Articles Posted in Los Angeles Marijuana Dispensaries

Bong manufacturing has come a long way from the days of the homemade versions, usually involving a used, two-liter bottle. There were always companies that produced higher-end pipes and bongs, but it was always something of an underground scene and very much a niche market. bong

Today, people purchase certain pipes to impress. Although technically both marijuana and the tools used to smoke are outlawed by federal statute, there are still companies carving out a market for themselves. In fact, they can be much sought-after status symbols, with the higher-end models selling for anywhere from $1,000 all the way up to $4,000. Some are even diamond-studded, and certain brands pride themselves on being top-of-the-line.

Despite the illegality under federal law, one manufacturer is availing itself of the remedy of federal court, where it has filed a complaint to protect both its brand and its sales from alleged counterfeit bong makers.  Continue reading

California was the first state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana as medicine, and currently has the largest legal market for marijuana in the nation. However, it does not yet have a system in place for the government to track the drug. This is standard protocol for other types of pharmaceuticals and other states with legal marijuana have adopted similar protocols. computer

For example, in Colorado, there is a system in place called the Radio-Frequency Identification, which uses microchips to follow plants from the time they are grown to the dispensary and sale. It is noted whether the plant is processed into an oil or edible or whether it is distributed as medicine. Having this type of a system ensures plants are legally grown and sold according to the law.

Beginning in February, a number of software companies will begin submitting proposals to the state, vying to be chosen as the company tapped to track California marijuana.  Continue reading

Part of legitimizing the marijuana industry in California involves making sure the storefront operations are inviting, secure and professional. That’s why, as The Los Angeles Times recently reported, an increasing number of marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles are modeling their operations after one of California’s most successful companies: Apple.customerservice

One example noted was in Santa Monica, where salespeople don bright red t-shirts and cheerfully greet patrons. The merchandise is lined up carefully on chic wooden tables adorned by iPads. The reporter couldn’t help but draw parallels to the successful technology firm. But the gadgets laid out for display weren’t iPods – they were vape pens, for consumption of marijuana and derivatives.

This is a stark departure from the days of burglar bars and bullet-proof glass. Some are calling it a “makeover,” but it’s part of a strategic plan by marijuana dispensaries in California to establish some legitimacy in the market. This mirrors the advancing power and presence of the industry on the national stage. Continue reading

Some locations call them, “budtenders.” Others refer to them as “patient liaisons” or “compassion care technicians” or “dispensary agents.” Although there is no single formal title or degree, these individuals are responsible for working behind the counters of California’s marijuana dispensaries. class

Our L.A. marijuana dispensary attorneys are often asked about the required training for those in these roles. Although there is no legal requirement or state-approved course that budtenders have to pass, it can be a smart move for a business to seek advanced education for their dispensary workers. A new study published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research revealed 55 percent of dispensary staff (medical and non-medical) had some type of formal training for their position. Twenty percent had some form of medical or scientific training. Meanwhile, approximately 94 percent reported they provide specific cannabis advice to patients. Many of these patients are seeking advice on specific strains that can help them with a variety of ailments, form post-traumatic stress disorder to chronic pain to seizures. It helps if the staff knows what they are selling, not just from a customer service standpoint but potentially from a liability standpoint.

California was the first state to allow medicinal marijuana and recently joined a growing number of states that now allow recreational marijuana (though detailed regulations are still being ironed out). On Jan. 1st, 2018, a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown will go into effect that has a number of requirements that could make training even more valuable. Among those requirements include tracing requirements, record-keeping, streamlined systems for transportation, quality assurance testing standards and robust labeling/ packaging/ product handling and security.  Continue reading

California voters in November approved Prop. 64, which effectively legalized marijuana for recreational users and also issued some guidelines for how cultivation and sales should be regulated. But there are a lot of questions floating around in the interim. marijuana buds

Some of the questions being raised include:

  • Where can I buy recreational marijuana?
  • Where can I smoke it?
  • Are there going to be tougher penalties for driving while stoned, especially now that it’s become more common?
  • Can those serving jail or prison time for marijuana-related crimes seek commutation?

Marijuana businesses, cultivation farms, dispensaries, landlords, doctors and collectives would do well to consult with an experienced marijuana lawyer when formulating a business plan. Those who are facing criminal penalties should do the same, as well as those who are serving time and weighing the possibility of an appeal or request to have their sentences commuted.  Continue reading

President-Elect Donald J. Trump has now appointed two individuals to his cabinet who are decidedly against the legalization of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes.marijuana

First up is Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s pick for attorney general. Sessions has a strong record of opposing marijuana reform, saying just this past April during a legislative hearing that, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” He added that Washington needed “grown-ups in charge,” who would be willing to assert that marijuana is “not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.”

