California Estimates Big Tax Boost from Cannabis

Adult-use cannabis became legal in California Jan. 1 with Proposition 64 going into effect. Many cities and counties however have decided to maintain a ban on marijuana, and others did not have local regulations in place in time for the official roll out of the law.marijuana business attorneys

But even after just a few weeks, the state government is already reaping big cash benefits reefer. Gov. Jerry Brown estimates $643 million in marijuana excise taxes in the first year, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Earlier projections estimated tax revenue could eventually hit $1 billion. Brown cautioned we don’t fully know every market issue that is at play, so local governments should be careful before enacting any sweeping measures.

Even as such, the lower estimates more than cover the $52 million California budgeted for 2017-2018 to establish and run the marijuana licensing system. The $643 million also does not include local sales taxes or state license fees. It costs businesses $1,000 for a license to sell cannabis. The fees are set to cover all costs associated with permits, including background checks, and resources necessary for processing and issuing.Marijuana taxes are earmarked to fund job programs designed to curb environmental effects of illegal growers, youth prevention and treatment resources, help for communities most affected by the war on drugs, programs to prevent driving under the influence, and grants for job placement, substance-use disorder treatment, and mental health initiatives, among other causes. Each year, $15 million is also supposed to go to studies on the impact …

Representatives from California Aim to Declassify Marijuana at Federal Level

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions is doing all he can to hold states to federal law regarding marijuana, some representatives are pushing to Los Angeles marijuana legalizationeliminate federal grasp over cannabis altogether and begin the healing process of the destruction caused by the war on drugs.

The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 was originally introduced in the Senate by Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) in August, where it stalled. Two representatives from California — Barbara Lee (D-CA 13th District) and Ro Khanna (D-CA 17th District) — are now trying to get a companion bill before the House of Representatives. The objective of these bills is to remove marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic in the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812.

This move comes on the heels of Sessions rescinding a directive, known as the Cole Memo, issued in 2013 by the Department of Justice during the Obama administration, which indicated that federal prosecutors should not pursue charges in relation to illegal marijuana activity so long as those in question were abiding by state laws.

Our Los Angeles marijuana legalization lawyers know that declassifying marijuana is a long overdue step, one that is necessary for states to truly be able to freely monitor cannabis operations as they best see fit. While the Cole Memo acted as a bandage for a while, it never was a long-term solution. It simply protected states from punishment, but still labeled their burgeoning marijuana economies as illegal. Therefore, citizens and businesses still had to find workarounds for a litany of issues, …

Vermont Governor Signs Recreational Marijuana into Law

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently rescinded an Obama-era Department of Justice memo, which directed federal prosecutors to lay off cannabis Orange County recreational marijuana charges in states where activity is legal. This has effectively opened the doors for officials to pursue legal action against operations per the federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812, even though they are abiding state laws.

That isn’t stopping states, though, from pressing forward with marijuana legalization.

Vermont is the latest state to make recreational marijuana legal for adult use, joining California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. But what makes Vermont unique is that this is the first recreational marijuana law passed through legislation rather than a ballot initiative, according to a report from Huffington Post. This was necessary, however, because the state does have a system for voting on such measures.Also different, Vermont’s law does not speak to sales, other than re-enforcing that sales are illegal to those under the age of 21, or setting up a regulated market.

Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed House Bill 511 into law, which eliminates punishment for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, two mature cannabis plants, and up to four immature plants. The governor cited his belief that adults should be free to do what they want on private property, so long as it does not endanger the health or safety of others.

Scott vetoed a similar bill last year, ordering a committee be formed to research cannabis markets and how they might affect …

Recreational Cannabis Sales Begin in L.A.

Three weeks after recreational cannabis sales officially became legal in California, select Los Angeles businesses were allowed to open their doors for Los Angeles recreational cannabis businesscommercial sales. While the Adult Use of Marijuana Act made recreational sales legal in the state Jan. 1, it is still up to city and county governments to decide for themselves whether they will issue a ban or set up their own guidelines and regulations. Implementation of guidelines takes time, and some cities, Los Angeles included, were not able to get them in place before the rollout at the beginning of the year.

