Articles Posted in Los Angeles Marijuana Dispensaries

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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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

Much ire has been expressed by licensed California cannabis cultivators and dispensaries at the unfair black market competition by those who don’t pay state fees and taxes and whose product isn’t thoroughly vetted. Orange County marijuana lawyers understand the glut of illegal marijuana has undermined the roll-out of recreational marijuana in communities from Los Angeles to San Francisco.California marijuana farming attorney

Similar problems have been reported not just here but in other liberalized state marijuana statutes appear to have had little impact on black market sales. So far, 10 states including California have legalized marijuana for recreational sales.

Not so in Oregon and Washington, a new study suggests, indicating that the way states have written their recreational marijuana laws may play a big role. Since Washington and Oregon legalized recreational marijuana (in 2012 and 2014, respectively) there has actually been a decline in the wealth of marijuana farms throughout the state’s national forests, resulting in reduced adverse ecological impact.

European scholars in an analysis published recently in the journal Ecological Economics, identified a number of health and economic upsides to Oregon and Washington marijuana policy, something California legislators may want to note. Continue reading

In California, vaping or smoking marijuana in public is not lawful. You’d be forgiven, however, if you didn’t realize that walking on any random strip in Southern California. Lighting up almost everywhere has become practically ubiquitous. Homeowners, renters and businesses have had their share of complaints. Some businesses have even posted explicit signage making it clear: No smoking allowed. Nonetheless, the smell wafts on near every corner. marijuana lawyer

Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know there has been an uptick among local law enforcement citations for smoking in public areas, particularly those nearby to schools, parks, restaurants, shops and in cars or boats. (No, you cannot light up in a car, even if you’re a passenger.) Police say many individuals aren’t familiar with this provision of the law, and even visitors who have come to the state on vacation end up leaving – well, not on probation, but with wallets $100 lighter. That’s the fine for public marijuana smoking in California.

Common areas in apartments and even balconies are forbidden spots for outdoor pot smoking, though that usually goes unchecked unless your neighbors complain. This restriction has become particularly burdensome for those who use the drug as medicine.  Continue reading

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