Articles Posted in California Marijuana Dispensaries

cannabis defense lawyersEver since cannabis was legalized in California in January 2018, a flood of marijuana businesses have opened, hoping to take their share of the pot market. But it’s no secret that many industry stakeholders are unhappy with the current state of affairs.

Today there are 182 licensed marijuana dispensaries operating throughout Los Angeles, and many of those business have paid well into the tens of thousands of dollars to operate legally. First by registering their companies and covering licensing fees, then paying city taxes and continually meeting strict safety standards imposed by the state.

Meanwhile, there are countless other outfits operating slightly more under the radar. They are able to skip paying licensing fees and, as predominantly cash run businesses, also avoid paying taxes. To the frustration of legal business owners, rouge pot shops attract a slew of customers with undercut pot prices, prices that legal outfits have a hard time matching given their higher operating costs.

While regulation of cannabis use and sale continues to undergo assessment and tweaking in the state of California, many licensed cannabis business owners have reached boiling point. The biggest reason, illegal pot shops continuing to operate comfortably, with little pressure from state authorities requiring them to toe the line.
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marijuana dispensariesCalifornia has kicked off a multi-lingual public awareness campaign, urging cannabis users throughout the state to ensure they’re purchasing from legal dispensaries.

Amid growing calls from licensed cannabis dispensaries, The California Bureau of Cannabis Control’s “Get#weedwise” program aims to educate consumers on the risks they face when buying from unlicensed retailers. It also advises that safest pot purchases are made with licensed dispensaries and warns illegal business operators of consequences they can expect if they continue to trade without a license.
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The first step in any successful marijuana business plan is knowing your audience. For marijuana entrepreneurs, that means paying careful attention to the fact that not only are one-third of U.S. adults over 21 interested in trying legal cannabis, but also understanding why.medical marijuana attorney

The answer may surprise some folks: It’s not to get high, but for medicinal reasons.

Studying Cannabis Consumer Motivation

A recent survey conducted by market analysts at Nielsen reveals those interested in trying cannabis wanted to do so for wellness-related reasons, often for treatment of pain. The breakdown for motivation is as follows:

  • To ease chronic pain (migraines, arthritis, neck & back pain, menstrual cramps) – 85 percent
  • Improve mental health state – 82 percent
  • Treatment of minor injuries – 82 percent
  • Use as a sleep aid – 77 percent
  • Relaxation – 74 percent

Treatment of a non-pain-related medical condition or disease, overall improvement of public health and enjoyment with family and and friends were other reasons noted. Continue reading

Both medical and recreational marijuana are now legal in California. And yet for about 40 percent of the state, itrecreational marijuana would be difficult to tell. Thanks to some data analysis compiled by The Sacramento Bee, we can clearly see how local regulations have shaped the pot landscape in the state as a whole and how it is affecting people who live in more remote areas of California.

The report defined some regions of California as being “pot deserts” – areas where residents have to travel 60 miles or more to access legal marijuana at a licensed dispensary. An additional 29 percent have to drive 30 to 60 miles to the closest location. This disparity in cannabis access stems from the clause in Proposition 64 that allows local governments to establish their own set of recreational marijuana regulations or to ban sales altogether. While a majority of residents in the state clearly favor adult-use marijuana based on the 2016 vote, there is seemingly a desire among many districts to leave the actual growing, producing, and selling of the drug to other cities … cities far away from their own. Continue reading

Attorneys at Cannabis Law Group are committed to helping marijuana dispensaries achieve medical marijuana dispensary compliance with state and local regulations. We are experienced in civil and criminal cannabis-related cases and fight hard for the rights of our clients. We support the continued expansion of marijuana legalization and hope to see a day soon when businesses are free to operate on a national scale.

Too often, we see hard-working cannabis business owners who may be niave or unclear about the state and local regulations and their obligations. In a recent case in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, a former Congressional aid was recently convicted of taking advantage of a dispensary owner.