Los Angeles City Council approved commercial marijuana sales early in December, and by mid-January about two dozen businesses in the city had been granted temporary permits. Three of those businesses had state approval secured and were able to open for business that week, according to an NBC News report. More regulations will have to be met down the road to achieve legal status permanently, the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation told NBC.While this was happy news for the city, the delay was frustrating to some dispensaries, who wanted to follow proper legal channels but felt they were being punished while hundreds of unlicensed operations profited from recreational sales. Not only are these businesses operating without regulation, but they also are not paying taxes, those who have followed procedure complained. Officials in L.A. said they intend to tackle black market sales and shut down unlicensed operations.

That is why it is so crucial for serious owners to speak …

Northern California County Rolls Back Marijuana Legalization

As of January 1, California rolled out Proposition 64, The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, making recreational marijuana legal in the state. However, themarijuana legalization attorneys new law did not automatically make cannabis legal everywhere in California. It is still up to local governments to regulate, restrict, and ban as they see fit or to open the floor to residential votes. Therefore, many Californians have been disappointed to discover their local laws are prohibitive to using, growing, or distributing marijuana.

Even more disappointing, though, is when the law changes in a region that initially legalized marijuana, especially for citizens who have already made significant investments in the cannabis industry.

This is the case in Calaveras County in Northern California, where the board of supervisors voted 3-2 to ban commercial marijuana. The board included four newly elected members who campaigned last year on promises of banning marijuana, according to an article from Associated Press. The decision will have broad-sweeping effects on some 200 cannabis farms that will now have only three months to shut down operations. The growers in Calaveras with permits have already announced an intent to sue the county. Aside from the substantial time and resources used to set up a growing operation, the farms had to each pay a permit cost of $5,000. On top of that, the county has collected a staggering amount of tax revenue from the farms since 2016, totaling more than $7 million to date.

This tax revenue was initially what prompted the county to open the doors …

California Leaders Pushing Back on Washington, D.C. in Battle Over Marijuana Businesses

In 2013, Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued what was known as The Cole Memo, a directive during the Obama administration that toldmarijuana business lawyers federal officials to back off of prosecuting those selling, distributing, growing, or using marijuana, so long as the offenders were following state laws. The memo was issued to reconcile the federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic, with the wave of state laws that allow cannabis sales and use, either medically or recreationally. The move gave hope to the growing number of Americans in favor of full cannabis legalization nationwide.

However, the U.S. recently took a big step backward when current Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the directive, re-opening the door for federal prosecutors to allocate resources at their discretion for cracking down on marijuana operations.

Leaders in states that have legalized marijuana have no intention of going down without a fight, though. With many more making moves to legalize cannabis in state legislatures or on ballots this year, they might have even more allies by their side.In California, leaders are proposing methods to protect the state’s thriving cannabis economy, which has only grown stronger since the Adult Use of Marijuana Act went into effect January 1, 2018. These tactics include writing letters, potential new laws, and federal lawsuits, according to a report from Orange County Register.

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) has called for Congress to refuse to confirm any future appointments to the Justice Department until the …

Sessions Rolls Back Directive Protecting State Marijuana Laws

It’s no news that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has strong feelings about the cannabis industry. Since his Marijuana Lawyersappointment almost a year ago, he has promised to uphold federal cannabis law, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic under Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. This path is in stark contrast with the narrative in the rest of the country: 30 states as well as Washington, D.C., have some form of marijuana legalization on the books. Eight of those states (including California) and the District of Columbia allow recreational marijuana sales and use, with more planning ballot initiatives and legislative votes in 2018.

