Articles Posted in California Marijuana Dispensaries

Federal appeals court judges are reviewing how far certain racketeering laws can be extended in a case that could threaten the right to recreational marijuana in California. gavel

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reportedly took oral arguments in a case that consolidates several claims and argues the recreational marijuana law in Colorado violates U.S. racketeering and controlled substances law. Both Oklahoma and Nebraska joined the claim after the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to consider an earlier case they brought asserting Colorado’s pro-marijuana law was unconstitutional and illegally facilitated the industrialization of marijuana. The consolidated appeals also contain complaints from several county sheriffs offices as well as a horse ranch.

Plaintiffs assert that neighboring states have had to contend with federally-illegal substances crossing their borders, causing a strain on local law enforcement and other interested parties. The federal appellate court judges are now considering whether RICO or other federal statutes should have an impact on marijuana cultivation on properties (particularly those near Denver, where this case is being considered).  Continue reading

Marijuana consumers and rights activists have praised Colorado for its role as one of the first states in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreation. The move was touted as not only good for consumers, but also for states hoping to cash in on the tax dollars. marijuana

However, it seems that legalization may not be bringing in as much tax revenue as expected – and that’s because the increased availability has driven down costs. Vox.com reports new data from the Colorado Department of Revenue shows that the wholesale price of cannabis has fallen 22 percent since recreational sales first started three years ago. It’s now at about $1,470 from $1,880. That’s a stark change from what we saw immediately after legalization, when prices soared to $2,865 per pound when there was a short supply and high demand. Prior to legalization, the wholesale price of marijuana could reach as high as $5,000 per pound.

Speculation is that these prices aren’t done falling. Drug policy experts say once mass production really kicks into high gear, the price per pound could reach somewhere between $30 or $45. That’s because even in Colorado, there has to be some consideration of the fact that the drug is still illegal for recreational purposes in most other places in the country. This drives marijuana tourism in Colorado, which will likely drop off if and when the drug becomes more readily available in other states.  Continue reading

Even before California legalized the cultivation and sale of marijuana for recreational users, this state was already one of the country’s biggest producers of the drug in the country. Recently, The Orange County Register delved into just how big of a producer – and the results are somewhat astonishing, even to those of us familiar with the industry. field

California is known around the world to have some of the best soil for farming all types of agriculture. We grow some of the greatest grapes, winter vegetables, garlic, olives and almonds. But the biggest item produced? Cannabis.

The Register reports that not only is marijuana the most valuable crop in the nation’s No. 1 agricultural producer state, but we grow so much of it here that it blows the other goods out of the water. Reporters looked at figures from the California Department of Food and Agriculture for crops and production estimates. What they found was that estimated marijuana crop production was more than the other five leading agricultural commodities – combined.  Continue reading

There was a time not very long ago that property owners were extremely wary of renting space to any type of marijuana business, for fear of running afoul of the federal government. Specifically, 18 U.S. Code Section 981 details the government’s authority to assert civil asset forfeiture. The law was drafted to allow the government to seize the massive assets acquired by drug kingpins. However, it was rarely used until marijuana became legal as medicine in California. At that point, federal prosecutors began going after property owners who allowed their site to be used by any marijuana operation – even if it complied with state law – because marijuana was (and still is) unlawful per federal statutes. warehouse

Today, it’s a much different legal landscape. Technically, prosecutors still have the authority to assert civil forfeiture, but the U.S. Justice Department under the previous presidential administration altered its policy in 2013, with a memo indicating that so long as operations were compliant with state laws, the federal government wouldn’t pursue them unless it had some special reason to do so (i.e., distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing sales revenue from being funneled to criminal enterprises and cartels and preventing dissemination of the drug to states where it isn’t legal).

This has motivated a growing number of real estate investors to dip their toes into the waters. The Portland Press-Herald in Maine recently reported real estate brokers are encountering increasing demand for industrial spaces that could be converted to indoor marijuana farms. News of this comes as Maine is on the verge of being yet another state to approve of recreational marijuana. California is in that same boat.  Continue reading

Medical marijuana dispensaries have been a common sight in L.A. for years – more than two decades, to be exact. So it’s tough to remember that in many parts of the country, these facilities are still having to wade gingerly into their new markets, even as the public has shown overwhelming support for them at the polls.bud

One example is Florida.

