Articles Posted in California marijuana business lawyers

There was a time when “I need a cannabis lawyer” meant you were most likely looking for a criminal defense attorney. But the legal landscape of marijuana law has changed drastically – from the early days of becoming the first state to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes in 1996 to the incessant federal raids and civil forfeiture action to the uneasy truce of the Cole Memo to Prop 64’s legalization of marijuana for recreational sale and use in 2016.cannabis business lawyer

Through all of this, the Los Angeles marijuana lawyers at The Cannabis Law Group have been on the forefront of these evolving laws.

Today, “cannabis law” encompasses a broad array of legal services, including:

  • Marijuana business licensing/permitting
  • Civil litigation
  • Regulatory compliance (tracking and tracing, zoning disputes, etc.)
  • Business plans/corporate structure
  • Trademark/patent
  • Employment/labor law
  • Contracts
  • Product liability
  • Premises liability
  • Financial/tax law
  • Unfair competition

And yes, cannabis criminal defense lawyers are still needed too – not only so long as marijuana prohibition is in effect at the federal level but also to handle marijuana DUI cases.

We have been centrally focused on all-things-cannabis law in Los Angeles for the better part of two decades, cultivating a highly-skilled team of knowledgeable, dogged attorneys known for consistently-favorable client results. Continue reading

The California cannabis industry was one that was truly forged from the bottom-up. But now, it’s the little guys who are increasingly finding themselves on top – specifically, the top shelf. And bottom shelf. And off to the side. That’s not where they’d like to be, given what everyone knows of consumer buying habits – particularly when purchasing on impulse. Prime shelving these days, however, is coming at a premium at local pot stores. Retailers are reportedly charging a pretty penny for those eye-level or feature case spots. cannabis slotting lawyer

Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys recognize that not only does this practice (with some retailers reportedly charging anywhere from several hundred dollars to $50,000 monthly just for product placement) squeeze out the mom-and-pop pot ventures, it may be legally questionable.

In fairness: Everyone in the state’s marijuana market is squeezed pretty tight at the moment, between cumbersome regulation and a black market that threatens to crush the legal competition. That’s exactly how many industry insiders say this all started: Cannabis retailers pushed to the brink by back-alley black market suppliers undercutting legal sales. Continue reading

Despite the legality of marijuana in California, actual products may not be eligible for U.S. trademarks, thanks to the fact the plant is still barred under federal law. However, that doesn’t stop Los Angeles marijuana businesses and hemp entrepreneurs from submitting patent and trademark applications.Los Angeles cannabis patent lawyer

Los Angeles marijuana lawyers recognize trademark and patent applications to be an important component of legal marijuana businesses – necessary moves that can protect the product brand, increase the company’s value and shield you from legal action pursued by other firms.

As reported in the most recent edition of Marijuana Business Magazine, some companies report their value has been boosted by tens of millions of dollars as a result of obtaining patent and trademark protections, not just here in the U.S. but in other countries as well.

Trademarks and patents serve two distinct purposes. Trademarks insulate your company branding while patents help shield any unique product development. Continue reading

The Herculean task of tracing every lawful cannabis plant from seed-to-sale in the largest legal marijuana market in the world was never going to be easy. Although the California Track-and-Trace-System formally went live at the start of this year, it’s still not fully-live.marijuana business license attorney

In fits-and-starts, the red tape system intended to enforce regulation and streamline product standards for safe legal marijuana has unrolled with its fair share of confusion, additional costs and headaches.

Yet many Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers compare it to a root canal: It’s not cheap or pleasant, but it’s got to be done to establish market legitimacy. Working with a cannabis attorney can help the process go much more smoothly with faster, more decisive answers when uncertainty arises. Continue reading

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

California cannabis vape cartridges will soon carry explicit labeling on its packages. The state announced a new rule in March that all vapor packaging for marijuana products will need to display the state-designed version of the industry-wide symbol, an action causing manufacturers to switch gears – and spend considerable money to do so.Los Angeles cannabis business lawyer

As Los Angeles cannabis lawyers can explain, the cost of non-compliance is likely to be considerably more. Those producing marijuana products need to get a move on fast – by the end of this month. Retailers will have a bit longer.

The symbol in question is a triangle that borders a bud leaf with a bold exclamation point and the letters “CA” (the widely-recognized abbreviation for California) below.