Up until now, those states have been able to manage their marijuana laws as they saw fit without meddling from the federal government thanks to a directive put in place at the Department of Justice during Barack Obama’s presidency that discouraged enforcement.

However, Sessions recently rescinded that directive, opening the door for prosecutors to go after states that have established legal cannabis. It’s unclear at this point whether prosecutors will actively start enforcement. Sessions described the move as simply him doing his job and enforcing the law. He also said he would leave it up to U.S. attorneys to determine what issues should be their top priority based on their resources. But the U.S. attorney in Colorado has already stated he intends to align practices with Sessions’ latest guidance.

President Trump seems to have flipped on this issue, stating last year that he would leave the issue up …

More States Look to Legalize Marijuana in 2018

While California has been on the forefront of cannabis legalization, making medical marijuana legal more than 20Caifornia marijuana lawyers years ago with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, and more recently with recreational cannabis being legalized through the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, other states have not been as lucky.

Many hope to change that this coming year, with at least 12 states on deck to consider some form of cannabis legalization in 2018.

This is huge news, not only for those particular states, but also for California and other states that already have legalization in place. The more states rally behind legalization, the stronger we stand against outdated federal laws, which still classify cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. According to a recent report from Newsweek, more than 60% of Americans now support full legalization.Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been adamant about his opposition of state legalization, but our California marijuana legalization lawyers in Riverside know that a united voice from the states sends a strong and clear message that we as a country are ready to move forward.

The following states will potentially make moves toward legalization this year, according to the Newsweek report:

  •  Vermont: After the state legislature approved recreational marijuana legalization earlier in 2017, the governor said he first wanted to create studies on the effects legalization has had on public health issues. In December, the governor said he was comfortable moving forward. If things go as expected, this

Recreational Marijuana in California Expected to Impact Medical Market

California has in many ways led efforts to legalize marijuana around the country. The state was the first to allow medical marijuana with marijuana legalizationProposition 215, i.e. the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. And while the state is a little behind others, such as Colorado, to join the recreational marijuana movement, it will set an example for the rest of the country with Los Angeles expected to skyrocket to the top of the list of the largest commercial markets in the country.

Los Angeles is among cities in California who have approved recreational marijuana activity after the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (or Proposition 64) went into effect Jan. 1, though the city is still finalizing regulations and collecting applications.

This is a fantastic step toward removing the long-held stigmas surrounding cannabis, paving the way toward normalization of marijuana both as a significantly beneficial medical resource, and also as a safe, non-lethal recreational device. Now that both are legal in California, though, be prepared to see a shift in the market.

While many in the state have been seeking more intensive medical marijuana treatment, such as for cancer or PTSD or epilepsy, others have known for a long time that marijuana was a safe alternative to other casual vices, according to an article from the Associated Press. These residents have taken advantage of the numerous pop-up doctor’s offices promising cheap medical marijuana recommendations with few to no questions about the reported ailments of the patients who walk in.

Our Los Angeles marijuana legalization

Licensed Cannabis Business Drivers Arrested, Van Confiscated

It is an extremely exciting time now in California for cannabis businesses. While medical marijuana has been legal in the state for nearlymarijuana businesses two decades, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2018, is ushering in a new era with the legalization of recreational cannabis in California.

But our legal team knows it also can be a very scary and confusing time. Some officials are seeking to make the transition as easy as possible to encourage cannabis businesses to become public and legal. While others seem to be looking for reasons to crack down on businesses and exploit clashing laws.

Such is the case in northern California’s Mendocino County, where in late December two delivery workers were arrested, and their van and its contents, roughly a ton of marijuana, was confiscated.It is clear from this case that the employees, and the company they worked for, had made every effort to be in compliance with relevant marijuana laws. In fact there is even disagreement among officials if the company was in violation of any local or state ordinances. Still, the two were cited for unlawful possession of marijuana for sale and unlawful transportation.

There is a real concern the marijuana in the van, which accounts for an entire year’s crop for a local family farm, could be destroyed, ruining the livelihood for many involved as well as harming those counting on the delivery of the product.