Recently, media in The Sunshine State have been exploring the way in which marijuana businesses are carefully entering the market after the approval of Amendment 2, which took effect this month. As reported by one outlet, one 2,000-square-foot storefront in Tampa does not, the reporter noted, “evoke images of the seedy bong-filled pot shops of popular imagination.” Again, we have to remember that it’s still “imagination” to those who haven’t lived in or traveled to a state where this substance has been widely available for years. The writer describes a clean, spacious dispensary with a brightly-lit showroom and materials to help educate buyers on the drug’s merits. One customer, there to purchase products for her son with epilepsy, comments to the writer that in truth, she “didn’t know what to expect,” but was pleasantly surprised.  Continue reading

When voters approved Proposition 64 in November, the promise was that by Jan. 1, 2018, recreational cannabis users could walk into a licensed store to purchase their favorite strain of marijuana. Meanwhile, the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, which involves a number of new regulations for medical cannabis sales, is slated to roll out around the same time. However, there is evidence to suggest that the actual timeline for legal marijuana commercialization is going to be pushed back to 2019.marijuana

A recent report published in The Cannifornian indicated that government leaders and industry insiders have posited that difficult regulatory challenges have to be hammered out before recreational marijuana becomes legal. Speaking at the recent Emerald Cup, held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, government regulators noted that prohibition on cannabis lasted so long and was so complicated, that the process of ending it is not going to happen overnight – even with this vote.

For example, Lori Ajax, chief of the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, noted there are a number of challenges created by the different structures of the two new marijuana laws, and there may be conflicts between the two that need to be resolved. Each take very different approaches to things like residence requirements, timelines, license categories and ownership. One of the primary questions, says Assemblyman Jim Wood, is whether this will result in two parallel marijuana regulatory systems or a single system that somehow combines the two.  Continue reading

With marijuana now legal in some capacity in more than half of all states, the industry is poised to see a job boom over the next few years. business

Even prior to the election, industry analysis conducted by ArcView group and GreenWave Advisors tallied that the industry was worth somewhere between $4.8 billion and $5.4 billion in 2015, with projections that it would hit $6.5 billion to $6.7 billion this year. Both groups say the industry will surpass $20 billion nationally by 2020, while others, such as Marijuana Business Daily, is opining growth could be up to $40 billion over the next five years. Those estimates are only going up since the results of the November election, when eight states – including California – voting to legalize the drug in some capacity. Here, recreational use and possession is now permitted, and regulations are being worked out to determine the guidelines for production and sales.

Already, some individuals who got in early enough – when the field was still quite new and very risky – have struck a veritable gold mine. One entrepreneur in Denver opened a dispensary there in 2009 called Medicine Man. Now, several of his family members are on board, running nine businesses that employ over 100 workers in total. Employees at his country make anywhere from a starting salary of $13-an-hour, all the way up to six-figure positions for working in critical management roles.  Continue reading

With the election over and recreational marijuana approved by California voters, people still have many questions about what this is going to mean in their day-to-day lives. One of the most common questions our marijuana lawyers receive: “Am I now exempted from an employer drug test?”

Unfortunately, no.buds

Although recreational use of the drug is now legal, the new law specifically holds that companies have the right to keep a drug- and alcohol-free workplace. They reserve the right to hang onto policies that disallow the use of marijuana by workers or prospective workers. Many employers in contact with cannabis advocacy group California NORML say they intend to keep their current drug screening policies, many of which do not allow the use of marijuana.

Companies say it’s not just that they are trying to be a stick in the mud. Those in human resources explain there are some legal concerns, first as far as federal law goes. Although California law now allows recreational and medicinal use, the federal government does not. The second concern stems from liability. A worker who is required to operate heavy machinery or be on high alert cannot be under the influence of any substance, including marijuana. Continue reading

A South California town is positioning itself to be a mecca of cannabis cultivation in the coming years. The vision is complete with “bud and breakfast” resorts and “soak and toke” mineral spas. marijuana

In Desert Hot Springs, property developers are planning cannabis cultivation and distribution businesses that will serve as a prime location for the budding recreational marijuana industry. Leaders see the sites open for business by 2018. For example, one property developer is planning to be Southern California’s first stand-alone cannabis extraction facility in an old welding shop that used to be a barn. Other property owners are planning greenhouses that will span tens of thousands of square feet and destinations for locals and tourists alike.

With the passage of Proposition 64, California voters opened the door to what will soon be the single largest legal marijuana market in the country. Desert Hot Springs is one of those that is preparing to capitalize on that prospect. Characterized as a “bedroom community,” Desert Hot Springs is located in Coachella Valley and has a population of 26,000. It was the first community in Southern California to green light large-scale growth of marijuana. Currently, there are two dozen new marijuana businesses, and the hope is many more will be added over the next two years.  Continue reading

One of the greatest difficulties for the marijuana industry – since its beginning – was a lack of access to banking. Federal statutes defining marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic have meant that banks agreeing to handle a marijuana company’s finances would risk criminal charges for money laundering. debit card

As it still stands, Visa and Mastercard have made it explicitly clear they will not work with marijuana retail companies until the federal government changes the law and legalizes the drug. But that could mean opportunity for some other financial firms willing to take the risk.

Now, an app called CanPay has announced the creation of the very first debit payment solution available to buyers of cannabis in Colorado, Washington and Oregon.  Continue reading