The legal market for marijuana sales in Los Angeles has become something of a Wild West free-for-all that has left very few feeling satisfied: Government officials, legal cannabis companies, law enforcement and those trying to edge their way into the local market.Los Angeles cannabis business attorney

Law enforcement say it’s like playing whack-a-mole, city officials say they’re overwhelmed, legal businesses planning to sue the city and those operating on the fringes without a legal license say they’re only doing what they’ve been doing for years, but operating on the fringe, thanks to being shut out by regulators.

The director of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation cracked a joke when asked what she’d do if given an unlimited staff and budget – doing her best Oprah Winfrey impression while opining that, “You get a license! You get a license!” (And no one would be arrested.)  This spurred some laughter and applause from those listening at the retreat in Mendocino County where she spoke, but Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers know: Most of us aren’t laughing. Continue reading

California marijuana businesses had been hoping to see the onerous tax provisions of the 280E tax resolved once and for all with a review and definitive ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. Unfortunately for marijuana companies, the nation’s high court declined to review the petition filed by a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado against the Internal Revenue Service(which would have extended to California dispensaries as well). Cannabis tax lawyer Los Angeles

In its petition to the court, the cannabis firm argued that a specific part of federal tax code – Section 280E – doesn’t give the IRS authority to investigate and/or rule a marijuana business in violation of criminal federal statutes.

As our Los Angeles cannabis business lawyers can explain, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I narcotic per the U.S. Controlled Substances Act.

The IRS contends that this provision means it cannot allow any tax credit or deduction for any expense incurred or paid in carrying out business that conflicts with or is in violation of federal criminal law – including trafficking in controlled substances – which is what it contends marijuana dispensaries are doing. Continue reading

Last month, industry and media reports detailed two bankruptcy cases of individuals with financial connections to the marijuana industry. One a landlord and another an employee of a cannabis worker staffing agency. Although the staffing agency employee was denied the right to pursue bankruptcy, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth District, which has jurisdiction in California cases, granted permission for the landlord who rented to a dispensary.

Marijuana Company Workers, Landlords, Contractors Seek Financial Shelter in Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is an important right in the U.S. after moving away from the practice of debtors’ prisons in the 19th Century. Both Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy provide individuals with a fresh financial start and shot at a real future, free of looming debt they would have no hope of ever paying off.
Chapter 11 is a reorganization of debts, while Chapter 13 involves creating a manageable plan of repayment stretched over a period of time.
To deny this critical avenue of relief to those just because they work for or do business with a state-legal cannabis company is unconscionable.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Denied to Oregon Marijuana Ancillary Business Employee

One of those involves a woman from Oregon employed by a marijuana staffing agency. Marijuana Business Daily reports the appointed federal trustee is a bankruptcy monitor employed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
She had filed for personal Chapter 13 bankruptcy. protection The trustee filed court documents asserting the woman did not have the right to relieve for personal bankruptcy because her earnings were tied to marijuana sales and citing federal prohibition on the drug.
As longtime cannabis business attorneys, we found this ruling troubling in scope.
The good news is, that court’s ruling is not the final word on this.

Appellate Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Cannabis and Bankruptcy

That same month, the 9th DCA in Garvin v. Cook rejected the argument of the DOJ’s trustee to deny the landlord Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, affirming the bankruptcy court’s decision to allow plaintiff’s right to bankruptcy protection.
The DOJ trustee responsible to oversee the bankruptcy cases argued before both the bankruptcy court and the appellate judges that Chapter 11 bankruptcy was not appropriate in this case, as the landlord rented commercial space to a marijuana dispensary.

Continue reading

Two cannabis delivery companies – one Californian, one Canadian – are facing off in a San Francisco civil lawsuit involving customer payment processing fraud. The Toronto-based firm is accusing the other of carving an unfair market advantage by using European shell companies to illegally processing customer payments via credit or debit card.cannabis credit card processing

By processing both debit and credit card payments from customers through its online platforms, plaintiff alleges its biggest cannabis services competitor committed wire and bank fraud. A spokesman for the stateside company called these allegations, “false.”

As longtime Southern California marijuana lawyers, we recognize that in any other industry with any other product – this would not be an issue. Unfair business practices lawsuits crop up fairly often enough, but most competitors aren’t concerned with how each other’s payments are processed. Cannabis commerce is the only place we see this because of the labyrinth of laws varying. It starts with the statutes in 34 states plus Washington, D.C. that directly conflict with federal classification of the drug and only gets more confusing from there. Continue reading