Articles Posted in California marijuana legalization

In January, the state of California kicked off an online rollout of its marijuana inventory tracking system. At a glance, marijuana businesses across the Golden State appear to be successfully reporting product inventory each day, via the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace (CCTT) system. But not without some growing pains.

To start, the idea of tracking marijuana traveling throughout the supply chain sounds simple enough. In theory, all cannabis products would be given unique identification numbers, noting from which ‘batch’ or ‘lot’ they were born. Products would then be sent to labs for testing. Next, approved products would be passed from producer to distributor, and finally to retailers for sale. At each step, the state should be able to track each piece of marijuana as it moves through the chain, making sure nothing is being redirected out of state, and ensuring everybody is paying their required taxes.

California Cannabis Lawyers

But in practice, a few hiccups quickly come to light. First up, only businesses holding ‘provisional’ or ‘annual’ licenses are required to subscribe to the track-and-trace system. And until last month, there were more than 600 marijuana businesses operating on ‘temporary licenses,’ who would not have had to track-and-trace. This means, there was no way regulators could comprehensively account for every legal product moving about the state.

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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 businessMarijuana supporters in California rejoiced late last month as legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives could afford the industry more freedom to grow. Currently, the recreational use and sale of marijuana is legal in California, along with 10 other states, and Washington D.C. But federal law continues to classify cannabis as a Schedule 1 narcotic. While it is yet to happen, this makes folks in the cannabis industry weary, as the door remains open for the federal government to prosecute against cannabis related businesses, even in states that have legalized marijuana.

The Blumenauer-McClintock Amendment
The lauded legislation, known as the Blumenauer-McClintock amendment, would prohibit the Department of Justice from using federal funds to interfere with California state laws, or the laws in any state or district, legally permitting the regulated adult-use of cannabis.

Supporters for marijuana law reform are praising the legislation. Justin Strekal, Political Director for pro-marijuana organization, NORML, called it “the most significant vote on marijuana reform policy that the House of Representatives has ever taken.” That’s because the cannabis industry would certainly welcome extended protections within states that already permit the legal use and sale of marijuana.
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As many as 50,000 Los Angeles marijuana-related convictions are to be dismissed or reduced, the L.A. District Attorney said, noting completion will not only align with California’s 2020 deadline for prosecutorial review of expungement for pot crimes – it will beat it by nearly 9 months. Los Angeles marijuana expungement attorneys understand this was made possible with the aid of a nonprofit called Code for America, which developed a digital algorithm that allowed prosecutors to more quickly identify eligible candidates. Los Angeles marijuana expungement

This same group was reportedly also involved in helping San Francisco expunge more than 9,000 marijuana convictions earlier this year – even though some of those date back to 1975. The Los Angeles D.A. has said she expects the same to be the case here, pointing out that Department of Justice records in cannabis cases go back more than seven decades.

Los Angeles marijuana expungement attorneys know the chances of someone with a 1940s cannabis conviction is both alive and has any real interest in having their name cleared, is unlikely. The D.A.’s office has said they aren’t necessarily starting with the oldest cases first, and will instead be prioritizing those individuals who are looking for:

  • Housing
  • Employment
  • A fresh start

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More than two dozen cities that restrict legal cannabis sales are suing California over the issue of legal pot delivery. Los Angeles marijuana delivery business attorneys are paying close attention to this litigation, wherein plaintiff cities argue that by allowing home deliveries in cities where it is restricted, the state is breaking key provisions of Prop. 64, the legislation that opened the door to legalized recreational marijuana in California.Los Angeles marijuana delivery attorney blog

The California Bureau of Cannabis Control and its chief are named defendants in the case, which was filed in the Fresno County Superior Court. The dispute over marijuana deliveries comes shortly after the regulation adopted by state bureau earlier this year, holding that businesses licensed by the state have permission to deliver marijuana – even in municipalities that have expressly banned the operation of marijuana retail locations.

Cities Make the Case for Local Authority to Restrict Cannabis Deliveries

Among the most significant concerns cited about a free-for-all on cannabis home delivery:

  • Public safety risks, particularly robbery, given the cash-only model of legal marijuana sales;
  • An influx of illicit marijuana delivery/sales that may be difficult for law enforcement to identify/shut down.

City officials point to the specific provision of Prop. 64 that was woven into the statute with the purpose of appeasing police chiefs and city leaders: That which offers significant local control of California marijuana sales. Plaintiff asserts local control was baked into the ballot proposition with the express intent of allowing local governments to regulate activities related to marijuana sales, and that the state lacks authority to insist on allowing cannabis deliveries against local ordinances because state law guarantees local veto power within those respective jurisdictions. Continue reading

California officials have announced they are bringing in the National Guard to “wage war” on individuals and businesses that are illegally farming, manufacturing and selling marijuana in the state. Citing research that shows the black market’s detrimental effects to the environment, public safety and lawful sales, Gov. Gavin Newsome said a crackdown is imminent.Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer

Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers have been warning of numerous raids and local law enforcement efforts to eradicate unlicensed pot shops and unauthorized farms right here in this city.

