Articles Tagged with cannabis business lawyer Los Angeles

Targeted by repeated traffic stops and seizures over the last year by federal and state law enforcement officers in California and other states, an ancillary cannabis company says cops are committing “highway robbery” by seizing millions in cash from armored vehicles transporting funds between dispensaries and financial institutions. The logistics company, Empyreal, has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to recoup losses and end the practice. Our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers understand an initial request for a restraining order has been denied. Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer

This lawsuit is being closely watched by cannabis company legal advocates as it could have a direct impact on their bottom line and ability to engage in financial transactions.

The plaintiff, with more than 25 years in banking, launched her logistics/armored vehicle business four years ago in Colorado. Since then, it’s expanded to operation in 28 states. Her goal, she told Colorado News Online, was to address some of the challenges that cannabis companies face with financial transactions. Although many states now allow medicinal and even recreational marijuana, THC products are still considered illegal under federal law. That makes federally-backed banks – bound to comply with the U.S. Anti-Money Laundering Act and Bank Secrecy Act – wary of doing business with cannabis companies. For the 700-or-so banks that will accept money from marijuana dispensaries, there is a large compliance list that involves things like background checks, verification of money origins and destinations, and other stringent guidelines. Plaintiff said she only works with banks that are meticulous about meeting all the strict requirements.

Meanwhile, particularly in states where possession of marijuana for any reason is still criminal. Kansas is one of those. State law enforcement officials there report that in the last three years, its officers have seized more than $8 million from all motorists (not just those ferrying marijuana-related funds through the state). That accounts for half of all civil forfeitures, which is a process by which law enforcement agencies can seize money, vehicles, real estate, weapons, and other personal property they suspect may have been involved in criminal activity. It is not necessary for the cops to arrest anyone or secure a conviction in order to seize the money/property. In Kansas, half of all forfeitures were done with no criminal case being filed. All they had to do was demonstrate a connection between the property and a crime – and show a lawful reason for making the stop. (As any attorney will tell you, follow behind any driver long enough and you’ll find some minor traffic infraction that can be used as cause to pull them over.)

The lawsuit alleges that the company’s vehicles have been stopped by law enforcement in Kansas and California a total of five times since last May – twice resulting in cash seizures of more than $1 million, money that was later turned over to the FBI. Continue reading

Cannabis could end up back on the California ballot if some marijuana advocates have their way. An increasingly vocal faction argues that in the five years since voters approved legalization of adult recreational use, access to legal supply for consumers has been limited, thanks to unchecked taxes and fractious local governments. A booming black market has overshadowed legal proprietors, who are struggling to make ends meet – all of which was not the voters’ vision when they passed Prop. 64, the advocates argue. Los Angeles cannabis business lawyer

The California Cannabis Reform Project and Weed for Warriors organizations are working together to hammer out a ballot initiative that would, among other things, deprive local governments of the power to approve or deny licenses for cannabis business operators. They allege local governments have failed to wield that power effectively, in turn causing more harm than good, giving illegal operators a leg-up while making it harder for many law-abiding consumers in massive swaths of the state to obtain safe, legal cannabis.

As noted by analysis in the New York Times, roughly 8 in 10 of the state’s local governments have outlawed the sale of marijuana within their borders, effectively creating marijuana retail deserts. Local governments’ loss of control is effectively evidenced by the huge – and growing – illicit marijuana market. Continue reading

Trying to predict the California cannabis market was problematic even prior to an international pandemic that threw everything off course. Part of it is that this is the largest legal marijuana market in the world. Part of it is that it’s so new, being legalized for adult recreational use just three years ago. And part of it is the industry’s ongoing and fierce competition with a huge illegal market – all while the drug is considered illegal and highly addictive by the federal government.marijuana business lawyer

That said, our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers have been fierce defenders of those involved in cultivating, manufacturing, selling, using, prescribing and advertising marijuana for more than a decade. We have become deft at examining the trends as we advise our clients, many of whom were better off than some other businesses due to their designation by the state as “essential.”

In looking at the year ahead, our marijuana lawyers see a handful of factors that will likely impact the future of the industry and the clients we serve.

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