Articles Tagged with marijuana business attorney

Federal law on marijuana prohibition has created an intolerable legal mess. (Tell us something we don’t know.) What’s notable is this sentiment was expressed by the U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who indicated he preferred the system laid out in a bipartisan House bill that would reform the law, allowing – finally – greater harmony between state and federal marijuana laws.Los Angeles cannabis lawyer

Barr’s remarks have cannabis business attorneys and others abuzz about whether this could be the true turning point that allows us to finally align federal and state marijuana laws. (It’s also worth noting they are in stark contrast to those of former U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sessions, who was staunchly opposed to legal cannabis in any form or federal cooperation to facilitate it.

Speaking to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Barr said his preference is a legislative fix to the clash in statutes, one that ideally offers express rights to states to decide their own marijuana laws. At this point, all 33 states with legal medicinal marijuana and 10 with recreational marijuana in violation of federal statutes – namely the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. The classification of cannabis under that provision simply defies logic, but it’s not less a possible risk. Los Angeles cannabis dispensaries, delivery drivers, cultivators, manufacturers and labs ALL should have a cannabis attorney on retainer to help ensure compliance with state laws and minimize the risk of federal ire on issues ranging from taxes to trade. Continue reading

Using marijuana is legal in California, but apparently, if you’re up for top-level security clearance with the U.S. government, you may want to think twice. employment attorney

The Orange County Register reports The Pentagon is reviewing the federal security clearance of California tech billionaire Elon Musk following an on-air marijuana toke on a comedian’s podcast last fall. Musk reportedly refiled the SF-86 security form required of federal contractors and/or employees who seek security clearance. The form requires filers to answer truthfully whether they have used any illegal drugs at any point in the previous seven years. Musk reportedly had a higher-level secret clearance, thanks to his position spearheading a company (Space Exploration Technologies Corp. – SpaceX for short) that is permitted launch of military spy satellites.

The company’s day-to-day operations aren’t overseen by Musk, and the company won several national security space launch contracts in the wake of the podcast, but the Register reports it’s only with the refiling that Musk may have some issues.

Employers, Contractors Allowed to Set Ground Rules for Off-the-Clock Cannabis Use Continue reading

For a long time, marijuana’s illegal status under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act has barred study of the plant for most scholars. And while that law (still) has not changed, The Cannabis Law Firm in Los Angeles is aware of an increasing number of colleges adding so-called “marijuana majors” to the roster of available higher education options.marijuana lawyer

According to VOANews.com, a number of colleges have launched four-year degrees in in marijuana-related studies, such as medical plant chemistry, marijuana policy and law. Courses focus on the technical, horticultural, legal, social and political impacts of the plant in all areas of society.

As a law firm that has been focused on representing California marijuana businesses for nearly the last two decades, it’s been encouraging to see these areas of study morph from something of a joke to a field of studies that even Ivy League schools are taking very seriously, fully intent on preparing students for a blossoming career field. Continue reading

As marijuana legalization continues throughout North America, there is still significant public and private interest resistance to its proliferation. One of the legal ground on which these cases have been tested throughout the country is a federal law known as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970, also known as RICO. As our Los Angeles marijuana defense lawyers can explain, this was a law intended to battle organized crime and the mafia. However, it’s been used in several recent federal cases to intervene with legal marijuana businesses and users – one of the most recent in Petaluma, California, marking what is believed to be the first time this legal argument has been used against marijuana businesses in the state. marijuana RICO attorney

But in that case, as in many of the cannabis company RICO civil lawsuits pursued nationally, a federal judge has ruled against the plaintiffs.

According to The Argus Courier, a U.S. District Judge held that neighbors of a cannabis company and its lead grower can’t be sued under RICO anti-corruption laws because nuisances related to noise and bad smells don’t cause the same kind of tangible financial losses intended to be addressed under RICO. Continue reading

Long-time California cannabis attorneys advocating for cultivation, production, sales and possession have long been fighting fear-mongering and stigma where the plant is concerned. Still, one of the oldest – and frankly more compelling –  arguments against legalizing the drug is that marijuana has innate chemical properties that induce a powerful psychosis. Of course, for most people, that effect wears off quickly. However, for certain persons with genetically predisposed conditions, there could be a higher risk of acute, long-term psychosis.California marijuana lawyers

Furthermore, frequent use of more potent pot strains heightens the danger for these individuals.

Sounds scary, right? Certainly, it’s something that businesses in the marijuana trade would want to be aware, as it creates the potential for a civil product liability lawsuit. With popular support of legal cannabis only swelling, it’s not clear a small percentage risk will make a huge dent in sales, but given the gravity of the alleged condition, it’s worth exploring. But before anyone gets too paranoid, marijuana attorneys in L.A. urge a bit closer look. What you don’t see at first glance is:

No. 1. It was marijuana prohibition that pushed the plant to contain higher concentrations of Tetrahydrocannabidinol (THC), the chemical that gets you high.

