Articles Tagged with Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

Our California cannabis business attorneys know this is a field that this is an area of law that is constantly evolving. Case-in-point, two bills that could have a significant impact were advanced. One involves a bill now on the governor’s desk that allows for sales of hemp-derived CBD and ending prohibition on sales of smokable hemp products. The second, a measure to mandate hospitals allow medical marijuana use by certain patients, has advanced in the state legislature. marijuana laws California

Our dedicated cannabis lawyers in Los Angeles are committed to assisting marijuana and hemp farmers, producers, retailers, and ancillary firms navigate the changing legal landscape.

Hemp Regulations

The first, Assembly Bill 45, passed easily in both the state House and Senate. The measure is the result of years of advocacy to update the laws for hemp companies in California. Continue reading

California law prohibits children (under 21) from possessing, using, or buying cannabis. Marketing for marijuana must be tailored in a such a way that it’s less likely to reach them. Proposition 64 (California’s recreational marijuana law) requires a default buffer to keep dispensaries at least 600 feet away from schools, day cares, and youth centers; local ordinances be even more stringent in their requirements. Yet pot shops apparently aren’t doing a great job of keeping cannabis away from kids, according to new research.Los Angeles cannabis lawyer

A new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics took a look at how well state regulations intended to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors have been working. The analysis examined the practices of 700 licensed marijuana dispensaries in the state. Researchers discovered that kids can be exposed to both marketing and products, in spite of the restrictions on both.

Dispensaries are required by law to screen out customers who are underage. Many do this with blatant signage, having a checkpoint with mandatory ID (inside or outside), and tailoring marketing efforts where ads are unlikely to reach those under 21.

For this study, researchers close to the legal age cutoff (between the ages of 21 and 23) went into hundreds of dispensaries throughout California to document their screening process. Of the shops they entered, 97 percent were compliant with ID checks. However, only 12 percent verified customers’ ages outside the shop, and nearly 70 percent did not comply in having signs indicating age limits. For the most part, dispensaries were only requiring proof of age once the person was already inside, where both products and marketing materials were in plain view. Continue reading

Inmates in prison are not allowed to possess recreational marijuana while incarcerated, according to a new ruling by the California Supreme Court. The court overturned a lower court’s decision that held prisoners were allowed to have the drug, so long as they didn’t use it. Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

The case, California v. Raybon, involves five inmates in a California state prison who were convicted on felony charges after being found with marijuana in their cells. The men appealed to the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento, which overturned their convictions after determining that while they could not legally eat or smoke pot in prison, possession of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense. As our Los Angeles marijuana defense lawyers can explain, this ruling conflicted with those of other appellate courts.

The state supreme court weighed in after a challenge from the state attorney general. In a split 5-2 ruling, the high court held that Prop 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in California, was not applicable to prison inmates. The majority opinion held that there as nothing in the ballot materials for the law that indicated voters had considered or were even aware of how this might impact possession of the drug in prison. The court stated, “it seems implausible that the voters intended to essentially decriminalize marijuana in prison.”

Had the public intended to alter the laws and policies regarding possession of cannabis in prison settings, they would have stated so explicitly, the court ruled. Further, it would make no sense that voters would wish to continue to criminalize the consumption of cannabis in prison, yet allow inmates to legally posses it. Continue reading

Measuring one’s degree of marijuana impairment has long been an interest of not only scientists, but law enforcement prosecutors and some employers. Many thought there could be a parallel to alcohol testing; but instead of measuring one’s blood-alcohol concentration they could measure the amount of THC (the primary psychoactive component of cannabis) in one’s blood. The big problem with this, of course, is that THC doesn’t behave in the body the same way alcohol does. It isn’t processed as quickly. Thus, it’s not an accurate measure of one’s degree of impairment. Los Angeles marijuana dui lawyer

This is something our Los Angeles marijuana DUI attorneys have argued for years. Now, this same conclusion was backed by a federally-funded study. Backed by a grant from the National Institute of Justice, researchers tested the THC levels of 20 individuals who either vaporized or ate varying levels of THC. They were then subjected to numerous cognitive and field sobriety tests, similar to what are used by law enforcement.

The groups that received higher doses of THC (above 5 mg) were adversely impacted in terms of their sobriety – their psychomotor skills were visibly impaired – the level of THC in their blood and other biofluids didn’t reliably reflect that. Thus, the amount of THC in one’s blood was not a good indicator of marijuana intoxication. Continue reading

Outdoor advertising of cannabis products on more than 4,000 miles of California highways (any that cross the state border) was banned earlier this year following a district court ruling. In that matter, the court sided with a resident of San Luis Obispo County who alleged the state’s cannabis regulation bureau’s read of Proposition 64 would unduly expose his teens to marijuana ads. But what does that mean for marijuana marketers? Los Angeles cannabis advertising lawyer

As our Los Angeles cannabis business attorneys can explain, cannabis advertising is not something companies should engage in until they’ve consulted with an attorney and are certain their approach is within the boundaries of the law. Having an attorney on retainer assures you can run decisions like this by someone who will be on hand to give you solid advice for whatever issues arise.

The good news is that despite blanket bans on marijuana advertising, many cannabis companies are still finding creative ways to get their brand some traction. For example, some businesses have orchestrated workarounds with state Sponsor a Highway programs. That gets them brand visibility while also complying with the law. Continue reading

Last month, supporters of marijuana legalization got a welcome surprise when conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas questioned the constitutionality of federal prohibitions on marijuana. That line of questioning didn’t alter federal law, but it does seem to inch us closer to a reality where cannabis could be legalized, regulated and accepted the same way alcohol has. Hope has been especially high since the election of President Joe Biden. Still, the actual odds aren’t at all clear-cut. Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer

As of the beginning of this month, recreational marijuana was legal in 18 states, while medical marijuana was legal in 36. Since March of this year, five more states have enacted or introduced legislation that would legalize production, sales and use of the plant. Further, more than 9 in 10 Americans queried by the Pew Research Center believe cannabis should be legal at least for medicinal use.

