Articles Tagged with California cannabis lawyers

As one president after another over the last two decades has shown little interest in closing the yawning gap between state and federal marijuana laws, the future of cannabis in California – and the rest of America – may rest in the hands of the nation’s courts.Orange County cannabis business lawyer

Over the last two decades, more 37 states have legalized medical marijuana and 19 allow adults to use recreationally. Yet sales across state borders are still aren’t happening, largely because the drug remains illegal at the federal level.

Cannabis has become a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry in California and across the U.S. But the federal government has pushed off regulation responsibility to the states – leaving a lot of open questions and hesitation on everything from security to labeling requirements to banking to insurance.

Ultimately, it may be the judicial branch of government that takes the reins on the issue. The problem with this is that the impact of the courts’ approach may be somewhat chaotic, potentially undermining efforts to protect public health and ensure industry diversity.

As our Orange County cannabis lawyers can explain, there are some states like California with cannabis programs that have been meticulously crafted to meet certain goals beyond merely legalization of adult recreational use. For instance, a top priority for some states has been ensuring that those awarded cannabis business licenses are either people of color and/or those who were somehow disproportionately affected by the failed war on drugs.

Now enter the courts. Those diversity programs typically require license recipients be state residents. But in a recent 2-1 federal opinion by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, justices ruled this was unconstitutional. That ruling likely means we’ll see some changes and shifts in state-level import and export bans. Some states are already positioning themselves to be able to hit the ground running with a national market for marijuana sales.

Recently, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, signed into law a measure that imbues the state with the right to enter into agreements with other states regarding the regulation of cannabis imports and exports. A similar bill was passed a few years ago in Oregon, and New Jersey is considering something similar.

Still, the fact that court rulings could mean the whittling down of consumer protections and industry diversity efforts has many advocates calling for Congress to take charge and overhaul federal cannabis rules in a way that will realistically reflect what’s happening at the state level.

After all, the Commerce Clause portion of the U.S. Constitution entrusts Congress with the authority to regulate commerce at both the interstate and international levels. The flip side of that, the dormant Commerce Clause – the doctrine seized on the the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals – is that states aren’t allowed to discriminate against or burden interstate commerce. The case that gave rise to the appeal involved a medical marijuana law in Maine that required all officers or directors of a marijuana dispensary be residents of the state. One of those dispensaries with multi-state holdings sued over that residency provision. A coalition of smaller medical marijuana caregivers intervened, hoping to hang onto the 75 percent medical marijuana market share held by smaller operators. (Corporate domination in the market is an increasing concern.)

Meanwhile, other courts have ruled unfavorably against residency requirements as well. For instance, a federal trial court in Michigan ruled against a city government that was defending licensing rules that favored long-term residents. Also last year, a federal court in Missouri disavowed that state’s residency requirements for marijuana businesses. In both of those cases, the federal courts pointed to the dormant Commerce Clause.

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California hospital facilities will be allowed to use medical cannabis for terminally ill patients. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law the Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act, or Ryan’s Law – remarkable for the fact that he vetoed a similar measure in 2019 due to conflict with federal law. At the time, Newsom said he supported the measure but couldn’t sign into law because of the conflict with federal and state law. Now, he says federal officials have indicated that they aren’t taking a strong stance against the use of medical cannabis in hospitals. medical marijuana attorney

Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, continuing to be one of the greatest sticking points for California marijuana companies. It is one our Los Angeles cannabis business attorneys expect to see changed sometime in the next few years.

As it stands, 36 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational uses. Industry researchers report that last year, sales of legal cannabis climbed 45 percent. It’s estimated they’ll reach $41 billion in the next five years. Yet those who might most benefit from its use in the twilight of their lives have been denied due to the federal law that criminalizes marijuana and casts it in the same category of methamphetamine and heroin – highly addictive narcotics with no recognized medical purpose.

Clearly, that definition is outdated. Medical cannabis has been legal in California since 1996. Recreational use was approved by voters in 2016. Now, Senate Bill 311 is one step closer to turning the tide entirely. Continue reading

It may not seem like the best time to purchase or invest in any business, but cannabis farms throughout California are still being scooped up. cannabis farm lawyer

While COVID-19 has left the economy in a state of uncertainty, The Los Angeles Times reported the demand for cannabis actually surged in the immediate wake of state closures, with some . Gov. Gavin Newsom deemed cannabis businesses essential, and sales rose again.

Some theorize the uptick in sales has to do with people largely being stuck at home with not much else to do. Mounting anxiety likely also plays a role. Continue reading

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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The California cannabis industry was one that was truly forged from the bottom-up. But now, it’s the little guys who are increasingly finding themselves on top – specifically, the top shelf. And bottom shelf. And off to the side. That’s not where they’d like to be, given what everyone knows of consumer buying habits – particularly when purchasing on impulse. Prime shelving these days, however, is coming at a premium at local pot stores. Retailers are reportedly charging a pretty penny for those eye-level or feature case spots. cannabis slotting lawyer

Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys recognize that not only does this practice (with some retailers reportedly charging anywhere from several hundred dollars to $50,000 monthly just for product placement) squeeze out the mom-and-pop pot ventures, it may be legally questionable.

