Articles Posted in California marijuana business lawyers

Allegations of candy company trademark violations by cannabis companies are leaving sweets makers bitter. Manufacturers of confections are imploring producers of cannabis edibles to avoid creating labels that may closely mirror popular snack and treat products. Los Angeles cannabis trademark lawyers

One of the major concerns, companies say, is that kids might mistake certain cannabis edibles for well-known and loved snacks like Oreos, Sour Patch Kids or Doritos. Numerous law enforcement agencies and even some state attorneys general had issued warnings prior to Halloween warning of similarities of cannabis products that could closely mirror treats.

Concerns about mistakes might be fair where cannabis companies post deceptive packaging on products that contain high levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 2,050 kids under the age of 12 who allegedly ingested cannabis edibles at home, compared to about 130 in 2016.

There were no reported issues with trick-or-treat (it’s highly unlikely anyone is going to intentionally pass out edible marijuana products to kids, as it’s not only dangerous, but such products can be quite expensive), but there is a legitimate concern for accidental ingestion of products that look like snacks. Symptoms of overdose can range from mild to severe, in the most extreme cases resulting in seizures or even a coma. Although there have been no reported deaths, the risks for kids are always heightened compared to adults. Continue reading

An agricultural research and commercial hemp company is attempting to bankroll a civil lawsuit against the state of California through crowdfunding, asking investors to purchase cryptocurrency. The lawsuit alleges state officials unlawfully destroyed more than $1 billion of the hemp crop belonging to Apothio LLC in 2019.Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer

As reported by Reuters, this approach breaks some ground on numerous fronts. Small investors, for the first time, can put up as little as $100 or as much as $500,000 to buy a stake in the outcome of the civil litigation. Although the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has long allowed individuals to invest in litigation finance deals, those individuals had to meet SEC accreditation criteria. This approach of sidestepping those rigorous requirements is allowed under an SEC provision that permits up to $5 million in litigation financing through crowdfunding. Furthermore, to the best of our Los Angeles cannabis attorneys’ knowledge, this is a first for tokenizing litigation funding through blockchain. What that means is if the firm ends up winning the case and getting paid, investors will be paid their share of the verdict in tokens from the company.

Within a day of the request going live, the company had raised more than $156,000 from 85 investors – more than 60 percent of the target minimum of $250,000.

This is an interesting approach that we imagine many California marijuana business lawyers are going to be watching closely, as it may allow a greater number of plaintiffs of all sizes to pursue civil litigation for unfair regulatory action, such as destroying crops or license revocation. Continue reading

A licensed California cannabis company owner has filed a civil lawsuit against the state’s Department of Cannabis Control alleging that outrageously high taxes on lawful distributors and lack of enforcement against illegal operations has made the industry untenable for those trying to do it by-the-book. cannabis business lawyer Los Angeles

As it stands, the state’s excise tax on cannabis is 15 percent. Municipalities can also set their own rates. Plaintiff, Catalyst Cannabis Company, alleges these tax rates are effectively smothering the legal cannabis industry in California. Operators of pot shops throughout the state are “treated as second class” members of the business community, while they burden an unfair share of taxes and receive little protection against the unfair competition of illegal operators.

In a press release, plaintiff told state media outlets the goal of the litigation was partly to glean information about what state regulators know regarding illegal distributors and partly to compel them to participate in reasonable cannabis industry tax reform that would allow legal operators to survive. As our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers have been made aware, eking out a profit has become increasingly difficult for California pot shops because of high-taxes and the relentless (and growing) underground market. Legalization of marijuana for recreational use has been a positive in many respects, but it’s also reduced penalties for unlawful marijuana sales, allowing black market cannabis outfits to thrive. Continue reading

California law prohibits children (under 21) from possessing, using, or buying cannabis. Marketing for marijuana must be tailored in a such a way that it’s less likely to reach them. Proposition 64 (California’s recreational marijuana law) requires a default buffer to keep dispensaries at least 600 feet away from schools, day cares, and youth centers; local ordinances be even more stringent in their requirements. Yet pot shops apparently aren’t doing a great job of keeping cannabis away from kids, according to new research.Los Angeles cannabis lawyer

A new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics took a look at how well state regulations intended to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors have been working. The analysis examined the practices of 700 licensed marijuana dispensaries in the state. Researchers discovered that kids can be exposed to both marketing and products, in spite of the restrictions on both.

Dispensaries are required by law to screen out customers who are underage. Many do this with blatant signage, having a checkpoint with mandatory ID (inside or outside), and tailoring marketing efforts where ads are unlikely to reach those under 21.

For this study, researchers close to the legal age cutoff (between the ages of 21 and 23) went into hundreds of dispensaries throughout California to document their screening process. Of the shops they entered, 97 percent were compliant with ID checks. However, only 12 percent verified customers’ ages outside the shop, and nearly 70 percent did not comply in having signs indicating age limits. For the most part, dispensaries were only requiring proof of age once the person was already inside, where both products and marketing materials were in plain view. Continue reading

In a precedential decision, the California State Personnel Board ruled that simply testing positive for prior marijuana use isn’t enough to accurately reflect whether a worker was impaired at work and thus grounds for discipline. The impact of this new civil service rule is that the use of urine tests for cannabis will be significantly limited in state worker discipline cases. marijuana attorney Los Angeles

There are a few positions, such as policing, to which the rule does not apply. Some state employees are expressly barred from using drugs at all. But otherwise, given that cannabis is legal in California, it appears the state will largely be treating it like alcohol where workers are concerned.

