percent to 11 percent the tax legal buyers pay when they purchase from a California dispensary
  • Ax the nearly $150 tax applied per pound on farmers – at least for the next three years.

Analysts say sales of legal marijuana in the last year from $3 billion in 2017 to $2.5 billion in 2018. This is of huge concern because in 2017, the only kind of marijuana available for purchase was medicinal. Recreational marijuana wasn’t available for retail until Jan. 1, 2018.

Legislators opined the high taxes were hurting the companies that are trying to follow the law by creative cash incentive for consumers to seek black market retailers. This was the incentive for the Temporary Cannabis Tax Reduction bill.  Continue reading

The California marijuana industry and those who advocate on its behalf have fought tooth and nail for every inch of its legitimacy. Now, our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know we may be facing the biggest hurdle yet: Getting legal buyers in the door. Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

The New York Times recently reported anticipated tax revenue drawn in by the California legal pot market were disappointing. Although the industry generated more than $2.5 billion last year, the state still overshot its anticipated take by more than $100 million. Even worse – that figure was half a billion less than sales in 2017 – when recreational marijuana wasn’t even legal in California yet.

It’s not that pot shops don’t want to pay the piper. The problem is that at rates that high ($150 per pound on cultivators and 15 percent by recreational retail buyers) it creates incentive for consumers to buy their buds from elsewhere. It also doesn’t help that the regulatory requirements laid out by the Bureau of Cannabis Control require extensive testing of products, which also costs a pretty penny. This two combined are taking a financial toll that has meant that buyers of recreational marijuana are paying significantly more for legal cannabis – and most would rather not if there is an alternative.  Continue reading

A lawsuit by the California Growers’ Association over the stacking of licenses by small-scale cannabis farmers to allegedly create large-scale grow sites, thereby subverting the intent of Prop 64, will be dismissed. Although neither the association, nor the California Department of Food and Agriculture (case defendant) have commented publicly on the motive for moving for dismissal, a couple of the growers who were the subject of litigation, having some 200 licenses each, say California is big enough to support small and large operations alike. Smaller growers, they say, can carve a cult-like following by capitalizing on the artisanal. Commercial production for things like medical-grade CBD and related products, however, can’t be produced practically for a profit by small-scale operations, they said.growoperations-300x169

As our Los Angeles marijuana attorneys can explain, the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture published its final rules for awarding marijuana grow licenses per Proposition 64, with licenses granted according to the size of the farm.

Licenses for “medium-sized” cannabis farms would allow one person or entity a maximum 1 acre outside or 22,000 square feet indoors. “Large” marijuana grow farms (larger than 1 outdoor acre or 22,000 feet of indoor space) aren’t being awarded until 2023, the idea being smaller, mom-and-pop grow operations will get a head start before the large agricultural companies can come storming in. There was, however, no designated license for “small” farms, at least initially. Continue reading