Articles Posted in Los Angeles Marijuana Dispensaries

The illicit marijuana market is the bane of every legal operator’s existence. Illegal dispensaries outnumber lawful ones 3-1 throughout California, and state officials have committed themselves to cracking down hard on unlicensed operators. But what happens when its faith – not funding – that drives these operations? Los Angeles cannabis church lawyer

The idea of cannabis as a religious sacrament isn’t new. Numerous religions – historically and presently – have used cannabis as an entheogen to induce a spiritual experience. Courts, however, haven’t always been so kind.

Last year in Indiana, for example, a judge ruled that a local First Church of Cannabis would not be legally allowed to use marijuana as a religious sacrament, finding it would be impossible to battle illicit drug trade “while allowing a religious exception that would be ripe for abuse.”

But in Indiana, unlike in California, possession of non-medicinal marijuana is still illegal. But as our Los Angeles cannabis church lawyers know, that doesn’t mean cannabis churches here are exactly safe – especially if they’re operating without licensed approval from the state. Continue reading

cannabis lawyerA California-developed online tool, called ‘Clear My Record,’ which helps people with eligible convictions clear their criminal records, is set to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans previously convicted of marijuana related crimes.

In 2016 when Californian voters legalized marijuana, state officials hoped to reverse decades of marijuana convictions. Especially convictions making it difficult for people to secure substantial employment. And particularly because those affected most disproportionately by marijuana criminal convictions hail from low-income minority groups.

Now, thanks to a new technology, California prosecutors can quickly overturn or lessen approximately 220,000 old marijuana convictions.
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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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California marijuana farmers are facing a crisis. Currently, all 9,464 state issued temporary cannabis cultivation licenses, have expired. Meant to be replacing those, for businesses continuing to meet the required regulations, are either provisional or permanent annual cannabis business licenses.

The catch though, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is yet to show its ability to approve those provisional or permanent licenses, at the same pace applications are being lodged.

California Cannabis License Attorney

The backlog on approvals may be due to the complexity of the licensing application process itself. Tellingly, by mid July 2019, only 2,053 provisional licenses and 230 permanent licenses had been granted. As it stands, when applying for prospective licenses, cannabis farmers are expected to demonstrate compliance with the stringent California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), as well as submit:

  • Background checks;
  • Surety bonds;
  • Real property documents;
  • Detailed site plans;
  • Farm management practices;
  • Waste management protocols;
  • Security procedures; and
  • Pesticide measures.

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As the black market for pot sales shows little sign of slowing, Californian authorities have notably increased enforcement action against illegal cannabis traders. Over the last 12 months, raids by law enforcement on black market pot businesses have increased threefold, when compared with similar activity conducted in the year prior. As a result, unlicensed pot growers and sellers have seen a total of $30 million worth of cannabis products seized. But even amid this additional ramp up, cannabis industry insiders say even more activity is needed to curb illegal pot sales across the Golden State.

For context, in 2018 local law enforcement worked in conjunction with the state Bureau of Cannabis Control, and together they served six unlicensed cannabis businesses with search warrants. These raids resulted in the seizure of more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana, said to carry a street value of $13.5 million.

Calilfornia Cannabis Business Licensing Lawyers

Comparatively, according to data release in July, within the first half of 2019 alone, the bureau had already served 19 search warrants to unlicensed sellers. Those raids were successful, and saw more than $16.5 million worth, or about 2,500 pounds of illicit marijuana, confiscated. Just shy of $220,000 cash was also seized from cannabis businesses operating illegally during this time.

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California cannabidiol (CBD) products are on the map, and investors are taking notice. But given that CBD-infused products are still relatively new to market, regulators continue to closely review the category. For this reason, acquisition strategies may be a ways off yet, but industry insiders predict consumer companies will see high minority investment interest in the short term.

CBD is naturally found in cannabis plants, and is widely known for its relaxing properties. But CBD won’t produce a ‘high,’ as it lacks the psychoactive tetrohydrocanabidiol (THC), found in marijuana.  CBD-derived products have quickly grown in popularity, thanks largely to a wide range of potential health benefits, including relieving pain, anxiety, seizures and brain injuries.

California Cannabis Investors

According to Michael Lux, partner at Crowe accounting firm, the next 6-12 months will involve strategic minority investments in the CBD space. He noted too that while the majority of CBD companies are of interest to investors, they are still less than five years old, so they’d likely need a little more time before preparing to engage in full exit strategies.

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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 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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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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The announcement that one of California’s largest licensed marijuana dispensaries, Harborside in Oakland, would be the 66th U.S. cannabis venture added to the Canadian stock market, questions have arisen about the legal risk of investing in such stock. Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

Elbowing one’s way into Canadian stock market investments isn’t always a simple task for outsiders, with a fair number of U.S. brokers disallowing international stock trades. Canadian stocks are increasingly an exception to the rule, but it’s likely to be more expensive, and of course, the cannabis market is still burgeoning and volatile, particularly while there are so many conflicting local, state, federal and international rules and regulations.

As far as the marijuana industry goes, investing in public stock of cannabis companies is perhaps at this point one of the least-risky options, as you have no direct involvement in the daily cultivation, production, testing or sales of the products.

There are currently more than 300 publicly-traded marijuana stocks and funds on the U.S. trade markets, and a growing number globally. These can be lucrative for investors willing to take the risk. However, it can also be costly if you aren’t careful/consider the fine print. Continue reading

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