Articles Tagged with Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers

In the four years since marijuana has hit the legal market in California, the legal parameters of the industry have transformed at sometimes breakneck speed. The industry is, in a sense, always looking ahead. But because the laws and regulations have changed so quickly, it’s imperative to consult with your Los Angeles marijuana business attorney to periodically look back at older agreements and contracts – ensuring you aren’t overlooking any previous obligations or restrictions. Los Angeles marijuana business attorney

This point was underscored recently in the California Appellate Court decision in Metsch v. Heinowitz. In this case, the appellate court refused to enforce a contract to produce and distribute marijuana edibles. The contract had been drafted in 2014 – at a time when cannabis wasn’t legal for recreational use in California. This factored significantly in the court’s ability to enforce it. Continue reading

The COVID-19 pandemic has left much of the country facing some stark economic realities that don’t bode well for many businesses, some of which have already folded. But there could be a bright spot for California cannabis companies. Los Angeles corporate cannabis lawyer

Government agencies – from the federal level on down – are strapped for cash too. There is enormous pressure for politicians to get the economy back on track, and that has many looking for creative ways to stimulate fiscal growth, reduce the unemployment rates and offset lost tax revenues.

This hasn’t escaped local marijuana businesses looking to expand and entrepreneurs exploring a new launch. Continue reading

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

Throughout Southern California, marijuana dispensaries are reportedly selling cannabis products that are counterfeit – capitalizing on another firm’s branding, holding out one’s illicit products as legal or both. Law enforcement and marijuana business lawyers in Los Angeles are actively monitoring both fronts.counterfeit cannabis

The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) establishes a complex maze of rules and regulations to ensure pot products sold to the public are safe and legal. That means cultivators, manufacturers and dispensaries are vetted and licensed, cannabis goods are tracked seed-to-sale and quality assurance testing is conducted to limit consumers’ exposure to dangerous metals and pesticides.

Despite this, black and gray market marijuana operations in L.A. abound. Continue reading

Marijuana business entrepreneurs are increasingly striking green in the Golden State. If you’re looking to launch a new pot shop or any company ancillary to the cannabis industry: California is a prime location. Our Los Angeles marijuana business attorneys could have told you that, but this comes from a new report by FitSmallBusiness.com, which ranked California the No. 5 best state in the U.S. for cannabis start-ups. marijuana entrepreneur

The study analyzed numerous factors, including how easy it is for a new business owner to enter the market, what it costs to do so, how much you’ll pay in taxes, how many laws and regulations exist and the overall market opportunity.

Oregon wrestled the No. 1 spot, Colorado No. 2, Michigan No. 3 and Alaska No. 4.

The fact that we aren’t first – despite being the biggest legal marijuana market despite being the largest marijuana market – was attributed largely to our patchwork of laws and hefty taxes (15 percent excise and a sales tax for recreational product). There’s also a mid-range startup fee – $5,000 for business applications. Compare that to Oregon where the fee is a cheap $250 but then also to Illinois, where a cultivator licensing fee costs $200,000 – all but ensuring any prospective small business owners would be pushed out.

Still, California secured the most recreational marijuana revenue of any in 2018 – it’s very first year – at $2.75 billion. 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

Hundreds of batches of marijuana products may need to be recalled and retested after a California cannabis testing lab surrendered its license following a state inspection reportedly revealed falsification of product testing results over the last four months. Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers recognize this could have substantial impact on statewide supply and industry operations heading into the new year. That’s because come Jan. 1, 2019, a host of additional marijuana testing requirements go into effect, and cannabis oils, flowers and edibles are required to undergo more rigorous testing for certain toxins like heavy metals. This is bad news because bottlenecks at state-authorized testing labs were already beginning to form, slowing the process of getting these products from seed to sale.Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers

The lab in question, Sequoia Analytical Labs in Sacramento, was undergoing a routine inspection late last month when state investigators with the California Bureau of Cannabis Control noted that in testing for 66 pesticides required by law, tests for 22 of those were not correct, thanks to a “faulty instrument.” Furthermore, the bureau reported the lab director was aware the results were erroneous, and not only failed to intervene and take corrective action, but instead falsified lab results to indicate the products were safe when in fact they may not have been.

Safety Concerns for Faulty Testing Prompt Marijuana Business License Forfeiture Continue reading

Situated right between the two biggest cannabis consumer hubs of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Central Coast of California is poised to become potentially one of the core producers of the plant statewide (or nationally, though interstate sales are barred). This fertile region has long been ripe with vineyards, renowned for producing some of the country’s best wine. Orange County marijuana business lawyers understand that as cannabis cultivators have been cropping up in the spaces between, many farmers are beginning to see it not so much as competition but as a chance to reinvigorate the agricultural traditions that have lagged in recent decades. From Santa Barbara County to Monterey, more marijuana farmers have been licensed in the last year than anywhere else in the nation. Still, this promise is tempered by concerns that explosive unchecked growth could lead to serious problems.California marijuana business attorney

To be sure, the Emerald Triangle region of Northern California (comprised of Trinity, Mendocino and Humboldt Counties) grows the most marijuana by volume, hence the nod to greenery in its new moniker. However, if the pace of cannabis farming keeps up at the current clip, the Central Coast could soon surpass the northern neighbor region. And the region has a unique advantage over the Emerald Coast: No deep roots in the gray or black market.

Our Orange County marijuana business lawyers have been at the forefront of this industry, which has ballooned to an estimated $4 billion-a-year, and climbing. It’s been beneficial to the local tax base and also presents a new wave of opportunity for agricultural entrepreneurs seeking a legally sound yet lucrative opportunity. While the new law hasn’t entirely erased the stigma surrounding marijuana, the Central Coast lacks the cumbersome challenge of working to bring into compliance well-established underground growers transitioning into above-board – but heavily-regulated -operations. The risk of government raids is much lower (though not erased completely), but so are the profits, whittled by expensive new mandates and taxes. Operational, financial and legal concerns also persist as long as the drug remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government. Continue reading

It is common knowledge among our marijuana business attorneys and our clients that banks are highly restricted inmarijuana business how they can interact with the cannabis industry. Wells Fargo, however, recently took those restrictions too far when the bank closed the account of a candidate in Florida who made cannabis legalization a tenant of her campaign platform. According to New York Times, Nikki Fried is running for Florida agricultural commissioner and said expansion of the state’s current program is her highest priority.

The candidate runs her campaign finances through Wells Fargo, who questioned her support of marijuana and whether or not she also was planning to take donations from marijuana businesses to fund her campaign. When her campaign workers confirmed she would take such donations, Wells Fargo made an unprecedented move in shutting down her account.  Continue reading

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