Then, Trump appointed Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to the post of Secretary of Health and Human Services. A consistently anti-marijuana politician, his position could afford him even greater control over whether the drug is available for medical purposes.  Continue reading

Regardless of what the marijuana laws are in individual states, those who cultivate, process, store, package and distribute marijuana remain at risk for criminal penalties and civil forfeiture so long as federal statutes outlaw the drug. police

Case-in-point: In January, officials with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, alongside police officers from the San Diego Police Department, raided Med-West Distribution. This was a legal medical marijuana business that carved its niche refining cannabis oil for use in vaporizer pen devices. Officers decked out in helmets, tactical vests and heavily armed barged in, pointed guns at workers, handcuffed those inside and scoured the property for valuables. They seized a safe with $325,000 in cash. Officers high-fived one another as they left. Subsequent to that, in June, local police served to seizure warrants on the business’s cash as well as on the owner’s own family. The department pilfered nearly $100,000 from the family’s personal savings and checking accounts – funds that are totally unrelated to Med-West. Their two teen daughters lost their entire college savings – about $11,300.

The owner today says he is baffled. He was operating a marijuana business legally in compliance with state laws and local regulations. Neither the owner nor his wife has been charged with any crime. None of his employees, several of whom were arrested, were indicted in connection with that raid. And yet, the police department has refused the family’s repeated requests to return their money. Further, prosecutors have yet – more than 10 months after the fact – to file a civil forfeiture action against their bank accounts.  Continue reading

We know that statewide medical marijuana legalization has been associated with numerous positive health outcomes. One of those was recently detailed in a new study just published by the Bureau of Economic Research.marijuana

The results, which stem from two decades of data, show in states where medical marijuana is legal and readily available, Americans over 50 have greater workforce participation. Is this link causative? The study participants offered compelling evidence to suggest just that.

Researchers with Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (Baltimore) and Temple University (Maryland) found that the health improvements experienced by both older men and women revealed increased participation in the labor market. In states with pro-marijuana laws there was a 9.4 percent increase in the probability of employment for Americans over the age of 50. There was also an increase in hours worked – 4.6 to 4.9 percent – in the number of weekly hours worked.  Continue reading

A lack of diversity in medical marijuana licensing has raised concerns in Maryland, specifically by a number of black state lawmakers – most recently including Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D).marijuana1

Simultaneously, the Washington Post reports that there have been calls by the head of the legislative black caucus to prohibit elected officials from participating in the industry. Officials who backed the measure are questioning a fellow politician who also supported the legislation – and then later was welcomed aboard a company seeking a license to cultivate and distribute the drug. Del. Cheryl Glenn says the failure of Del. Dan Morhaim to make his dual roles clear. Both Glenn and Morhaim are Democrats from Baltimore.

These issues combined have proven impediments in a legalization process that has been marked with numerous missteps and delays since Maryland voters approved medical marijuana three years ago. Now, the state is clearing 15 companies for cultivation of the drug and another 15 companies for marijuana processing. None of those 30 companies are owned or operated by an African American – despite the fact that one-third of the population in Maryland is black.  Continue reading

Intellectual property protections – like trademarks or innovations on creative marketing – is one of the many federal benefits afforded to legitimate businesses. Unfortunately, L.A. marijuana dispensaries have long been shut out from these sort of protections precisely because they haven’t been treated as if their operation is in fact legitimate. worldwidebrand

Thankfully, that is starting to change as states pass reforms that bolster the position of marijuana dispensaries – medicinal and recreational – in our communities.

The effect that is having on the marijuana industry is being explored in the Winter 2016 issue of the Washington and Lee Law Review. The study, “Trademark Laundering, Useless Patents and Other IP Challenges for the Marijuana Industry,” delves into some of the intellectual property challenges the marijuana industry faces and how the industry is tackling those issues today. Because cannabis remains a Schedule I narcotic under federal law, despite progressive state-level reforms, those who grow and sell the drug or its derivatives have found themselves unable to secure banking services, saddled with onerous tax burdens, unable to count on the enforcement of contracts they sign and trouble finding good marijuana lawyers who are willing to take on the complex and ever-changing regulatory landscape. In all of this, intellectual property protection has been largely put on the back burner. Continue reading