In fairness: Everyone in the state’s marijuana market is squeezed pretty tight at the moment, between cumbersome regulation and a black market that threatens to crush the legal competition. That’s exactly how many industry insiders say this all started: Cannabis retailers pushed to the brink by back-alley black market suppliers undercutting legal sales. Continue reading

California marijuana businesses had been hoping to see the onerous tax provisions of the 280E tax resolved once and for all with a review and definitive ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. Unfortunately for marijuana companies, the nation’s high court declined to review the petition filed by a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado against the Internal Revenue Service(which would have extended to California dispensaries as well). Cannabis tax lawyer Los Angeles

In its petition to the court, the cannabis firm argued that a specific part of federal tax code – Section 280E – doesn’t give the IRS authority to investigate and/or rule a marijuana business in violation of criminal federal statutes.

As our Los Angeles cannabis business lawyers can explain, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I narcotic per the U.S. Controlled Substances Act.

The IRS contends that this provision means it cannot allow any tax credit or deduction for any expense incurred or paid in carrying out business that conflicts with or is in violation of federal criminal law – including trafficking in controlled substances – which is what it contends marijuana dispensaries are doing. Continue reading

The growing number of athletes who are also budding cannabis fans are legion. Yet at least at the federal level, the drug continues to retain its Schedule I label, putting it in the same category with drugs like LSD and methamphetamine. As of this writing, 33 states allow marijuana use for medicinal purposes. California is one of 10 allowing it for recreational use.athlete cannabis lawyer Los Angeles

Los Angeles athlete marijuana lawyers are aware now of a growing number of companies promoting cannabis as a means for recovery after a significant athletic feat. Whether it’s running a marathon or testing one’s endurance in a yoga session, cannabis has potential power to help the body heal from the strain such exertion can cause. A few sporting goods and activewear companies are teaming up with cannabis innovators to promote the use of cannabis in recovery.

In one case, as Los Angeles Magazine reports, one pop-up pot provider in Culver City incorporates the use of medicinal-grade marijuana with other rest and recovery techniques like yoga, hot stone massages and meditation. The anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis and CBD oil are touted as a means of easing pain and helping athletes get the rest they need to make a full recovery. Continue reading

Almost all California businesses know they’ll need to secure some type of insurance. Unfortunately, as our Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys know full well, companies that deal in cannabis face a host of major hurdles for this essential service. Although the California Insurance Commissioner has approved a handful of insurance carriers to offer insurance coverage to the cannabis industry this year, giving growers and distributors at least some options, there is a good argument to be made that cannabis companies need an insurer tailored to meet the unique needs of the industry – just like they require an attorney who specializes in marijuana law. Los Angeles marijuana lawyers

Although it has become easier this year for cannabis companies to find insurance coverage than ever before, Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys recognize the industry is still very under-served.

Most cannabis insurance primarily focuses on product liability coverage, as explained in a recent article by Insurance Journal. However, there are a number of other potential liabilities too for which cannabis companies likely could use insurance coverage. That’s an opportunity for insurance companies, but of course many are keenly aware of the risk, given federal laws pertaining to money laundering when doing business with any enterprise that derives income from illegal sale of cannabis.  Continue reading

Many retailers extend promotional offers to drum up new business or garner awareness of a new product. However, just as with almost every other aspect of operation and sales, California cannabis companies must be especially careful about how they market and promote their product. Otherwise, as our California cannabis lawyers can explain, distributors may find their green business deep in the red – and themselves in handcuffs. marijuana lawyer

Recently, The Olympian reported recently that a pot shop owner in a Washington state suburb drew the attention and ire of state regulators for allegedly passing out free samples in violation of the state’s recreational marijuana laws. An undercover investigation was launched after officials received an anonymous tip about an alleged illegal marijuana club on site. Social media advertisements indicated free samples to the product were provided upstairs. Undercover officers began investigating the pot shop, and were offered free samples by an employee, who told them they could try it in another section of the building that wasn’t licensed. The officers reported that when they got to this portion of the building, they saw several individuals smoking marijuana.

The problem is marijuana retailers cannot, as Los Angeles cannabis business lawyers can explain, offer a ‘try it before you buy it” sort of deal for marijuana customers. This is largely owing to the fact marijuana business licensees in California, just as in Washington, are required to keep track of their product from seed to sale. By diverting products to be distributed as free samples, they are in violation of the law.  Continue reading

California could learn a thing or two from those who paved the way for cannabis legalization. For example, Uruguay cannabis lawyerwas the first country to fully legalize marijuana, and the South American country has learned much as a result of trial-by-error. Cannabis was legalized there five years ago, but it wasn’t until last year that legal sales began. Since then, Uruguay has experienced a number of supply problems. Residents report having to travel long distances to licensed pharmacies, and sometimes once they arrive, the supply is dry.

According to a report from High Times, the issues are two-fold. First an excess in government oversight is creating supply chain issues. Only registered pharmacies can sell cannabis, and there have only been 14 licenses issued out of the 1,200 pharmacies in Uruguay. The government is also in charge of cultivation of marijuana, but only two cultivators have received licenses. Much like in California, when too many restrictions come between buyers and their marijuana, many consumers will choose black market options, even though there are legal options.

Second, the head of the Uruguay National Drug Council said there is an issue of farming capacity. Farming cannabis on such a large scale was not common, and there certainly was not a guidebook available. This led to a learning curve for cultivators to catch up on technology and processing on a mass scale. The two cultivators have just recently reached the allowed capacity of 4 metric tons per year. Continue reading

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