Articles Posted in Marijuana Lawyer

As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, many cities across California are opening their doors to cannabis businesses. One such city is Lancaster, located in the northernmost part of Los Angeles County. The city has established a regulatory framework for cannabis businesses, providing a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors interested in this burgeoning industry.

Cannabis Licensing in Lancaster, CA

In Lancaster, the city government has established a comprehensive process for obtaining a cannabis business license. This process is designed to ensure that all cannabis businesses operate in compliance with local and state laws, and contribute positively to the community.

When marijuana legalization laws first began to gain traction in the U.S. (California being the first state, of course), there was considerable concern about what this would mean for road safety. After all, there is little question that driving under the influence of marijuana is unsafe. However, analysis of auto insurance premiums in states that adopted legalized medical marijuana seem to indicate a correlation between legal pot and safer roads. Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

As our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers understand it, auto insurance premiums in states that adopted legal medical cannabis fell by an average of $22 annually after legalization. The research was published in the journal Health Economics, which looked at insurance premium information from 2014 to 2019. Authors of the study speculate that it may have something to do with people opting for cannabis over alcohol, thereby reducing instances of drunk driving. It’s not that driving while under the influence of cannabis is any safer, but at least anecdotally, those under the influence of cannabis are less likely to get behind the wheel in the first place, compared to those under the influence of alcohol.

While a reduction of $22 in insurance premiums over the course of a year may not seem all that significant, one must consider that amplified by each individual on the road. And if the reason for the decline is that there is link between legal cannabis and road safety that in turn leads to fewer drunk driving crashes (and associated costs), that starts to look much more significant.

The researchers determined that legalization of medical marijuana collectively results in $1.5 billion in lower auto insurance premiums. If all states were to legalize marijuana, researchers surmise, that could result in an additional $900 million in reduced premiums. The combined total impact of would be $2.4 billion less we’d all be paying for car insurance if medical marijuana was accessible across the U.S.

What’s more, given that the amount we pay for auto insurance is directly tied to how much property is damaged and how severely people are injured in crashes, the lowered premiums are indicative of safer roadways overall when medical marijuana is made legal. Continue reading

Regulators of California’s marijuana industry want to put a stop on so-called “laboratory shopping” by growers and retailers. The practice reportedly involves cannabis companies being drawn to working with testing sites that have a reputation for landing on higher THC concentrations in marijuana products, thus allowing those goods to be sold at a premium.Los Angeles cannabis testing

As our Los Angeles cannabis business lawyers can explain, while the state has clear guidelines in place mandating marijuana products be screened for contaminants and THC content by licensed testing facilities, what is lacking is any sort of uniform methodology to do so. The result of that is that two facilities may be using different processes, ultimately leading to a variation of findings.

Products with a greater THC concentration (which has the greatest potential for intoxication) are going to be in higher demand. The state’s problem is a pattern it has identified of marijuana growers shopping around for labs that employ testing methods that have a greater tendency to indicate a higher THC concentration.

In an effort to drill down on this matter, the state’s Department of Cannabis Control recently initiated the process of rulemaking that would ultimately lead to development of a standard test method that would need to be adopted by all licensed cannabis testing labs. The state agency’s director said this issue comes about partially as a result of regulating an industry that lacks federal recognition, and thus has no standard, validated testing methods. Licensed labs have reportedly issued THC concentration data that may be inconsistent – or possibly even inaccurate – according to the agency. Having a streamlined testing process, the agency said in a press release, will improve testing accuracy, stakeholder confidence, and market integrity.

Public comment on the proposed testing method rules is being accepted through July, with a public hearing scheduled for the first day of August. Continue reading

A California bill that would ban discrimination of employees who use cannabis off-the-clock has passed the State Assembly and is now on its way to the State Senate. employee cannabis discrimination

Assembly Bill No. 2188 calls for revision of the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – specifically the provision that deals with employment antidiscrimination. It would make it unlawful for employers to take adverse employment action against adult applicants or employees based on the individual’s use of cannabis off the jobsite and while not working. Employees who test positive for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their urine, blood, hair, or bodily fluids could not be discriminated against.

However, the law would not allow workers to be impaired by cannabis, use it at work, or violate employer rules in accordance with maintaining a drug-free and alcohol-free workplace, as outlined in California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.45. There would also be an exception for federal contractors, federal funding recipients, federal licensees required to maintain drug-free workplaces, and those who work in the building and construction trades. Any employer required by state or federal law to test employees for controlled substances would also be exempt.

As our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers can explain, if this bill passes, it would be the first California workplace law protecting cannabis users. When voters legalized the use of medicinal marijuana in 1996, there was no baked in provision to protect off-duty, off-premises medical marijuana use. Further, even after recreational marijuana was legalized in the state in 2016, a 2018 California Supreme court ruling in Ross v. RagingWire Telecommunications, Inc. held that a person with disabilities who used medical marijuana was NOT protected under FEHA. AB 2188 would represent a marked shift from that position – and protect not just medical marijuana users, but also those who use recreationally. Continue reading

The cannabis industry’s first anti-trust case to reach trial was decided in favor of pot shop owners who alleged they’d been illegally edged out of the market by a would-be competitor’s unfair business practices. Jurors awarded $5 million (tripled to $15 million under the Cartwright Act) plus attorney’s fees. Los Angeles cannabis business lawyer

In Richmond Compassionate Care Collective v. 7 Stars Holistic Foundation, an independently-owned dispensary, RCCC, in Contra Costa County, sued the owners of the Richmond Patients’ Group (RPG) over allegations of conspiring to block RCCC from opening a new shop. Evidence presented at trial included evidence the defendant impeded access to the finite amount of commercial property zoned for medical marijuana distribution.

