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Although cannabis has been legal in California for recreational use since the start of this year, Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know there continues to be much confusion as to what is allowable and what isn’t in the course of conducting business. One legal woe cropping up of late involves marijuana shipping and transport. Shipping out-of-state (or sometimes even in-state) is fraught with legal pitfalls. If you are not careful, you and/ or your associates could wind up facing serious criminal charges, not to mention hefty fines.Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer

Because the federal government considers marijuana to be a dangerous narcotic, it is a federal felony offense to transport it interstate. Because of the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution, the federal government can prosecute you for federal crimes, even if your actions are legal under state law. In-state transfers can be done lawfully, but it depends on the circumstances.

California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control lays the groundwork for the state’s digital track-and-trace system and is responsible for licensing every vehicle used to transport marijuana across the state. Continue reading

This year was the first in which Californians could freely grow, sell, buy and use marijuana purely for purposes of recreation without the constant threat of criminal law enforcement intervention. However, almost nowhere in the Golden State can new marijuana business owners say it’s been an easy road.Los Angeles dispensary lawyer

Prop. 64, which opened the doors to recreational marijuana, imparted a significant amount of power and discretion to local jurisdictions to decide the type and volume of marijuana businesses that would be allowable. Some communities, like San Jose and San Francisco, embraced commercial cannabis at the outset. Meanwhile, others like Fontana have tried to outlaw the shops entirely. Those with the harshest restrictions have in some cases (Fontana, for instance) been successfully challenged.

For the most part, communities agree the drug should be legal, but just practically speaking, it takes time to supplant an unregulated market. Questions have still arisen regarding how the wealth should be distributed, who gets a chance to participate and how tight should restrictions be. A dedicated California marijuana dispensary attorney can advocate on behalf of all types of cannabis corporations, whether a brick-and-mortar store, a delivery service, farmers or ancillary business.  Continue reading

Amid the booming Southern California cannabis industry, the City of Sacramento is weighing whether to lift the existing cap on the number of marijuana dispensaries licensed to operate in the city, the primary goal being to offer more opportunities to minorities. Since 2014, the number of pot dispensaries permitted by the city has been capped at 30. When recreational marijuana was legalized in California almost a year ago, the city maintained that cap, allowing only those dispensaries that already existed authorization to continue selling. No new licenses were distributed. Of those dispensary owners, not a single one is black. This is problematic and has been vocally opposed by the California Urban Partnership. City officials say they don’t track dispensary owner race. California marijuana dispensary attorneys

Still, it is considered an issue worth addressing, particularly considering people of color are more likely to have been victimized by the failed War on Drugs and have prior drug-related convictions. The city did form a program, CORE, that will waive permit fees for new dispensaries, but because of the cap, no new dispensaries can even be opened once the program officially launches.

Talk of raising the number of dispensaries allowed in the city arose for this reason, though the mayor conversely suggested preference could be given to minorities should one of the existing dispensaries happen to close. However, that’s fairly unlikely, given how lucrative California marijuana dispensaries are and will almost certainly continue to be.  Continue reading

When California voters approved Proposition 64, it included a provision that give wide discretion to individual communities regarding how much of a berth they wanted to give cannabis companies and customers. In San Bernardino County, Fontana marijuana lawyers soon understood that in this community, authorities were eager to take a hard line stance – particularly on home grow operations. Fontana marijuana lawyer blog

Now, Fontana’s de facto ban on home cannabis grow operations has been nixed in a San Bernardino Superior Court ruling, finding the city’s rule’s to be “excessive,” paving the way for individuals to grow and possess amounts of the drug that are more in line with state provisions, which are far more lax.

This is likely to prompt other municipalities to look carefully at their own policies if they are tighter than provisions of state law.  Continue reading

For as long as the people of California have sought marijuana, the black market has existed. Even when the state legalized medicinal use in 1996 and then paved the way for lawful recreational use with a ballot measure last year, Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know the reality is illicit pot shops and sales have always outpaced the legal market. The hope was we’d see a shift, a significant tapering off of demand for illegal marijuana now that with recreational pot now available. But as of right now, they have retained a larger hold than facilities operating according to the stringent regulatory guidelines set forth by state and local officials.Los Angeles marijuana lawyers

Los Angeles marijuana lawyers had seen many long-time operators on the California cannabis scene try to work their way into the newly-forged legal market to finally be legitimate, only to end up continuing to work the riskier – bit more lucrative – illicit market. This includes unlawful medical marijuana collectives, cannabis delivery services and cultivation farms that haven’t been properly vetted according to stringent state law.

