Articles Posted in California Marijuana Dispensaries

Marijuana advocates are suing the county over its voter-approved tax on marijuana, arguing the results are not legitimate. Specifically, the group is arguing that Measure AI proposed a tax that amounted to a special tax, not a general tax. For this reason, the measure required not just a simple majority, but a two-thirds majority approval.vote

When the measure passed by voters in November, it amounted to a tax of between 2.5 percent and 10 percent on the gross receipts of cannabis cultivators. It also imposed on all other marijuana businesses a flat-rate tax of $2,500 annually.

An advisory that was attached to this measure indicated that voters wished to have this money spent on county services. Specifically, this would include not just code enforcement on marijuana businesses, but also emergency medical services, fire and police services, repairs of roads and mental health services. This was a non-binding agreement, though, and county leaders technically can spend the funds on whatever they wish.  Continue reading

In Santa Ana, licensed marijuana dispensaries say their greatest nemesis isn’t a federal prosecutor or local police or even criminals seeking to rob their cash-based operations. Today, the greatest challenge they face at the moment are unsanctioned marijuana shops that dot the city. courthouse

These unlicensed, unregulated operations are snapping up black market business by selling the drug at a lower cost – made possible because those other shops aren’t following the stringent guidelines as expected by state regulators. They ignore city safety codes and guidelines, which means they can undercut licensed dispensaries on price. Licensed regulators have responded by suing a number of these operations.

You may recall back in 2014, Santa Ana city officials approved a city initiative called Measure BB. This gave the green light to about 20 medical marijuana dispensary licenses in the city, to be chosen via a lottery system. However, despite efforts to carefully regulate the legal marijuana system, the number of licensed dispensaries in the city soon became overwhelmed by the number of unlicensed shops.  Continue reading

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has rattled the cannabis industry after saying he anticipates the Department of Justice to ramp up enforcement of federal statutes that outlaw recreational marijuana – even in states where it is legal, including California. whitehouse

A total of eight states plus the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of marijuana among adults. What this means is currently 1 in 5 Americans adults can lawfully smoke, drink, eat or vape cannabis under state laws. More than half the population lives in a state where the drug is legal for medicinal purposes. This has given rise to a $6 billion industry that is projected to grow to $50 billion by 2026. But all of that could be in jeopardy.

Many in the marijuana industry have expressed surprise at this about-face, especially given that the Trump administration has seemingly prioritized states’ rights on a myriad of other issues, from education to use of bathrooms by people who are transgender. The statement by Spicer was also surprising given the fact that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a major proponent of states’ rights. However, Sessions has also for many years vehemently opposed cannabis use. During his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions refused to say he wouldn’t enforce federal law on the issue, and further indicated that if Congressional leaders believed the drug should no longer be illegal, they should pass a law.  Continue reading

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