Articles Posted in Los Angeles Marijuana Dispensaries

As marijuana legalization continues throughout North America, there is still significant public and private interest resistance to its proliferation. One of the legal ground on which these cases have been tested throughout the country is a federal law known as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970, also known as RICO. As our Los Angeles marijuana defense lawyers can explain, this was a law intended to battle organized crime and the mafia. However, it’s been used in several recent federal cases to intervene with legal marijuana businesses and users – one of the most recent in Petaluma, California, marking what is believed to be the first time this legal argument has been used against marijuana businesses in the state. marijuana RICO attorney

But in that case, as in many of the cannabis company RICO civil lawsuits pursued nationally, a federal judge has ruled against the plaintiffs.

According to The Argus Courier, a U.S. District Judge held that neighbors of a cannabis company and its lead grower can’t be sued under RICO anti-corruption laws because nuisances related to noise and bad smells don’t cause the same kind of tangible financial losses intended to be addressed under RICO. Continue reading

Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know the California Cannabis Equity Act of 2018 as an act of penance. It would never make up for the upended lives or communities torn asunder in a decades-long government failure that was the “War on Drugs.” It was an effort that cost untold billions, frequently sparked caustic tensions between police and the people and targeted mostly those in poor minority communities. But the programs meant to give a leg up to those unfairly affected appears to have hit many stalls and snags. Some wonder if that wasn’t intentional, given that the program has been controversial in some circles.Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

When California voters legalized recreational marijuana for adults in 2016, suddenly there were people getting rich doing the same thing that led to arrests, prosecution and harsh minimum mandatory prison term for tens of thousands. Even after their release from incarceration, the government’s civil seizure of  all assets even tenuously connected to drugs, plus the stigma of a permanent “felon” label blocked access to student loans (sometimes any loans),  job opportunities and housing options.  The racial disparity of the impact stunning. The ACLU reporting blacks were arrested at a rate of four-fold higher than whites, despite basically the same usage rates. It was way worse in some communities, like Oakland, where black residents accounted for 27 percent of the population but 77 percent of those arrested for marijuana.

The concept of “cannabis equity” is that those hit much harder by harsher marijuana laws should now be extended lower entry barriers into the legal California cannabis market. California earned a fair amount of applause for the initiative, one no other legal marijuana state has launched. Funded by $10 million in loans, grants and support services, there are currently just four local branches operating  – Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco. But some report it’s not going so smoothly. As reported by Pew Charitable Trusts, a number of local equity offices (funded by the state’s Department of Cannabis Control and Regulation) have had trouble with launch – potentially delivering yet another blow to applicants, giving other non-equity program cannabis companies a head start into those markets. Continue reading

At this point, almost all midterm election results are in (Florida, we’re looking at you…). One of the most noteworthy outcomes for our Los Angeles cannabis attorneys is that voters in three out of four states where marijuana was on the ballot chose to loosen restrictions. Voters in Utah and Missouri chose to allow sick people the right to access medical marijuana. Michigan, which already allowed medicinal marijuana, joined nine other states (though becoming the first in the Midwest) to fully legalize recreational cannabis. The only state that voted a firm “no” was North Dakota, wherein a recreational marijuana ballot measure was on the table. marijuana business attorney

Prior to this vote, 22 states in the U.S. allowed medicinal marijuana, following California’s 1996 lead to allow patients access to the drug for easing the symptoms of serious illnesses. Increasingly, the drug is being used as a safer, more effective alternative to the extremely addictive and deadly opioids traditionally prescribed for pain (far riskier than pot, despite having a lower scheduled designation under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act).

This rapidly evolving cannabis landscape makes it all the more critical for users, distributors, producers, farmers, ancillary companies, drivers and travelers to consult an experienced Los Angeles cannabis attorney when a legal question crops up.  Continue reading

The favored recreational indulgence appears to be shifting – from alcohol to marijuana. This is noteworthy because the shift is likely ultimately to be the nail in the coffin for federal marijuana prohibition. The fervent support of the younger generation for the plant – in addition to a growing number of baby boomers relying on its medicinal properties – could mean that day will happen sooner than later.cannabis lawyer

As our marijuana lawyers in Los Angeles see it, cannabis prohibition is a pit from which the federal government will need to dig itself out.

Now, a new survey released from The Tylt (the largest and fastest-growing social polling and opinion platform among the youngest adult cohort), indicates it is likely to be increasingly difficult to hold off on the move for too much longer. Specifically, roughly 85 percent back legalized marijuana, and no longer buy into the lie that total prohibition is necessary to keep America’s youth safe. Most said the “War on Drugs” is a failed one and the “War Against Weed” is one that needs a complete overhaul.  Continue reading

A major part of the work our legal team is involved with includes helping marijuana businesses establish themselvescannabis business while remaining in compliance with local and state regulations and laws. What happens, though, when a company is found to be in violation of one of those rules? Many businesses are beginning to find out as authorities ramp up efforts to wrangle illegal, unlicensed, and non-compliant marijuana operations in California. Recently more than 500 people were charged with misdemeanors in Los Angeles for their participation in illegal activity at 105 marijuana businesses in the city.

