Articles Tagged with L.A. marijuana business attorney

As the marijuana industry becomes more mainstream, our L.A. cannabis business lawyers are seeing many of these companies facing down similar legal challenges as other traditional companies. These include employment lawsuits, business partnership disputes, injury and premises liability litigation and more. However, many of these cases are even more complicated by the fact that the industry is so highly regulated at the state and local level, and of course the fact that their primary product is technically illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. business attorneys

Recently in Oregon, a marijuana business owner filed a lawsuit to ask his nephew and former business partner to halt harassment after the business relationship went downhill in the wake of major crop losses. According to Oregon Live, he is seeking $700,000 in damages. In a separate lawsuit filed by attorneys for the marijuana business itself, plaintiff alleges the nephew and one-time co-owner, of defamation and trademark infringement. The company alleges defendant’s inability to produce a marketable flower with any degree of consistency cost the company several million dollars, and is seeking $2.6 million in compensation.

Plaintiff alleges that the flowers grown under defendant partner’s care were total losses in terms of a shelf-worthy flower, and that this was the result of breach of contract on his part. The company owns and operates a production facility on more than 80 acres in Central Oregon, as well as a retail store in a downtown area. The company seeks to grow with retail locations in three other cities, including Portland, where it has applied for a license.  Continue reading

Long Beach will soon be the next city in Los Angeles County to embrace recreational marijuana business planmarijuana after its city council voted overwhelmingly to regulate industry operations. The council passed a series of amendments that will set guidelines for cultivators, testing labs, distributors, and dispensaries in the city, according to an article from Press-Telegram. The 7-1 vote reflected a strong support from council, with the support of the mayor as well as the residents who voted for Proposition 64 in November 2016.

City staffers estimate the move could bring in about $750,000 in taxes from recreational sales next year and a whopping $4.5 million from medical marijuana taxes. City officials also hope to stimulate the economy with a clause that requires collective-bargaining agreements with United Food and Commercial Workers 324, the union that represents cannabis workers, raising the bar on the quality of jobs provided by local establishments. Continue reading

A bipartisan blend of politicians has come together to support a bill that could finally offer some marijuana businessconcrete relief from the oppressive federal law that continues to bind the hands of marijuana businesses despite state legalization. The STATES Act, Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States, is a more formal way of declaring that state laws regarding cannabis usurp the federal government’s Schedule I classification under Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812.

According to a report from Leafly, the bill allows representatives who refuse to step into the 21st Century to support marijuana businesses without taking a stance on marijuana at all. It turns the matter purely into a states’ rights issue, which has become the great unifier in the cannabis debate. It also removes industrial hemp from the definition of “marijuana,” freeing many industries that create products unrelated to the psychoactive properties of cannabis. Continue reading

The fight for marijuana legalization is turning a corner in the U.S. Nowhere is the change more evident than inmarijuana business Michigan, where recently an anti-marijuana action committee has flipped its stance in an attempt to try to gain control of state regulations, according to a Detroit Free Press report. The group, The Committee to Keep Pot Out of Neighborhoods and Schools, has been fighting a ballot proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. However, as it is becoming more clear the initiative has growing support, the group is trying a different tactic: encouraging state legislators to fully legalize marijuana by passing an adult-use bill.

As our attorneys can explain, those opposing recreational cannabis in the state see the writing on the wall. They know if they allow the issue to appear on the November ballot, it has a strong chance of passing. However if group members can convince the Legislature to take up the initiative and amend it with strict regulations akin to the current medical marijuana guidelines, they are hoping to get a law on the books that is more restrictive than what voters might pass. One of the key differences would be how licenses are issued. Medical marijuana establishments currently obtain licenses through a board put in place by the governor, as well as House and Senate leaders. The ballot initiative would instead put licensing in the hands of the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department.  Continue reading

Despite legalization of recreational marijuana sales earlier this year, Fresno remains one of the communities wherein marijuana businesscannabis-related activity is still banned: No recreational sales, no medical sales, no commercial growing, no testing, no distribution, no manufacturing. Residents can grow indoors for personal use or if they are a caretaker, but that’s it.

Still, officials know of more than 70 unlicensed sales operations in the city. Law enforcement agencies are stretched thin, however, so they have to prioritize their time and resources.

They recently focused their efforts on one specific dispensary, according to High Times, which was reported to be selling high-potency cannabis candy wrapped in packaging that was appealing to children. Agents seized 150 pounds of the candy and more than $200,000 after a two-month investigation of the dispensary. Six dispensary operators were given misdemeanor marijuana citations.