By some estimates, California is the origin of some 60 percent of the nation’s illicit marijuana supply.

Marijuana first became legal for recreation among adult users in January 2018. With that, Los Angeles marijuana tourism is taken off, with several ancillary businesses cropping up specifically catering to those who are here for the cannabis. Among the various companies that have entered the fray:

  • Shops
  • Lodging
  • Tours (including bus tours)
  • Marketing

Some tours offer scenic drives, glass-blowing demonstrations, food, a chance to smoke with Tommy Chong and more. marijuana tourism attorney L.A.

Los Angeles marijuana tourism attorneys know that some firms had a bit of a struggle making their way into the fray, given that legal marijuana is approximately 35 percent higher cost than what is available on the black market. Medical card recipients pay a bit less, given that they aren’t subject to the state excise tax. Aside from them, people who come to California specifically for this purpose don’t seem to mind too much paying the extra cost, given that they’ve come for the experience – and to revel in the ability to enjoy their buds without worrying about a bust.

Companies latching themselves to these opportunities have the potential to make decent profits – but only if they can establish themselves in a way that minimizes the risk of their own liability. That includes, firstly, the potential liability that any tour company catering the imbibing crowd might need to consider. Continue reading

A rose by another name might smell as sweet, but turns out the name of your bong does matter, and allegations of brand heisting are turning into a big buzzkill. Companies from California to Florida have found themselves named defendants in trademark lawsuits, filed by a luxury brand German water pipe manufacturer and its licensed U.S. seller. The firms allege that their products – which can go for thousands of dollars – have become verified smoker status symbols, the benchmark for cannabis cool – and that it’s being illegally hawked by head shops across the country. L.A. marijuana trademark lawyers understand that at the the heart of these dozens of claims just in California over the pricey pipes are the ways in which the alleged infringement cost the company sales and and diluted its brand.marijuana trademark attorney

What complicates cases like this is that for now, marijuana remains illegal under federal law – specifically 21 U.S. Code Section 863. The company, which does possess a legitimate trademark, officially refers to its product as a bong, proudly advertises its awards from publications like High Times magazine and is open about its commitment to excellence in cannabis consumer goods and advocating for the expansion of marijuana legalization laws. The reason that  is problematic is that products in violation of federal law cannot seek trademark protection, and many companies are reticent to go into a courtroom and testify that their primary product violates federal statute. However, the firm has managed some success in securing settlements from alleged counterfeit distributors.

Further, a company spokesman was quoted by The Associated Press as saying the firm is willing to go to court to defend these cases, and is seeking millions of dollars in damages.

Most of our California cannabis business clients have some type of intellectual property, most often in the form of a brand name they are seeking to protect and capitalize on. However, as our Los Angeles marijuana intellectual property attorneys can explain, licensing can be complicated because, when it comes to marijuana, of course it is.Los Angeles intellectual property licensing agreement lawyer

Let’s start with the fact that recently, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Department of Health just dropped a heap of proposed regulatory modifications on the industry. (Written comments must be in by Nov. 5 to be considered – which you should definitely do if you have a cannabis intellectual property licensing agreement or manufacturing deal you’d like to keep going because those could be directly affected.)

Specifically, the state’s proposed action would seemingly effectively ban all IP licensee agreements where the licensor (seller) isn’t licensed by the state. That could put a major crimp in existing deals involving:

  • Separate IP-holding companies established by licensed operators to hold and license intellectual property back to the owner;
  • Cannabis companies out-of-state looking to license their existing brand to manufacturers here, but don’t want to directly be involved in the manufacturing process in this state;
  • Third-parties who aren’t licensed by have created some sort of tech to make a certain brand or marijuana product and want to license the rights to that IP to a licensed California marijuana firm.

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The statewide legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use as of January 1st thanks to Prop. 64 wasn’t the end of California’s cannabis conversation. Far from it. Long-time California marijuana lawyers, businesses and policymakers are paying close attention to this November election, particularly in several local conservative strongholds set to decide whether to commercial cannabis should be given the green light to set up shop in their communities. Because while the Control, regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016 gave the statewide blessing, it didn’t automatically open the floodgates. Local counties, cities and towns were given the option whether to allow the cannabis industry to operate inside their own borders.Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer

Many leaders saw the passage of Prop. 64 as a major hurdle clearance to legitimizing a promising, lucrative market. While most have let go of the long-debunked reefer madness hysteria of the past, the stigma still remains for some. As marijuana lawyers, we can’t wholly discount all of their concerns, though most have been met with reasonable regulatory response (though some argue certain restrictions go too far). One of the biggest compromises was to allow local control. California marijuana business lawyers and economic experts mostly concur that communities outright refusing cannabis industry access are likely to be at an economic disadvantage, though the extent isn’t yet clear.

Some examples of the dozens of cities set to weigh the future of local cannabis commerce via ballot measures Nov. 6 are rural areas like El Dorado County east of Sacramento and Hemet, a town in the Inland Empire less than an hour south of Riverside. Most areas where the issue is up for vote are expected to pass it by a wide margin, according to The Mercury News in San Jose, but in the more right-leaning regions, predictions are a toss-up.  Continue reading

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