Our Los Angeles cannabis business attorneys are appalled by this action and …

Despite Statewide Marijuana Legalization, Californians Must Follow Local Laws

With the state of California transitioning to legal recreational cannabis, it is a very exciting time for marijuana restrained-1188171-639x480-300x225business entrepreneurs.

Many in California have been in the marijuana industry for years on the medical side of things. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, also known as Proposition 215.

Still, with the passing of Proposition 64, allowing adult use of recreational marijuana Jan. 1, and its steady rollout in areas of California, many new businesses have been eager to join the marketplace. Sometimes too eager.In Ventura County, two men were recently arrested on allegations of running an illegal marijuana dispensary. Marijuana was allegedly being peddled out of a smoke shop in Port Hueneme owned by one of the suspects. Police claim a nearby post-traumatic stress counseling facility was being used for storage.

According to city police, eight pounds of marijuana and $2,000 were confiscated from the premises.

In an ironic twist of fate, just 10 days after the arrests, the Port Hueneme City Council passed an ordinance that would make it legal to operate medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries in the city.

Cities in California have the right to determine whether they will participate in statewide legalization efforts, with some like Port Hueneme joining later than others. This has caused confusion and a restlessness among some marijuana business owners who are sometimes willing to take great risks to join in the burgeoning marketplace, regardless of local laws.

The ordinance in Port Hueneme …

Border Patrol Won’t Recognize Marijuana Legalization

While many residents of California have been celebrating recreational marijuana legalization after the Adult Use of Marijuana Act went into effect marijuana legalizationJan. 1, 2018, some might be caught off guard if they are stopped even with a small amount of cannabis at Border Patrol checkpoints in the state.

Representatives from the Border Patrol recently told the Associated Press that nothing has changed as far as their job is concerned. They intend to continue to uphold federal law at the eight California checkpoint locations, just as they have since medical marijuana was legalized in the state. The federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812 still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic, on par with heroin.

Many states have fought this classification, citing the health benefits the drug provides and the fact that marijuana is not lethal. This has led to a wave of medical and recreational legalization in many states, but U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been very vocal about his opposition to those efforts.

Therefore, those in charge of monitoring checkpoints will be adhering to federal directives for the foreseeable future. The Border Patrol has checkpoints within 100 miles of the Mexican border, created with the intention of curbing illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

However, roughly 40% of marijuana seizures at these checkpoints come from U.S. citizens carrying less than an ounce, according to data from 2013-2016. This means they would be in adherence to current California law and are still being punished.

Because Border Patrol officials can question drivers without …

Colorado Authorities Shut Down 26 Cannabis Businesses

Marijuana has become legal in many states across the country, for both medical and recreational use. California is the latest states to pave the way for recreationalcannabis businesses cannabis businesses through the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

But just because a state has legalized cannabis does not mean there is a marijuana free-for-all with no rules or consequences.

For example, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 in 2012, allowing for personal recreational use of marijuana for adults over 21. Sales began in the state in 2014. But recently 26 legal cannabis businesses were shut down by authorities in Denver.

All of the operations were either store fronts or growing facilities operating under the Sweet Leaf name. While the operations were licensed and legal, they had been under investigation for the past year on suspicion the businesses were exceeding individual sales limits set by the state. Colorado regulations restrict possession to one ounce or less of marijuana per adult.

Police said they were monitoring eight of the 26 sites for the past year. The investigation culminated in a raid of the targeted locations and suspension of all related operations in the state under the same name. The company owns one location in Oregon which was not affected by the raid.

Authorities arrested 12 people in connection with the case. During the ordered shut down, the businesses will not be allowed to sell or produce any cannabis products. In the meantime, the investigation is ongoing and the city scheduled public hearings …

Marijuana Official Tells California Residents What to Expect in 2018

The Cannabis Law Group is prepared for the onslaught of challenges that face the residents and cannabis businessquestion-3-1146620-639x830-231x300 owners of California with the implementation of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act at the start of this new year, legalizing recreational marijuana.