Those charged could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 in fines for operating marijuana businesses without a license. The crackdown included not only dispensaries, but also extraction labs, cultivation sites, and delivery services, according to Los Angeles Times. Judges have been hearing cases associated with this series of investigations since May, and arraignments will carry into the end of October. So far, 21 have pleaded no contest or guilty and 11 have been dismissed. Other violations included not following security locations or not following rules regarding the business’s location, such as being too close to a school. With the proper future licensing and guidance, some of these businesses could still have a future, but major infractions like location will mean some will have to practically start over from scratch if they hope to continue in the industry.
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Economics 101 teaches us about supply and demand, but you don’t need a business degree to see that the supply ofmarijuana business lawyers recreational marijuana retailers is way lower than the demand in California. For every 100,000 residents, there is less than one store available that sells adult-use product, according to recent data released by Marijuana Business Daily. Furthermore, most of those stores are crammed into a few select areas, due to the fact that Prop 64 allows local governments to opt out of allowing sales or cultivation, though they are not allowed to ban personal use. To be more precise, there are 482 cities in California, and to date, only 70 of those cities allow retailers to sell recreational marijuana.

Comparatively speaking, this puts California not only behind its own estimates for store fronts and sales figures, but also behind its peers. It’s been nine months since recreational marijuana sales began in the state. At the nine-month mark in Colorado, the state had awarded 242 licenses. Considering the state has a smaller population than California, this put the total at 4.3 stores per 100,000 residents. Now, Colorado has 10 times the amount of stores per capita, while Oregon currently has 15 times more recreational marijuana stores per person. Continue reading

Long Beach will soon be the next city in Los Angeles County to embrace recreational marijuana business planmarijuana after its city council voted overwhelmingly to regulate industry operations. The council passed a series of amendments that will set guidelines for cultivators, testing labs, distributors, and dispensaries in the city, according to an article from Press-Telegram. The 7-1 vote reflected a strong support from council, with the support of the mayor as well as the residents who voted for Proposition 64 in November 2016.

City staffers estimate the move could bring in about $750,000 in taxes from recreational sales next year and a whopping $4.5 million from medical marijuana taxes. City officials also hope to stimulate the economy with a clause that requires collective-bargaining agreements with United Food and Commercial Workers 324, the union that represents cannabis workers, raising the bar on the quality of jobs provided by local establishments. Continue reading

It’s time for California to take a serious look at taxes that state and local governments are imposing on cannabis cannabis business lawyersbusiness owners. Some legislators agree, but others think the higher taxes should stand, at least for a while longer. For now, the current tax rate will remain, as an assembly bill addressing cannabis taxation failed to advance out of committee, according to an Associated Press report.

AB-3157 seeks to amend The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which currently sets the excise tax rate at 15 percent of the average market price. The new proposal would drop the excise tax rate to 11 percent and suspend the cultivation tax, with each expiring June 21, 2021. Right now, when excise and cultivation taxes are combined with sales tax, county, and city taxes the total tax rate can be almost 50 percent. Some fear this high of a tax rate is driving people to purchase marijuana on the black market, instead. There is some compelling evidence to back that claim. Continue reading

Marijuana laws in Ohio have experienced a bit of a failure to launch. In 2015 a legalization ballot measure was votedmarijuana regulations down, largely due to a scare campaign that positioned the 10 pre-designated cultivators as a monopoly.  In 2016, HB-523 was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich that set up a process for medical marijuana in the state. Since then, however, the initial phase has been a lumbering one. Advocates remain optimistic, though, pushing now for a state constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana.

On the medical front, Ohio’s program is under scrutiny in court, as a judge in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas is determining whether or not to delay licensing for cultivators, and potentially the launch of the program. According to Cleveland.com, one grower applied for a license and sued the Ohio Department of Commerce after it was denied, claiming there was no appeals process as promised. Reported errors in the scoring of applicants and complaints about officials not following their own rules in the selection process have led to other lawsuits. With only 12 initial promised licenses for large-scale cultivators, the spots are highly coveted. Continue reading

Spice, K2, synthetic marijuana: whatever you call it, we know these alleged cannabis knockoffs have about as muchcannabis business in common with the natural drug as a circle to a square. Lawmakers have long been chasing down these dangerous substances, to no avail. But the Illinois State Senate is taking steps to close loopholes that manufacturers have been manipulating once and for all, according to Chicago Tribune.

SB-2341 would expand the list of Schedule I controlled substances to include all synthetic cannabinoids not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is a departure from current methods to control the substance, which has largely involved outlawing by formula. As our cannabis business attorneys can attest, this has so far been a fruitless system of control because each time a formula or chemical is outlawed, manufacturers alter it enough that it qualifies as a new substance. Just like that, a new synthetic cannabinoid is back on the market, but not necessarily any safer. The new law, if passed, would put the onus of proof on the manufacturer that a synthetic cannabinoid is safe rather than government officials proving the substances to be dangerous after they have already hit the market.  Continue reading