Plaintiffs argued the defendant, a potential competitor, intentionally thwarted their opportunities by submitting fraudulent letters of intent, leases, and purchase agreements to landlords of commercial properties, effectively tying up those spaces until RCCC’s permits became expired. (Local ordinance in Richmond, Calif. requires cannabis shop permit holders open up a shop within six months or lose their permit.)  The defendants reportedly even went door-to-door, trying to persuade landlords to avoid leasing to RCCC. Defendants also made efforts to compel a change in city ordinance that would reduce the number of cannabis permits available (in this, they were successful). RPG was also accused of trying to influence city officials to deny RCCC’s licensing permit.

As our Los Angeles cannabis attorneys can explain, trying to compel a change in local ordinance or state law isn’t illegal. But the plaintiffs underscored it as evidence of the defendant’s purpose and intention with regard to the other actions.

RCCC alleged RPG’s efforts ensured they were closed off at every turn by RPG’s actions and eventually lost their permit – and millions of dollars in investments and potential profits. This, they allege, was in direct affront to the California Cartwright Act, the state’s antitrust law prohibiting efforts to block fair competition in the free market. Continue reading

Our Southern California cannabis lawyers have been carefully eyeing the legal developments happening at the federal level, with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York recently releasing draft legislation that would legalize marijuana in the U.S. Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

It’s called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. It’s similar to a bill passed by the House in December. The House’s approval of such a measure isn’t surprising, given its political makeup. The Senate, however, is much more conservative and a different story. How good of a chance does a measure like this actually have of becoming reality?

A poll conducted last year by the Pew Research Center reveals 6 in 10 Americans favor legalizing pot for both medicinal and recreational use. However, the majority party in the Senate has a lot on its plate, with presidential priorities being immigration, policing and infrastructure. Cannabis isn’t on that list, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t have forward momentum. Continue reading

Adults in California can smoke marijuana (or consume it a myriad of other ways) without fearing jailtime. However, use after-hours can still have adverse consequences for one’s employment prospects. A new bill introduced in the state legislature would change that, five years after voters legalized recreational cannabis. California marijuana employment lawyer

As longtime Los Angeles marijuana lawyers also well-versed in California employment law, we recognize this could be a substantial benefit not only for workers, but cannabis companies as well.

Assembly Bill 1256 would put a stop to the common practice of common employers who require workers to be tested for marijuana use. It would also prohibit employers from using certain kinds of evidence of prior marijuana use (urine tests, hair follicle tests, etc.) from being used to discriminate against the worker or denying them employment opportunities. The measure is sponsored by California NORML. Continue reading

Renewed hope of federal marijuana legalization in 2021 have been restored after several senators – including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer – recently vowed to press forward with expansive legislation to end U.S. prohibition on cannabis. As our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers can explain, this is the next logical step given that so many states – including California – have already lifted prohibition (albeit to varying degrees). marijuana legalization

The reform that Schumer and other lawmakers are discussing would also have a restorative justice element for those previously convicted of marijuana-related offenses.

The failed “War on Drugs” has inevitably proved to be a war on people (namely, people and communities of color). Ending prohibition is essential, but it’s really just the start. Some of the damage can never be undone, but restorative justice measures that erase criminal records for non-violent marijuana-related offenses is necessary to begin turning the tide and helping the communities that have been decimated by these drug policies.

Los Angeles marijuana lawyerNew product liability concerns have cropped up since regulators announced that California marijuana vape pens seized from illegal shops in Los Angeles were laced with hazardous additives. USA Today reports the ingredients included a substance that has been associated with a fatal, vape-related lung illness.

State officials with the California Bureau of Cannabis Control reportedly confiscated an estimated 10,000 vaping cartridges from unlicensed retailers of marijuana in a series of raids last month. The test results of those products is just now being completed, and authorities report 75 percent of those cartridges contained chemicals that were not disclosed to consumers or regulators. One of those was the vitamin E acetate, the agent used for thickening the compound that has been cited by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an estimated 60 deaths and 2,600 illnesses in all 50 states.

If anything, our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers see this as a warning to consumers to limit their purchase of marijuana products to licensed retailers. Black market marijuana products may be cheaper, but the potential cost to one’s health seems hardly worth the risk. As the CBCC pointed out in a recent release, retailers that have been licensed are required to submit their products to extensive laboratory testing to ensure they meet state labeling and consumer safety standards. Continue reading

When it comes to cannabis conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, college campuses are fast becoming a key battleground. Challenging decades-old drug policies at universities across the country, students (and former students) in states where the drug is legal are taking their schools to court over marijuana-driven discipline. college cannabis lawyer

Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers can explain that numerous schools have taken action against students for using the drug in violation of campus rules. Representatives for the schools say they have little choice. They risk the loss of invaluable federal dollars if they violate U.S. law, which considers the drug a Schedule I narcotic – something highly dangerous, addictive and with no medicinal value.

This has been a particular problem for those studying certain medical specialties (including nursing) who must submit to random drug testing according to to school policy. Continue reading

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