Commercial sales were legalized in California as of Jan. 1, but the exact date of implementation varies from region to region based on local laws and ordinances. Some areas have even decided to maintain a ban on recreational use, such as Kern County, while others have not yet decided the fate of their particular city or region yet.

Officials such as Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, explain that this complicates the rollout process, making it unclear to citizens as to what to expect throughout the state in the months ahead.According to a report from the Associated Press, Ajax said business owners need to secure local permits as well as state licenses before opening their doors. This has caused delays in some areas, including Los Angeles.

This can also cause ripples throughout the supply chain across the state. Retailers must coordinate with distributors, manufacturers, testers, and growers. If some links in the chain aren’t in compliance or don’t have licensing, it can affect businesses throughout the state. For example, if retailers are all set up, but they don’t have ready access to product, there is no business.

Beyond the basics of licensing are the many regulations required for a business to operate above board. It’s probable state officials …

Trump Doubles Down on Enforcing Federal Marijuana Law

MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Don Fitch

The first shoe to fall was the announcement that, as predicted here, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ripped up the Cole Memo protecting state legal marijuana operations. The second shoe fell when asked about this radical change, White House Spokesperson Sarah Sanders asserted, “We have to enforce federal law.”

The readiness by the White House spokesperson for the question and her quick answer are ominous. There was no mention of state’s rights or medical benefits, just the stark statement:

President Trump “strongly believes” in enforcing federal law.

Such a quick and powerful endorsement of Jeff Session’s actions seem to indicate support by the president, a big negative for those who believed Trump’s support for medical cannabis and state’s rights during the campaign. The AG’s green light to his 94 federal prosectors and their 5,000 assistant prosectors threatens the lives, livelihoods, and freedoms of millions of Americans citizens.

Oregon Congressperson Earl Blumenauher spoke on the Attorney General’s dissolving the protections that have helped innovative and prosperous cannabis business florish in legal states:

Mr. Sessions is out of touch. I think he is trapped in time.

Such negative sentiments were the rule following Session’s announcment. Democrats, Republicans, Senators, Representives, Governors, right-wing interest groups, and state Attorney Generals were quick to deplore Session’s unwanted actions.

The only exceptions to the negative reaction came from some police groups and anti-marijuana organizations such as SAM. Ominously, some (though not all) US Attorneys to whom …

States Too Slow to Implement Medical Marijuana Laws Face Litigation

As medical marijuana legalization is becoming law of the land in states across the country, many states are California Medical Marijuana Lawyersstruggling with best practices and how to implement the laws quickly and correctly. It often falls to state departments, local legislatures, and other agencies to sort out licensing and sales practices.

Though this process can be difficult for the government agencies in charge of such oversights, it is the citizens of the state who suffer the most when provisions are dragged out unnecessarily.

This has led to lawsuits filed by those who allege they have experienced direct pain or damages due to the way states are implementing new laws.Recently, a lawsuit was filed  in Florida’s  Second Judicial Circuit Court against the Florida Department of Health for failing to comply with Amendment 2 of the state’s constitution allowing for the sale and use of medical marijuana.

The amendment appeared on the ballot and received a majority vote in November 2016, and the state legislature signed into law provisions for implementation. According to Florida Senate Bill SB8A, the state Department of Health was mandated to issue 10 new Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) licenses by Oct. 3, 2017, but had not at the time of the filing. MMTCs are the only places allowed to process, grow, and sell medical marijuana in the state.

The plaintiffs are a Florida nursery planning to provide medical marijuana and an epilepsy patient who is seeking relief from seizures.

The family who owns the nursery said they were inspired to convert …

Marijuana Dispensary Owners Challenge IRS in U.S. Tax Court

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.). 