Despite all this, though, marijuana continues to be classified as a Schedule I narcotic under federal law. As our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers can explain, that’s the same category used for drugs like heroin – highly addictive and with no medicinal purpose. Obviously, the label isn’t congruent with the reality, and there is a clear disconnect between federal and state laws that has proven a fine line for cannabis companies to walk. Continue reading

Adults in California can smoke marijuana (or consume it a myriad of other ways) without fearing jailtime. However, use after-hours can still have adverse consequences for one’s employment prospects. A new bill introduced in the state legislature would change that, five years after voters legalized recreational cannabis. California marijuana employment lawyer

As longtime Los Angeles marijuana lawyers also well-versed in California employment law, we recognize this could be a substantial benefit not only for workers, but cannabis companies as well.

Assembly Bill 1256 would put a stop to the common practice of common employers who require workers to be tested for marijuana use. It would also prohibit employers from using certain kinds of evidence of prior marijuana use (urine tests, hair follicle tests, etc.) from being used to discriminate against the worker or denying them employment opportunities. The measure is sponsored by California NORML. Continue reading

Although 36 states and Washington D.C. have some form of legalized marijuana (15 of those for recreational use), it’s still strictly illegal to cross state lines with these products. It all comes back to federal prohibition. Crossing state lines with marijuana will cause you to run afoul of federal law. Each state dictates the movement of marijuana in its own borders, but intrastate commerce is federal jurisdiction. California marijuana lawyer

More than likely though, this will change – not so much a matter of if, but when. For one thing, we’re looking at a brighter than ever possibility of federal legislation that would end prohibition and legalize the drug. Beyond that, however, there’s a clause in the U.S. Constitution that bars states from unfairly restricting commerce between states under something known as the dormant commerce clause. State laws that restrict marijuana commerce with other states are probably unconstitutional under this clause (though it hasn’t been tested). As of right now, though, states don’t have any significant incentive to change it because it’s bolstering the economy of their own citizens. There haven’t been any lawsuits to challenge it either (yet) probably because litigation is expensive, it’s unknown how the value of limited licensing in marijuana-legal states would be impacted and fiercer competition is still an unknown for these burgeoning industries.

How Marijuana Trade Between States Would Impact the Legal Industry

As longtime Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers, we’ve seen the industry ushered through many major changes. Interstate commerce would be another significant one for nearly every sector. High-quality boutique offerings could find a bigger market. Larger firms that commoditize cheaper products would be in high demand. We’d likely see an immediate demand in more efficient supply chain and logistics experts.

Retailers might not see an impact right away (unless they are close to a state border). Even if/when marijuana prohibition ends at the federal level, most retail is likely to stay local. It’s probable that federal lawmakers would want to impose limitations or an outright ban on shipping marijuana via mail. (The same is done for tobacco products.)

What is less clear is how the value of state-issued permits would become. Continue reading

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a federal bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. It’s a sweeping measure that expressly strives to address racial inequality of drug law enforcement, though the impact could be much broader – that is, if it had a realistic shot at passing in the Senate. Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers and most Washington insiders agree the bill is likely to falter in the Senate. Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (or MORE Act) would remove cannabis from the list of U.S. controlled substances. It would also expunge lower-level federal marijuana arrests and convictions and provide incentives for minority-owned cannabis businesses in a market that has been expanding rapidly in recent years – not just in California, but throughout the country. Additionally, it would establish an excise tax on marijuana sales, allowing that money to be funneled into areas that were particularly hard-hit by the failed war on drugs.

The measure was largely approved along party lines, though five Republican representatives and one independent joined Democrats in passing the bill. Half a dozen Democrats voted against it. NPR quoted the bill’s sponsor as saying federal action on the issue is an imperative, given that the majority of states plus Washington, D.C. have recognized medical cannabis as legal and 15 allow its sale and possession for adult recreational use. Those who voted in favor of the bill say it is long overdue, particularly as so many of the arrest and sentencing laws have placed an unfair burden on minority and low-income communities. Research conducted by the ACLU has established that people of color are four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than their White counterparts, despite evidence these groups use the substance in equal measure. Federal estimates are that some 22 million Americans regularly use marijuana. Continue reading

Small plot, outdoor California cannabis farmers are among those who stand to gain the most from the state’s new appellations law, under which marijuana growers can claim, protect and market the unique elements of the plant grown in their specific region. marijuana appellations lawyer

Appellations are legally defined and protected geographical indications. Appellations laws are the reason that only sparkling wine that originates from the region of Champagne, France can be legally marketed and sold as “Champagne,” (with a few exceptions for some semi-generic names that were grandfathered in a few years ago).

Back to marijuana marketing: Establishing a strong, consistent reputation for the best quality, potency and flavor profiles will give smaller growers a leg up in the market. This is critical for several reasons, including the fact that a place-based brand (very similar to what we see with producers of wine) could help some above-board growers edge out the black market dealers. A region with a highly-rated brand association could parlay that into a niche tourism market, similar to what we see in Napa Valley (which also relies heavily on appellations to build their credibility and customer loyalty). This could prove especially fruitful if prohibition is lifted at the federal level. Continue reading

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