The personnel board, which oversees the civil service rules applicable to state employees, pointed out that urine tests are only going to reveal whether a person has used marijuana in the past. It’s no indicator of whether the person is intoxicated on-the-job, which for most employees would be the only situation in which marijuana use would matter. Continue reading

Outdoor advertising of cannabis products on more than 4,000 miles of California highways (any that cross the state border) was banned earlier this year following a district court ruling. In that matter, the court sided with a resident of San Luis Obispo County who alleged the state’s cannabis regulation bureau’s read of Proposition 64 would unduly expose his teens to marijuana ads. But what does that mean for marijuana marketers? Los Angeles cannabis advertising lawyer

As our Los Angeles cannabis business attorneys can explain, cannabis advertising is not something companies should engage in until they’ve consulted with an attorney and are certain their approach is within the boundaries of the law. Having an attorney on retainer assures you can run decisions like this by someone who will be on hand to give you solid advice for whatever issues arise.

The good news is that despite blanket bans on marijuana advertising, many cannabis companies are still finding creative ways to get their brand some traction. For example, some businesses have orchestrated workarounds with state Sponsor a Highway programs. That gets them brand visibility while also complying with the law. Continue reading

Last month, supporters of marijuana legalization got a welcome surprise when conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas questioned the constitutionality of federal prohibitions on marijuana. That line of questioning didn’t alter federal law, but it does seem to inch us closer to a reality where cannabis could be legalized, regulated and accepted the same way alcohol has. Hope has been especially high since the election of President Joe Biden. Still, the actual odds aren’t at all clear-cut. Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer

As of the beginning of this month, recreational marijuana was legal in 18 states, while medical marijuana was legal in 36. Since March of this year, five more states have enacted or introduced legislation that would legalize production, sales and use of the plant. Further, more than 9 in 10 Americans queried by the Pew Research Center believe cannabis should be legal at least for medicinal use.

Despite all this, though, marijuana continues to be classified as a Schedule I narcotic under federal law. As our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers can explain, that’s the same category used for drugs like heroin – highly addictive and with no medicinal purpose. Obviously, the label isn’t congruent with the reality, and there is a clear disconnect between federal and state laws that has proven a fine line for cannabis companies to walk. Continue reading

Minors getting ahold of marijuana was a major sticking point in the lead up to the passage of Proposition 64, which legalized adult-use California cannabis. It’s also been cited as a reason to block cannabis business billboards on California highways. But as it turns out, licensed marijuana retailers are doing an excellent job keeping the substance out of the hands of youth. Los Angeles cannabis lawyers

You don’t need to take our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers‘ word for it. This is according to a new study commissioned by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Despite a few isolated incidents of state law violations (i.e., workers giving out free samples of edibles), the analysis revealed workers at cannabis retail locations are committed to following the rules, protecting minors and staying in business.

Study authors say the largest loophole through which minors obtain cannabis in California is through unlicensed vendors. Consider that black market bud sales are three times bigger than the legal market. They don’t have the regulations and taxes to contend with. They sell products that aren’t verified for safety or quality, but they can sell them cheaper – and they don’t always ensure the people to whom they’re selling are of legal age to do so.

The proliferation of the black market in this state has served as a lesson to other states preparing to oversee the unveiling of similar recreational cannabis industries. Continue reading

Cannabis could end up back on the California ballot if some marijuana advocates have their way. An increasingly vocal faction argues that in the five years since voters approved legalization of adult recreational use, access to legal supply for consumers has been limited, thanks to unchecked taxes and fractious local governments. A booming black market has overshadowed legal proprietors, who are struggling to make ends meet – all of which was not the voters’ vision when they passed Prop. 64, the advocates argue. Los Angeles cannabis business lawyer

The California Cannabis Reform Project and Weed for Warriors organizations are working together to hammer out a ballot initiative that would, among other things, deprive local governments of the power to approve or deny licenses for cannabis business operators. They allege local governments have failed to wield that power effectively, in turn causing more harm than good, giving illegal operators a leg-up while making it harder for many law-abiding consumers in massive swaths of the state to obtain safe, legal cannabis.

As noted by analysis in the New York Times, roughly 8 in 10 of the state’s local governments have outlawed the sale of marijuana within their borders, effectively creating marijuana retail deserts. Local governments’ loss of control is effectively evidenced by the huge – and growing – illicit marijuana market. Continue reading

California may have legalized recreational cannabis, but questions carry on over how “in-your-face” the public messaging should be. State legislature rows are brewing over splashy marijuana business billboards that have been erected across the state. As our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers can explain, such advertising is considered essential by industry insiders who rightfully point note the legal market is barely treading water. Opponents, however, argue that such ads incentivize a potentially harmful substance to impressionable youth. Los Angeles cannabis business lawyer

Assembly Democrats have introduced two competing bills that would allow for two very different approaches to public advertising of cannabis businesses and their products. The more restrictive CA AB 273(21R) would prohibit any cannabis-related billboard from being visible from a highway. The other, CA AB 1302 (21R) would allow billboard advertising of cannabis companies along most thoroughfares in the state, but it would discourage sales interstate, which is still unlawful at the federal level, by banning marijuana billboard ads within 15 miles of any highway border into another state.

Although advertising may seem like a minor detail, the reality is some of these nuances could have a significant impact on the legal cannabis market in the state. Consider that the biggest tech companies – Google, Facebook, and YouTube – effectively ban cannabis marketing to online consumers. That means outdoor advertising is crucial for the marijuana industry. Prohibition that unreasonably restricts content and placement is going to further impede any business’s ability to effectively compete against other providers, particularly in markets teeming with unlicensed businesses that sell cheaper products because they are uninhibited by taxes, regulatory fees, compliance testing, etc. Continue reading

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