The couple alleges Section 280E, enacted back in 1982, was not based on accounting principles, but rather on the idea that public policy was not to allow regulation of marijuana operations and that drug dealers are inherently bad for society. However in 2017, we live in a world where voters in 29 states and D.C. have opted to allow access to medicinal cannabis and several more – including California – have approved measures to allow for recreational cannabis use.

The tax court brief notes that plaintiffs classified their business as a S Corp, which under the tax code requires …

The Good and Bad of California’s New Cannabis Regulations

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, …

Marijuana Impaired Driving Studied by Colorado Universities Using iPods

Researchers in Colorado are exploring the ways in which “dabbing” – a form of rapid consumption of cannabis concentrates by vaporizing – can impair one’s ability to drive, and they’re doing it with iPods. marijuana lawyer

A group of researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder are teaming up with a researcher from Colorado State University to explore this highly potent method of using marijuana. CSU notes this study is a “first-of-its-kind,” and the hope is to eventually prevent instances of driving under the influence that endangers lives.

Our L.A. marijuana defense attorneys recognize that our state, like Colorado, has a vested interest in enforcing anti-impairment laws for motorists. After all, we know marijuana has the ability to impair one’s driving abilities and we know impaired drivers have slower reaction times and lowered inhibitions that can endanger passengers and other motorists. However, the problem specifically when it comes to marijuana impairment behind the wheel is that the determination is subjective. 

California Vehicle Code 23152(f) holds that it is unlawful for anyone who is “under the influence” of any drug (including marijuana) to drive a vehicle. Unlike other jurisdictions, California does not set a per se limit on how much marijuana one can have in their blood before being deemed above the legal limitation. Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana even for recreational use, did not alter this statute, which can result in a maximum 6 months in county jail, among other penalties, for a first-time offense.

There are a number of marijuana DUI defenses our attorneys …

DOJ: Marijuana Businesses Will Not Receive Bankruptcy Aid

Marijuana business owners have many reasons to carefully manage their assets. Now, a recently-published article by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for U.S. Trustees gives another: Marijuana businesses cannot expect help with liquidation or restructuring in the event of bankruptcy. The executive office for trustees is the watchdog agency over bankruptcy proceedings. marijuana business lawyer

Like so many complex legal issues for cannabis business owners, this comes down to the conflict between state and federal law. Although California voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana with Proposition 64 last year (and medical marijuana more than 20 years prior), it is still an illegal Schedule I substance under 21 U.S.C. Section 811, the Controlled Substances Act.

Per the recent article Justice Department officials published in the ABI Journal, the bankruptcy system cannot be used by cannabis businesses because:

  • Bankruptcy cannot be used as an instrument in the ongoing commission of a crime, and thus reorganization plans that allow or require the continuation of illegal activity can’t be confirmed;
  • Bankruptcy trustees and other fiduciaries of estates cannot be made to administer asserts if the act of doing so would necessitate violation of federal criminal law.

This is most unfortunate because bankruptcy is a vehicle through which businesses can be salvaged and emerge more financially sound. Many businesses face insurmountable financial problems, and the cannabis industry is more unstable than most. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows a company to liquidate the business and discharge debts, while a Chapter 11 bankruptcy helps a business temporarily suspend certain obligations while …

California Now Accepting Recreational Marijuana Business License Applications

Last week, the state of California started accepting applications from marijuana businesses and start-ups seeking to operate within the state’s legalized marijuana industry in 2018. This is a major milestone from this burgeoning market, and it’s being furthered by a new online system that will allow retailers, distributors and product testing services to obtain the licensing necessary to engage in business under newly unveiled state regulations.marijuana business lawyer

Sales of recreational marijuana in California will begin Jan. 2nd. Although our state was the first to approve of medical marijuana with Proposition 215 in 1996, we have lagged when it comes to implementing recreational marijuana sales. Still, as the largest state to enact such a law, many other states following suit will be watching carefully. The state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation prior to the passage of Proposition 64) announced that with applications beginning to be submitted, we’re one step closer to the issuance of the first commercial cannabis business approvals.