Some of these individuals are focused on pursuing “OT” money, generated from “out-of-towners.” Of course, such sales are especially risky because, as our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know, rules can vary from city to city and certainly from state-to-state and country-to country. Black market sales are playing with fire given the uncertainty of how federal authorities are going to handle future sales. Despite the Jan. 1st legalization of recreational use and sales in the Golden State, cannabis is considered an illegal crop from the top-down under the Controlled Substances Act, and as a Schedule I narcotic, it’s one of the most most heavily regulated – despite being one of the most commonly-cultivated and sold. And it’s going to be extremely difficult to move away from that given its history with illicit sales and use.  Continue reading

While the California marijuana market has scored some major wins in recent years, most notably with recreational legalization in 2016, there have been a number of significant growing pains along the way. A couple of the more significant issues our Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys see facing clients is problems with legal permitting for pot shops in L.A. and litigation over intellectual property, such as trademarks and propriety business information. marijuana business license

Poised to be the largest marijuana market in the world, the way in which Los Angeles tackles these issues is likely to be closely watched and highly influential (for better or worse). But, unfortunately, many hundreds of marijuana entrepreneurs have been left cooling their heels as the city works through the regulatory rollout of its commercial cannabis oversight.

Marijuana Business Licensing Headaches

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that’s going to pay off because the significant snag is licensing. City officials gave the green light to nearly 170 marijuana retailers. Meanwhile, among farmers, producers/ edibles manufacturers, distributors, quality control test labs and others, the number of combined permits the city has issued is: Zero. Zip. None.  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

When it comes to air travel and marijuana, it’s unlikely the latter will be joining the “mile-high club” anytime soon. Although state-level marijuana laws have relaxed substantially in more than two dozen states, airline travelers traveling to and from other states and even countries (like Canada) where the drug is legal probably still can’t take legally their weed with them – with some key exceptions.california marijuana lawyer

As California marijuana lawyers can explain, the biggest problem has been the continued federal prohibition on the drug. Under the Controlled Substances Act defining cannabis as highly addictive and dangerous with no recognized medicinal purpose, those who possess, distribute and transport the drug have committed crimes – even if it was all perfectly legal under state law. This conflict has impacted everything from banking to commercial leasing to business partnerships.

Airline travel is just one more area in which the industry and its consumers need to be mindful. When in doubt, be exceedingly cautious. Check out the policies of airlines both at your departing location and destination city.  Continue reading

First came the movie vending machines. Then there were the cupcake machines. Now, increasingly cropping up in California since the legalization of recreational marijuana are the cannabis vending machines. (Actually, it might not be a bad idea to line up all three side-by-side…) In truth, these self-service machines may be quite convenient, but vendors need to make sure their equipment, products and processes are all thoroughly vetted by a Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer. marijuana business lawyer

Such high-tech marijuana options are proliferating. Given that federal law has not kept pace with many states in this regard, it is imperative that as advancing technology is applied to pot sales, retailers and other distributors be exceedingly cautious and work closely with a marijuana business lawyer to ensure both state and local ordinances are followed to the letter. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines, seizure of products, closure of a shop and possibly even criminal charges – particularly if marijuana ends up in the hands of minors.

Although the so-called “Cole Memo” issued under the Obama administration’s Justice Department allowed state-approved marijuana operations to avoid federal crackdowns (although this never equated to immunization for cannabis growers and distributors), Trump’s administration has been less forgiving under U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions. The direction the administration takes from here on marijuana may well depend on the outcome of the upcoming midterm elections.  Continue reading

Los Angeles marijuana defense attorneys need to stress that while marijuana is now legal for recreational cultivation, processing, distribution and use, that doesn’t mean these things are 100 percent lawful. Although it’s true penalties for certain crimes are more lax, offenses more likely to result in fines than prison time, the latter isn’t impossible.Los Angeles marijuana defense lawyers

Last month, authorities announced a 39-county marijuana grow sting, busting 250 unlawful cannabis cultivation sites, resulting in the arrest of more than 50 people and seizure of some 614,000 plants. State and local law enforcement said such action was necessary to halt the (apparently) still booming black market. These sites are arguably a threat to registered, licensed operators, who are required to pay hefty taxes and undergo stringent product testing to ensure safety.

Los Angeles marijuana defense attorneys recognize that legalization of marijuana in California has made the drug far more accessible, and the hope was always that black market sales would halt or at least dwindle. However, there have been an increasing number of grow house busts across the state in recent weeks. Continue reading