No. 2. The regulation of marijuana, which includes caps on potency and lowers the risk of criminal penalties for selling or possessing larger quantities means it should not (and does not need to be) so potent. Newer strains sold in dispensaries might be slightly “weaker” than what you’re used to on the street, but they also tend to contain more of the second major chemical, Cannabidiol (CBD), which counteracts psychosis AND has all sorts of medicinal properties. Continue reading

Would cannabis by any other name be quite as sweet? Well… yeah, if the folks at Mendocino Appellations Project  (MAP) are correct. California marijuana grower attorneys recognize that such branding could help otherwise struggling marijuana cultivation operations in the state seize their stake. California marijuana grower attorney

Think about champagne. Yes, it is an alcoholic drink. It’s also a grape-growing region in France. If you want to call a liquid beverage “champagne,” law requires that you must grow it in certain parts of France and only in accordance with very specific guidelines that cover everything from planting to pressing to packaging. That’s what allows sellers to charge top dollar for it.

So what does that mean for marijuana growers in California? Many were among the first in the U.S. to practice and perfect careful cultivation techniques when the drug first became legal for medicinal purposes. And unfortunately, while legalizing bud has been boom for consumers, it’s been a bust for growers. It has meant a near-crushing amount of oversight and safety testing. A virtual mountain of regulation, cannabis cultivators are finding that the laws meant to protect the consumer and the environment are being largely placed on their shoulders. Continue reading

Californians have known for decades the benefits of marijuana, especially as a treatment for certain medical ailments. Now the state is reaping themarijuana business benefits of added tax revenue from recreational marijuana businesses pouring into cities that have chosen to legalize marijuana under Proposition 64.

In addition to taxes flooding into communities, so too are jobs, and people are answering the call. Recently in Sacramento, the Cannabis Job Fair had people standing in lines out the door, waiting for up to two hours, according to KCRASacramento, prompting planners to already set their sites on a bigger event next time around.

With such a burgeoning industry, workers of all levels are needed for success. The marijuana industry offers opportunities for those with skills in cultivation, testing, distribution, horticulture, production, kitchen work, sales, management, and more. But they also need people savvy in the typical tent poles of any industry, including finances, accounting, analytical tracking, marketing, and social media. That’s on top of the farmers across the state investing their abilities and resources in the cannabis market. This creates a wealth of possibilities for a diverse cross-section of people across the socioeconomic spectrum. Continue reading

The owners of a marijuana dispensary in Colorado are challenging a provision of U.S. Tax Code that the Internal Revenue Service has interpreted to mean state-legal marijuana businesses should not be allowed to take deductions or claim credits.

marijuana tax lawyer

The couple asserts in a brief filed in U.S. Tax Court that the IRS’ determination of their taxes owed for 2010 through 2012 were unjust, and that they were unfairly taxed compared to other business owners. A marijuana attorney representing the pair characterized the specific section of the code as “absurd.”

Section 280E, deals with expenditures in connection with illegal sale of drugs. As noted in a 2015 internal memo within the IRS, although a marijuana business is illegal under federal law, it remains obligated to pay federal income tax because Section 61(a) doesn’t differentiate between income derived from legal sources and those derived from illegal sources (See the 1961 case of James v. U.S.).  Continue reading

Cultivation and sales of marijuana to recreational users will soon be legal in California, and ahead of that schedule, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (previously the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation) has issued a regulatory framework that covers everything from concentration of edibles to zoning rules. Excitement in palpable as legal sales are expected to grow by 26 percent over the next five years (thanks in large part to Proposition 64), which would mean the establishment of a $22 billion industry.marijuana lawyer

Although there are many regulations that are fairly standard, such as outlines for growing and testing, the crop-size limitations are the two that have raised the most ire.

Many are concerned about the scope of these regulations and what they will mean for cannabis businesses – particularly smaller ones. It was largely expected that crop size limits would occur to some degree, but the final regulation only limits medium-sized growers’ licenses. That could potentially open the door for smaller and larger marijuana grow farms, but because large companies have deep pockets, the concern is that smaller businesses (which will have a tougher time landing loans) will be pushed out too. Business Insider refers to this as a potential oligopoly. Mass production by these larger players could drive down marijuana prices in the short-term, but eventually, absent sharp competition, these prices would rise. Speculation is that the state will even more heavily tax the product by as much as 45 percent, a cost that will ultimately be passed onto consumers.

On the flip side, investors in marijuana businesses could see handsome profits. Investors in the legal marijuana trade have always been taking a huge risk, largely because the plant is illegal at the federal level, and therefore assets and profits are vulnerable to government seizure. Beyond that, though, the marijuana industry has long been heavily fragmented. Regulations vary from city-to-city, and the majority of the market at this juncture is comprised of mom-and-pop operations. If that shifted to become a smaller number of larger businesses, that could give investors incentive and a clear path to profits. Continue reading

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