The launch of the online system appeared to be going well, with officials saying visitors were mostly just exploring the site as opposed to actually sending in full applications. Some got started on an application, submitting certain bits of information, and then saved it to finish later. Temporary licenses, which are effective for four months, won’t be effective until the beginning of the year, and businesses must first obtain a local permit before they can successfully apply for a state-issued license. These temporary licenses cost $1,000 per application fee. A …

L.A. Slated to Become the Largest U.S. City With Legalized Recreational Marijuana

With the approval of regulations for recreational marijuana, the L.A. City Council has paved the way for the city to become the biggest city in the U.S. to allow legal marijuana growth, sales and use.l.a. marijuana lawyer

The council’s decision followed many months of political wrangling and bitter disputes. But now, the city has clear rules that will kick off the beginning of commercial cannabis sales.

Although new cannabis businesses in Los Angeles could be open as early as January 1st, there is some skepticism about whether the floodgates will truly be open by then, given the fact that the new year is only a few weeks away and the holidays tend to be an extremely busy time, with lots of government office closures that could slow the process. There is plenty of motivation, however, given the fact that there are throngs of eager buyers in this city of 4 million people.

Marijuana has been legal in California for the last 20 years, but recreational marijuana was only approved by voters last year. While the state has its own regulations, individual cities are also scrambling to decide what additional rules and restrictions they want to impose, if any. 

In Los Angeles, the new rules passed in a 12-0 vote. The regulations that were approved are complex and extensive and, governing where and how marijuana can be grown and sold. Among the new regulations:

  • Retail marijuana businesses in L.A. will only be allowed to operating in specially-zoned industrial and commercial regions of the city.
  • Cannabis companies won’t

Marijuana Sales are Reducing Alcohol Sales

Many comparisons have been made to recreational marijuana and alcohol, particularly in how advocates have recommended regulation. Although there are similarities, we know that recreational alcohol use, dependence and abuse has caused far more issues than marijuana, and evidence suggests that trend may continue, even as marijuana legalization spreads. In fact, new research indicates that legalizing marijuana may have the added benefit of reducing the impact of alcohol-related societal woes.

During alcohol prohibition, there were some major arrests made, but organized crime benefited more than anyone else from what history shows. Alcohol is a potentially dangerous and addictive drug. However, because it is generally considered socially acceptable, anyone over 21 can purchase as much alcohol as they want. This is not the case for marijuana under the laws in what is constantly becoming a smaller minority of states and the federal law.

cannabis business lawyersWhile many people drink socially, many others drink to cope with the stress of daily life, various mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, and other forms of trauma.  Even though most studies show that dependence on alcohol only makes those medical conditions worse, alcohol is often used as a form of self-medication even when it results in abuse.  Alcohol also is well-known to cause liver poisoning, organ failure, and now it is suspected of causing cancer, according to a recent study that was popularized via a Netflix documentary on the same subject.

Marijuana does not have these issues, and according to a recent news article from the Washington Post, legalized …

Marijuana as a Replacement to Opioids

There is no question that we are in the midst of a major opioid abuse epidemic in the U.S.  While it has gotten a lot of attention in the media lately, the solutions proposed by those in power have generally been limited to cracking down on the smuggling of illegal narcotics across U.S. border, spending small amounts of money on public health programs to fight addiction, and threatening to rollback efforts to lessen prison sentences for those arrested for non-violent drug offenses.

