California has been hailed with potential to rein as the world’s largest regulated marijuana market on the planet, but currently trails in per-capita sales when compared with other recreational markets across the United States. Much of this can be attributed to California’s rampant illicit cannabis market, and further compounded by the state’s stringent regulation requirements for lawful cannabis businesses.
A panel in California has declared that marijuana smoke and THC – the chemical within the drug responsible for producing the ‘high’ – pose a risk to women who are pregnant, as well as to their unborn babies. The move will require all legal cannabis products sold in California to carry warning labels, though changes will not begin for a year.
Scientists made up the nine-member panel, which formed the Development and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee, who considered the accuracy and reliability of a number of detailed research studies that investigated the effects of marijuana on people, fish, mice and rats.
Following 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
California marijuana farmers are facing a crisis. Currently, all 9,464 state issued temporary cannabis cultivation licenses, have expired. Meant to be replacing those, for businesses continuing to meet the required regulations, are either provisional or permanent annual cannabis business licenses.
The catch though, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is yet to show its ability to approve those provisional or permanent licenses, at the same pace applications are being lodged.
The backlog on approvals may be due to the complexity of the licensing application process itself. Tellingly, by mid July 2019, only 2,053 provisional licenses and 230 permanent licenses had been granted. As it stands, when applying for prospective licenses, cannabis farmers are expected to demonstrate compliance with the stringent California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), as well as submit:
- Background checks;
- Surety bonds;
- Real property documents;
- Detailed site plans;
- Farm management practices;
- Waste management protocols;
- Security procedures; and
- Pesticide measures.
To assist California cannabis growers establish their regions as brands, the California Department of Food and Agriculture is working on a system of regulations for naming craft cannabis strains. According to a report from Ganjapreneur, this is similar to the way the system of naming works for wines, in which a wine must actually be from the Napa region in order to carry that moniker on its label. CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, the arm of CDFA that controls marijuana growers, is planning workshops in September to gather feedback and provide more information to cultivators.
The area known as the Emerald Triangle in Northern California has earned its name due to its high rate of cannabis cultivation. In fact, it’s the largest marijuana-producing area in the country. Growers in the region would like to capitalize on their world-renowned status to help give their product recognition and increase its desirability. They pride themselves on creating interesting, high-quality strains and growing in top-notch environments, and they want to make sure that random grow operations from some other region can’t use their regional names on their own labels.
U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted to pass HR-2 Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill, which contains (among standard food policy legislation) measures to legalize industrial hemp sales, cultivation, and processing, according to a report from Forbes. Hemp is a variety of cannabis popular for its lower concentrations of THC and higher levels of CBD, the non-psychoactive component of marijuana. This has made it ideal for creating a variety of products, from plastics to biofuel to animal feed to yarn.
The federal ban on marijuana has made no distinction between these strains of cannabis and THC-laden versions, which has caused Americans to seek out everyday products that happen to include hemp from other countries. Finally, a bipartisan group of politicians, led by Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is standing up for this common sense action. Continue reading
One of the biggest obstacles for any farming community is how to best control pests. Each plant attracts a different set of insects and animals and requires special care to deter wildlife from harming crops. Farmers must also take into consideration how pest-control methods could harm natural surroundings and affect the people who will consume the product. Cannabis farms are no different, though they lack the years of shared wisdom other farmers have gathered. In fact, cannabis farmers have to be even more thoughtful in some ways about what they use because their end product isn’t easily washable like an apple. Although it wouldn’t seem a cannabis attorney would be your first consult on this front, it’s worthwhile to review it with your counsel so you are sure you’re abiding local and state environmental regulations.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation, has been tasked by California’s Medicinal Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act to provide guidelines for pesticide use in cannabis farming. The department said there is not a pesticide product federally registered for use specifically for cannabis farmers. However, there are plenty of pesticides that can legally be used on cannabis so long as they meet certain criteria. Continue reading
Mendocino County is the latest to sign an agreement with the California Cannabis Authority in an effort to help local governments with regulatory compliance and assist in creating a rich pool of data about the cannabis industry. Our attorneys know one of the most difficult things about establishing any new industry is lack of concrete data. There can be a lot of growing pains as authorities and economic leaders gather a foundation of facts that help in making critical decisions about public safety, regulations, and taxation. This is particularly true when dealing with a controlled substance, like marijuana. Even though marijuana has been legal for medical purposes in California since the passing of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, the switch to recreational legalization in the state as of Jan. 1 was a real game changer. MAUCRSA, Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulations and Safety Act, was created to combine guidelines for medical marijuana with all the new stringent licensing rules for recreational cannabis, so all regulations lived under one umbrella.
The mission of the newly formed California Cannabis Authority is to “develop and manage a statewide data platform that will gather, collect, and analyze information from a myriad of data sources into one resource.” The more local governments that participate, the more compelling and significant the data will be for everyone who accesses it.
The group was created by the California State Association of Counties Finance Corp. The group started with San Luis Obispo, Humboldt, and Monterey Counties on board, with Mendocino following suit. According to a report by the Ukiah Daily Journal, the platform will make it easier to track tax payments, provide compliance information to county departments, and allow health officials to access product information. Continue reading
The American people have known for years that times are changing when it comes to marijuana. Now, it seems some politicians at the federal level are starting to wise up and take this issue seriously as well. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) is introducing a bill to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I narcotics as part of Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. He said he also wants to leverage this issue as a way to bolster women and minority cannabis business owners.
Politicians have been slow to take a stance in favor of cannabis, even though most of us know it can be a life-changing, medically useful drug. Some have supported passive measures here and there trying to give states some freedom without themselves taking a stand. For example, the Rohrenbacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which has to be renewed annually by Congress into the spending bill, prevents the Department of Justice from using federal funds to seek action against medical marijuana activity that has been legalized in that state. Some have tried to inaccurately portray cannabis as a partisan liberal issue, but even democrats have been shy to give full support. However, as The Washington Post reported, Sen. Schumer has acknowledged that the American people have evolved on this issue and it’s time for a big change. Continue reading
The County of Riverside remains a patchwork laws, with each city holding very different opinions on how to best move forward with regulating (or banning) marijuana businesses, growing operations, home cultivation, testing, sales, manufacturing and distribution. That same divide is reflected in the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in how to handle regulations in unincorporated parts of the county. But it looks like after a recent vote, the board will be moving forward on its own with those regulations, while also forgoing a tax ballot initiative in November, according to an article from The Press-Enterprise.
As our marijuana attorneys can explain, even though Proposition 64 passed in November 2016, and adult-use sales were permitted beginning Jan. 1, 2018, it did not mean an automatic free-for-all everywhere in California. The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act was voted into place by state legislators in June 2017 to streamline the existing Compassionate Use Act of 1996 with the incoming recreational marijuana laws. MAUCRSA Section 18-26032(a)(2) outlines that the actions of marijuana businesses “are not unlawful under state law” so long as they are “permitted pursuant to local authorization, license, or permit issued by the local jurisdiction, if any.” Continue reading