Articles Tagged with Orange County marijuana business lawyers

The California-based cannabis list site, Weedmaps, has held true to its promise to drop unlicensed cannabis advertising listings from its platform by January 1, but the work is ongoing.

Industry insiders say the very nature of Weedmaps – a self-published platform that fails to vet ads prior to posting them – continues to afford illegal businesses a means of maintaining a small presence on its promotional site.

Cannabis business attorneyBackground
In late 2019, the licensed California cannabis industry pressed Weedmaps to cease posting ads for illegal marijuana businesses. The site then set itself a deadline of January 1, 2020. By which time, the platform said it would require current state license number submissions for all California advertisers on its site, before ads could go live.

And as that January 1 deadline has arrived, the industry has been taking note. A Weedmaps statement earlier this week indicated the site had received state issued license numbers from “hundreds of retail clients.” But the statement failed to share the number of ads rejected, and also neglected to detail how many Californian companies currently advertise on the platform.
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Californian payment provider, Linx Card, has fielded a spate of lawsuits from cannabis businesses in recent months, who claim the primary provider of debit merchant services to marijuana retail stores, owes them millions.

Linx offers customers a platform where they can purchase Linx gift cards, or pre-paid debit cards, that can then be used to make in-store cannabis product purchases using those cards. Terminals within select retail stores sell the Linx gift cards, as does the Linx website.

marijuana bankingCourt Filing Woes
Court filings made across the country allege that Linx owes at least four marijuana businesses money. Those sums include:

  • $40,092 to Universal Herbal Center and Pineapple Express (who operate marijuana stores in California);
  • $114,962 to Colorado retailer, Silver Stem Fine Cannabis;
  • $939,010 to Las Vegas superstore retailer, Planet 13; and
  • $1.5 million to Arizona and Nevada Reef Dispensaries.

In a statement, Linx CEO Patrick Hammond, acknowledged the company is working to resolve these issues and plans to ensure retailers are paid in full.

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cannabis chemist lawyerMonthly lab-testing numbers for California’s legal cannabis products show signs of bouncing back, after lulls midyear. Even in late November, indicators pointed to a cultivating season that will continue well into the year’s end.

News of this rise in legal cannabis product quantities moving through the state’s supply chain has been met with spliff, or rather split, industry opinions. That’s largely because California’s unsteady marijuana market is still trying to find its stride.

Some insiders see the rise as a positive sign, showing that California’s licensed marijuana operations are enjoying an uptick. Meanwhile, others see the latest statistics as further evidence of a black market that continues to outpace the regulated industry.
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cannabis lawyerCalifornian marijuana industry members are in distress, and an urgent cry for help has been made to state leaders. Legal cannabis companies in California say they are simply unable to keep pace with illicit marijuana business operators who don’t pay licensing fees, skip state taxes and fail to meet state mandated industry regulations. Licensed marijuana businesses warn the state’s largest emerging industry is at risk of going up in smoke, unless lawmakers quickly usher in regulatory changes.

If you need legal advice regarding your commercial cannabis business, our Orange County cannabis business lawyers are here for you.
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Marijuana business licensingLos Angeles is a bustling city with more than four million people and a large market for cannabis sales. Only the illicit market is much bigger than the legitimate one – with 189 licensed marijuana stores compared to literally hundreds of bootleg stores. The illegal outfits are able to freely funnel unregulated products to unsuspecting consumers, in large part because there are simply too few legal outfits ready to serve the LA pot market.

To add to the conundrum, president of the LA City Council has requested a do-over on issuing all new cannabis store licenses. This is likely to slow the city’s aim of getting more businesses operating legally, down even more so.
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Los Angeles cannabis business lawyerFollowing a slew of vaping related lung disease cases, a Los Angeles City Council member calls for a year-long ban on all vaping sales.

The proposed ban has many in the industry rushing to cut the motion off before it becomes law. The major concern is that such a ban could mean the end for countless vaping companies who are solely in business to sell vape pens and cartridges. Continue reading

Orange County marijuana lawyerA lawsuit filed against owners of Santa Ana’s 420 Central – a high profile cannabis store in Southern California – accuses CEO Robert Taft, and executives Jorge Burtin and Jeff Holocomb, of defrauding investors. Among the laundry list of claims made, the complaint alleges:

  • Breach of Contract;
  • Fraud;
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty;
  • Conspiracy to Commit Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Dissolution of Partnership and Corporations;
  • Turnover of Corporate Books and Records; and
  • Injunctive Relief.

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In January, the state of California kicked off an online rollout of its marijuana inventory tracking system. At a glance, marijuana businesses across the Golden State appear to be successfully reporting product inventory each day, via the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace (CCTT) system. But not without some growing pains.

To start, the idea of tracking marijuana traveling throughout the supply chain sounds simple enough. In theory, all cannabis products would be given unique identification numbers, noting from which ‘batch’ or ‘lot’ they were born. Products would then be sent to labs for testing. Next, approved products would be passed from producer to distributor, and finally to retailers for sale. At each step, the state should be able to track each piece of marijuana as it moves through the chain, making sure nothing is being redirected out of state, and ensuring everybody is paying their required taxes.

California Cannabis Lawyers

But in practice, a few hiccups quickly come to light. First up, only businesses holding ‘provisional’ or ‘annual’ licenses are required to subscribe to the track-and-trace system. And until last month, there were more than 600 marijuana businesses operating on ‘temporary licenses,’ who would not have had to track-and-trace. This means, there was no way regulators could comprehensively account for every legal product moving about the state.

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As the black market for pot sales shows little sign of slowing, Californian authorities have notably increased enforcement action against illegal cannabis traders. Over the last 12 months, raids by law enforcement on black market pot businesses have increased threefold, when compared with similar activity conducted in the year prior. As a result, unlicensed pot growers and sellers have seen a total of $30 million worth of cannabis products seized. But even amid this additional ramp up, cannabis industry insiders say even more activity is needed to curb illegal pot sales across the Golden State.

For context, in 2018 local law enforcement worked in conjunction with the state Bureau of Cannabis Control, and together they served six unlicensed cannabis businesses with search warrants. These raids resulted in the seizure of more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana, said to carry a street value of $13.5 million.

Calilfornia Cannabis Business Licensing Lawyers

Comparatively, according to data release in July, within the first half of 2019 alone, the bureau had already served 19 search warrants to unlicensed sellers. Those raids were successful, and saw more than $16.5 million worth, or about 2,500 pounds of illicit marijuana, confiscated. Just shy of $220,000 cash was also seized from cannabis businesses operating illegally during this time.

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cannabis defense lawyersEver since cannabis was legalized in California in January 2018, a flood of marijuana businesses have opened, hoping to take their share of the pot market. But it’s no secret that many industry stakeholders are unhappy with the current state of affairs.

Today there are 182 licensed marijuana dispensaries operating throughout Los Angeles, and many of those business have paid well into the tens of thousands of dollars to operate legally. First by registering their companies and covering licensing fees, then paying city taxes and continually meeting strict safety standards imposed by the state.

Meanwhile, there are countless other outfits operating slightly more under the radar. They are able to skip paying licensing fees and, as predominantly cash run businesses, also avoid paying taxes. To the frustration of legal business owners, rouge pot shops attract a slew of customers with undercut pot prices, prices that legal outfits have a hard time matching given their higher operating costs.

While regulation of cannabis use and sale continues to undergo assessment and tweaking in the state of California, many licensed cannabis business owners have reached boiling point. The biggest reason, illegal pot shops continuing to operate comfortably, with little pressure from state authorities requiring them to toe the line.
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