Many have been advocating for medical marijuana as a possible alternative to prescription painkillers that are very addictive and prone to abuse, but these efforts have so far only resulted in a lot of push back.

marijuana attorneyThe reason these conventional efforts are not making an impact is because most who abuse prescription opioids started out with a work-related injury or some type of trauma such as from a serious car accident, and then were prescribed narcotic painkillers. At some point, the insurance companies wanted to avoid paying for more of the drugs, or the doctors became concerned the patient was becoming addicted, and the prescriptions were simply cut off.  This led to typical drug seeking behavior and the problem just gets worse where some find themselves addicted to illicit street drugs.  Even though these drugs are clearly more addictive than medical cannabis, and a whole lot more dangerous, the U.S. Attorney General has just said he is looking at how to crack down on marijuana even in states where it is legal.…

Addressing Claims That Marijuana Induces Vomiting Sickness

There have been many reasons claimed that marijuana was highly dangerous and addictive by those who want to keep it illegal under federal law no matter how many states choose to legalize medical or recreational cannabis.  There are as of the time of this article, 29 states that have legalized either medical marijuana or recreational use of marijuana as well as the District of Columbia.

business cannabisOne of the reasons they argue it is dangerous is because it has been labeled a so-called gateway drug.  The many times disproven theory is that if someone uses marijuana, even though many do not see it as harmful, that a person is far more likely to try “harder” drugs such as cocaine and heroin.  In other words, marijuana is a gateway to the dangers of all sorts of illicit drug use. If we take this argument another step, some with claim these marijuana users are not only addicted to marijuana at this point, and have moved no to cocaine and heroin, but they are also engaging in all sorts of street crime to fund their pricey habit. 

As our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys can explain, though this theory sounds laughable to many, it is the basis for much of the opposition to the legalization of medical marijuana and the recreational use of marijuana. In addition to the gateway theory, many also argue that marijuana itself has all kinds of negative health consequences. Even though there is hardly any evidence to support any of these claims, they will …

Honolulu Police Aim to Get Guns Out of The Hands of Medical Marijuana Patients

Even in states where medical marijuana is legal under the relevant state law, it is still illegal under federal law.  This conflict of law manifests in many ways, most recently in a directive in Hawaii, where medical marijuana users in Honolulu are being asked to voluntarily surrender any firearms they may own. Officials have given them 30 days to comply with this voluntary directive.  While this may sound strange, according to a recent article from Task & Purposes, that is what the police are doing now that the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened a few months prior to this new plan.

marijuana defenseAccording to the local police department, a state statute essentially says that a fugitive shall not own a firearm, and neither can any person who is prohibited from owing or possessing a firearm under a relevant federal statute. The felon in possession portion of the statute is present is in the criminal code of most if not every state’s criminal code, so this is not a new argument, but those using medical marijuana are not convicted felons for the reason of using medical cannabis.  They may be convicted felons for other reasons, and if that is the case, there is no question they are not allowed to own or possess a firearm.

As our Orange County medical cannabis attorneys can explain, the second part of the statute is where it gets a bit murkier.

While this is their state law, the law in California goes somewhat further and says that a …

Medical Marijuana Expands to More States

Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996 as our state was the first to legalize.  Since that time, more than half of the states and the District of Columbia have legalized either medical marijuana, recreational marijuana use, or both. California, while not leading the legal recreational use movement, has recently legalized it for anyone over the age of 21 as of 2018.

cannabis defense attorneysAccording to a recent news article from the Washington Post, medical marijuana has finally arrived in dispensaries throughout the state of Maryland, and more are opening each month.  This is not to say marijuana has just been legalized for medical use in the state, but it is finally in dispensaries. The law was passed years ago, but there were so many delays and legal battles, many patients desperately in need of medical cannabis were wondering if this day would ever come. 

As our Los Angeles medical cannabis attorneys can explain, this is not a new phenomenon.  In some states, there were medical marijuana laws passed either by the legislature or direct voter action as is what happened in California, and then it took around a decade for some of these states to get the dispensaries open and filled with medical marijuana products.

One of the reasons for this is because marijuana is still illegal under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act (USCSA).  It is classified at the highest schedule, because in the 1970s, poorly informed Congress members stated that cannabis is highly addictive, very dangerous, and has a high probability …