When it comes to sales of marijuana, which is still considered an illegal Schedule I narcotic under the federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812, it wouldn’t seem like packaging would be the top priority for law enforcement. However, keeping cannabis out of the hands of children has been a prevalent and important theme for everyone in the legalization process. No one on either side of the issue wants to see cannabis in the hands of children. Relevant restrictions have included keeping cannabis retailers a certain distance from parks, schools, and places where children regularly frequent, as well as making sure tax money is allocated for education and prevention programs geared at students. Further, regulations dictate that “packages and labels shall not be made to be attractive to children,” according to Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act Sec. 74. Continue reading

cannabis businessOnline media giant YouTube has enacted a host of more stringent enforcement guidelines, seemingly at random, restricting and even shutting down many channels its representatives claim violate its policies. Gun-related channels in particular have come under scrutiny. A bit more perplexing, however, is the site’s more aggressive stance against cannabis-related videos recently, sending warnings, flagging content, and shutting down entire channels, particularly those that seek to educate and advocate. Even after complying with warnings, channel owners said they were suspended. Many of the channels had been around for years, some almost since the beginning of YouTube, according to a Leafly article.

In the early days of legalization, before marijuana reached the popularity it is enjoying today, the Internet was the best place for cannabis advocates, business owners, and medical practitioners to learn and to share information. YouTube has always played a big part in that. The highly visual platform was an ideal way to show growing methods and techniques to people on the other side of the country. Today, a bounty of resources exists, but these ground floor YouTube channels still have a wealth of experience to offer. Continue reading

There are many questions that have been answered with the legalization of recreational marijuana in California.cannabis business

  • What? Proposition 64 was approved by voters and made legal adult-use marijuana.
  • Who? Residents 21 years or older.
  • When? As of Jan. 1, 2018.
  • Where? Now, that’s a trickier matter.

Firstly, the state law did not automatically go into effect everywhere. From county to county, city to city, local governments have been making decisions about whether to maintain a ban on recreational cannabis or to legalize and set up regulations. Some of the big cities, like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego have permitted recreational sales. Some areas, like Orange County, cultivation is allowed with restrictions, but manufacturing and retail are banned. Los Angeles took a different route, allowing retail but not cultivation or manufacturing. Other counties, like San Bernadino, don’t permit any recreational cannabis activity.

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While legal sales of recreational marijuana in California will be a reality in a matter of weeks, it’s also true that marijuana businesses face some major logistical hurdles. One of the most difficult among those challenges is being forced to do cash-only commerce.cannabis lawyer

Because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level (a fact that seems unlikely to change under the current administration), federally-backed banking institutions are vulnerable to potential seizure of funds by the FDIC if they accept money derived from criminal activity. Essentially, these financial firms can be prosecuted for money laundering. The result is that the majority of marijuana businesses – about 70 percent – don’t have a bank account. There are only a few banks that will accept marijuana business clients, and they rarely advertise it.

As an article in The Economist recently noted, this fact put some cannabis farmers in Northern California in serious financial jeopardy when the wildfires consumed not only their crops, but their cash. In one instance, a cannabis genetics consulting firm lost $250,000 that had been stashed in a cabinet. Another cannabis cooperative in Medicino County reported the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars by some 20 members who buried their cash and gold stashes – only one of which was buried deep enough to survive destruction.

Although Proposition 64 broadened the legalized use and sale of marijuana in California, it did nothing to ease the federal banking regulations that have financial institutions reticent to take work with cannabis companies. The reality is unless there is some action on this front at the federal level, these kinds of issues will continue to occur. Continue reading

Marijuana business owners have many reasons to carefully manage their assets. Now, a recently-published article by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for U.S. Trustees gives another: Marijuana businesses cannot expect help with liquidation or restructuring in the event of bankruptcy. The executive office for trustees is the watchdog agency over bankruptcy proceedings. marijuana business lawyer

Like so many complex legal issues for cannabis business owners, this comes down to the conflict between state and federal law. Although California voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana with Proposition 64 last year (and medical marijuana more than 20 years prior), it is still an illegal Schedule I substance under 21 U.S.C. Section 811, the Controlled Substances Act.

Per the recent article Justice Department officials published in the ABI Journal, the bankruptcy system cannot be used by cannabis businesses because:

  • Bankruptcy cannot be used as an instrument in the ongoing commission of a crime, and thus reorganization plans that allow or require the continuation of illegal activity can’t be confirmed;
  • Bankruptcy trustees and other fiduciaries of estates cannot be made to administer asserts if the act of doing so would necessitate violation of federal criminal law.

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