Articles Tagged with California cannabis business attorneys

Los Angeles marijuana tax lawyersProsecutors for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of California have launched a grand jury subpoena, calling for records from Californian marijuana based companies, including the parent company of Weedmaps.

Criminal prosecutors for the U.S. attorney ordered records from 30 cannabis companies, including Ghost Management Group LLC, owner of the subsidiary Weedmaps. Through its website, Weedmaps not only provides consumers with lists of nearby cannabis retailers, it also allows consumers to find retail deals, place delivery orders, and rate compare and cannabis stores.

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cannabis lawyerThree separate law suits have been filed, alleging that a Californian-based marijuana company and its key executive defrauded $1.2 million in loans from investors.

The suits allege that Case Mandel and his Cannadips business operations, used fictional projections — inflated by as much as 2,000 percent — to deliberately mislead lenders into investing in his cannabis companies, then Mandel supposedly held the funds without ever intending to repay them.

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marijuana businessArroyo Verde farm, owned by Barry Brand in Carpinteria, was considered a prime example of how a legal cannabis business could flourish under close regulation from Santa Barbara County. Then in January, a sheriff-led raid of the farm found evidence to suggest the farm was not only selling licensed products, but also selling products on the illicit market too.

This came as a surprise to some. Barry Brand had a reputation among county officials and industry investors as an honest businessman.

He was so well trusted by officials, that when a licensed cultivator property tour was given by the county to show reporters just how well cannabis regulations were going, Brand’s farm was chosen. Ironically, the tour intended, among other things, to demonstrate just how impossible it would be for a grower to siphon off crop to sell on the illicit market.

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California’s cannabis industry is sitting on a not-so-well kept secret — that many of its licensed, above board, legal business operators have also traded unlawfully, at some point, and to one extent or another.marijuana business

As many industry insiders have echoed, anyone turning a profit in this new era, has to have at least one hand in unregulated dealings. Chris Coulombre, CEO of Pacific Expeditors in Sonoma, has said “I have to imagine that 60 percent of the market overall is probably playing in a parallel markets, but I don’t think they enjoy that. It’s truly a decision of necessity.”

Whispers of retailers selling counterfeit products are rife. Cultivators are known to sell unregulated product on the side. But how can we blame them? Suffering terribly at the hands of price undercutting from illegal competitors, these unregulated exchanges are all taking place in hopes of keeping doors open, and businesses afloat. Continue reading

Cannabis business attorneySacramento, California could lead the way in showing other cities throughout the state how to institute new, and broaden existing, marijuana social equity plans.

A number of Californian municipalities are yet to meet the ideal cannabis social equity standings, largely due to cannabis businesses tussling with numerous other issues, like licensing hurdles, tax hikes and the continued strength of the illegal market.

That said, of late, a pressing for increased social equity within the state’s capital has emerged. A finite focus has been set on providing both business guidance and financial support for minority communities, as well as those disadvantaged by the war on drugs.

Equity applicants take note — the state’s capital aims to grant as many as 10 of its next dispensary licenses to applicants who meet the equity criteria.

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marijuana businessCalifornia lawmakers, in late January, breathed new life into a proposal that could cut the state’s taxes on marijuana for the short term, to help boost the struggling legal market.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has shown his support for the bill, as he now takes aim at updating California’s cannabis regulations.

Assembly Bill 1948, introduced by Assembly Members Rob Bonta, Ken Cooley, Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Tom Lackey, and co-authored by Assembly Member Mark Stone, seeks for three years to:

  1. lower marijuana retail sales state tax from 15 percent to 11 percent; and
  2. eliminate the cultivation tax altogether.

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marijuana bankingThe state of California has now permitted the legal use of marijuana for two years. And tax dollars collected from the cannabis industry are already showing great impact across a variety of sectors.

Since its passing in 2016, Prop 64 has earmarked its entire cannabis industry tax revenue, minus regulatory costs, to supporting public health, repairing the environment, and bettering public safety.

New parks, healthier children, broader educational opportunities, forest clean ups, drugged drivers removed from the roads, and criminal records cleared are just some of the areas already seeing big improvements thanks to Prop 64 tax revenue contributions.

And this is just the beginning. In mid January this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed another $332.8 million in cannabis tax revenue would be allocated to social services for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

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In a move that has shocked the cannabis industry, California is hiking legal marijuana business taxes. This decision comes on the heels of many licensed marijuana companies imploring the state to reduce such taxes.

But with legal storefronts now set to face cannabis taxes nearing 50 per cent beginning January 1, the move is being seen by some as another reason pot customers will choose the Golden State’s already thriving black market. Cannabis business analysts estimate that for every dollar spent in California’s legal pot market, $3 are being spent on the illicit market.Cannabis business attorneys

In a statement released by the California Cannabis Industry Association, members are said to be both outraged and stunned by the decision. The group believes increased cannabis business taxes will only make trading even more difficult for those operating legally, who are already fraught with heavy fees, stringent regulation, local community bans on cannabis cultivation and sales, and a flourishing black market.
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Marijuana criminal defenseCalifornia Vape Manufacturer, Kushy Punch, has been accused of operating both legal and illegal cannabis operations, according to state authorities. On October 3, state officials followed a tip to a warehouse in Canoga Park, where a raid turned up an illegal manufacturing operation seemingly run by the well-known state-licensed company, Kushy Punch.

California Department of Consumer Affairs investigators seized numerous ready-for-sale products from the facility, including Kushy Punch packaged gummies, as well as approximately 7,200 Kushy Vape packaged disposable vaporizers. These products are estimated to carry a combined $21 million street value.
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The black market for marijuana in California is three times the size of the legal market, a recent audit has shown. The findings, made public in September, highlight the state’s ongoing battle to curb its illegal cannabis trade.marijuana dispensaries

Approximately 2,835 unlicensed dispensaries were listed as trading across California, according to the audit conducted by the United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA), a trade association representing a wide variety of licensed marijuana businesses. Interestingly, the Bureau of Cannabis Control has only licensed 873 cannabis merchants to operate lawfully within the Golden State.

These comparative statistics reflect the continued hiccups California has faced since rolling out updated legal regulations beginning in 2018, which were intended to level the cannabis market’s playing field. Continue reading

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