Recently Michael Kimbrew, a former Congressional aide, was found guilty of attempted extortion and bribery. He was convicted of taking a $5,000 bribe, which he allegedly elicited from a pot shop that at the time was operating illegally, according to the Associated Press. Prosecutors allege he approached the Compton dispensary in 2015, when it was still illegal to operate such a business in the city. He then allegedly told the owners they would be shut down unless they could work out a deal with him. That deal reportedly included a $5,000 payment to Kimbrew, even though he did not have the connections to get them proper medical marijuana permits that he allegedly claimed he did.

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Recently, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era Department of Justice Directive that essentially urged federal prosecutors tomedical marijuana ignore marijuana crimes so along as alleged violators were in compliance with state laws. This step gave states the space to figure out how they wanted to handle recreational and/or medical cannabis laws without interference from the federal government.

Sessions, however, has made it clear he intends to revive marijuana prosecutions based on the drug’s current Schedule I controlled substance designation under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. By rescinding the 2013 order, Sessions has given federal officials the freedom to pursue charges against anyone for these violations – even if they follow state and local laws to the letter. Our marijuana attorneys in L.A. encourage all cannabis business owners in California to seek prompt legal counsel to best protect themselves and their livelihood.

Some don’t see this as an immediate threat, citing the lack of resources to go after so many operations. They also point to a lack of support among citizens to pursue such charges, meaning juries will be more reticent to convict. Others are less optimistic. Continue reading

Thanks to Prop. 64, the state of California is considering applications for licenses forLos Angeles Recreational Marijuana Business Lawyers recreational marijuana businesses beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

Authority rests with local governments to decide whether to allow recreational marijuana sales to go into effect in their area, giving them power to either issue bans or develop policies for businesses to operate.

The Long Beach City Council is the latest to join the movement. The council recently voted to move ahead with developing policies for recreational marijuana businesses to operate in Long Beach.  Continue reading

The owners of a marijuana dispensary in Colorado are challenging a provision of U.S. Tax Code that the Internal Revenue Service has interpreted to mean state-legal marijuana businesses should not be allowed to take deductions or claim credits.

marijuana tax lawyer

The couple asserts in a brief filed in U.S. Tax Court that the IRS’ determination of their taxes owed for 2010 through 2012 were unjust, and that they were unfairly taxed compared to other business owners. A marijuana attorney representing the pair characterized the specific section of the code as “absurd.”

Section 280E, deals with expenditures in connection with illegal sale of drugs. As noted in a 2015 internal memo within the IRS, although a marijuana business is illegal under federal law, it remains obligated to pay federal income tax because Section 61(a) doesn’t differentiate between income derived from legal sources and those derived from illegal sources (See the 1961 case of James v. U.S.).  Continue reading

With wildfires tearing across California, many homes are being destroyed, as are other businesses including medical marijuana farms, and unlike other businesses, these farmers cannot have insurance policies on their grow operations because federal law prohibits insurance carriers from writing such policies.marijuana attorney

According to a recent news article from the Cannabist, a company that runs a major online crowdsource, has just pulled the plug on a campaign hosted on their platform to raise money for  the farmers who lost a great deal to the massive wildfires in Northern California. There were already many donations on the site that totaled over $13,000 before the campaign was terminated. Continue reading

Despite the fact that medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, many dispensaries are still operating without being in compliance with state, city, and other local regulations. Now, a targeted crackdown by San Diego law enforcement agencies is working to shut down marijuana dispensaries operating illegally.cannabis criminal defense lawyers

The San Diego Crackdown

KPBS reports that San Diego law enforcement and prosecutors began targeting illegally-operated dispensaries in March 2017. More than sixty dispensaries have been shut down in this time. The San Diego Police Department also reports that dozens of property owners and operators have been fined, charged criminally, and prosecuted for operating medical marijuana businesses without a license. All employees of the business – not just owners – are subject to prosecution. In August 2017, the Police Department warned that even delivery drivers could face criminal charges.

Two of the most recent raids indicate a shift in San Diego law enforcement policy. Prior to these operations, the San Diego PD had mostly avoided delivery services, focusing instead on dispensaries with physical retail locations. On August 2, 2017 two delivery services were raided. This may signal a shift toward prosecutions of delivery services which operate illegally. Continue reading