The Table is Set on Marijuana Rescheduling

On October 6, 2022, President Biden made a statement in which he asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Attorney General to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. In his statement, the President appeared to express disappointment that marijuana is listed in the same schedule as “drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic” (Id.). It was highly anticipated that this review would lead to the rescheduling, or even de-scheduling, of marijuana. On August 29, 2023, HHS submitted its recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that marijuana be rescheduled from Schedule I to Schedule III.

Continue Reading Marijuana Rescheduling: Process and Procedures To Know Now

Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to jump leaps and bounds in 2024. As a lawyer, I’m always curious about how to integrate AI into my practice in order to better serve my clients. And now and then I check in with this seemingly omnipotent technology to ask what it deems top of mind for the cannabis industry. Given that we’re fresh into the new year, I logged into ChatGPT to ask it “What are the most asked questions about cannabis law”, and its answers honestly surprised me. Mainly because, after almost 14 years of practice in this area, it seems that the same questions remain despite all of the legal progress and reform in the area state by state.

Continue Reading Top 10 Questions About Cannabis Law in 2024

As the cannabis industry continues to navigate choppy economic and legal waters into 2024, some cannabis companies are pivoting to the smokable herbs market. And I do not mean to those hemp-derived intoxicating cannabinoids (HDIC) either (which are part of a legally precarious loophole anyway depending on who you ask). The smokable herbs to which cannabis companies and entrepreneurs are turning to are things like wormwood, valerian, tarragon, and mugwort (among others). Of course, these smokable herbs face a different set of legal and compliance issues altogether than hemp and/or cannabis do.

Continue Reading A Cannabis Pivot to Smokable Herbs

Overall, 2023 was a tough economic year for the entire cannabis industry. And with lean economic times comes a myriad of bad behavior, and cannabis is no exception. Every year, I like to put out a list of the top cannabis scams and swindles so that cannabis consumers, companies, and investors don’t wind up buying into one of these schemes.

Continue Reading Top Cannabis Scams of 2023

California’s cannabis industry continues to struggle in this seemingly unending shake out period. Namely, hundreds of licensed cannabis companies are getting stiffed on A/R with an overwhelming inability to collect as those debtors go out of business. It’s gotten so bad that California considered passing a bill where cannabis companies that fail to pay their overdue invoices will suffer regulatory violations. And the Credit Management Association, at the request of a significant number of B2B California cannabis businesses, was set to compile a list of bad actor retailers that left wholesalers and distributors hanging. Such dire financial times require creditors to get both aggressive and creative. Their options in cannabis are limited since bankruptcy isn’t really available and because of the cannabis regulatory red tape. However, assignments for the benefit of creditors (“ABCs”) are definitely a (surprisingly) great way to deal with cannabis debtors in California (and potentially elsewhere). So, if you’re swimming upstream with a cannabis debtor, you may contemplate using a California cannabis ABC.

Continue Reading California Cannabis ABCs

When I started representing cannabis businesses in 2010, the biggest epidemic in the industry next to I.R.C. 280E was the overwhelming lack of cannabis banking. This inability to access financial institutions for just depository accounts was staggering to businesses, leading to endless public safety hazards and organizational chaos. Almost 14 years later, the cannabis banking crisis has somewhat improved due to the 2014 FinCEN guidelines. But they’re not enough on either side of the aisle, and Congressional Research Services (“CRS”) echoed that point in a recent “Legal Sidebar”, detailing the myriad liabilities financial institutions to face if they want to bank cannabis businesses.

Continue Reading Cannabis Banking: What’s a Financial Institution to Do Right Now?

On the heels of New York and Missouri legalizing adult use cannabis, on November 7, 2023, Ohio voters approved “Issue 2” – a citizen initiative paving the way for adult use marijuana legalization in the state, which according to voter ballots creates “a system that regulates and taxes marijuana just like alcohol”. While the law goes into effect on December 7th, lawmakers can modify the new law before it goes into effect, and of course Ohio’s newly created Division of Cannabis Control (within the Department of Commerce) will need to rulemake around the new law, which could throw some curveballs at enterprising adult use marijuana businesses.

Continue Reading Ohio Marijuana Legalization Hits Home

Many states with cannabis legalization have manufacturer and dispensary licensees that make and sell cannabis-infused beverages and even cannabis-infused drink mixes. What you don’t usually see is a major liquor retailer carrying any form of cannabis drink. Why? First, states with cannabis legalization on the whole ban alcohol and cannabis being mixed together in a single beverage, and, second, major liquor retailers won’t bother getting a state cannabis license due to a multitude of legal issues, including federal law and how it conflicts with cannabis negatively impacts alcohol licensing. However, Total Wine & More (“Total Wine”) is breaking the mold by offering cannabis drinks in Minnesota.

Continue Reading Cannabis Drinks Hit Total Wine

Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended to the Drug Enforcement Administration that cannabis be rescheduled on the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) from a I to a III. At the same time, the SAFER Banking Act is winding its way through the Senate. And as of October 26, the cannabis industry will try to end prohibition through the courts. Cannabis litigation at this level has been tried before and failed. This time, however, may be different for a few important reasons (not the least of which is that renowned litigator David Boies is leading the charge). I’ve been practicing in this space for 14 years, and this is really the first time that all three branches of government are seeing the cannabis movement all at once, which is exciting and should give the industry some much needed hope.

Continue Reading Cannabis Litigation Alert: Commerce Clause Back on Blast

After months of anticipation, the New York State Office of Cannabis Management began accepting applications for five (5) types of licenses this week: cultivator, processor, distributor, and microbusiness. This is generally how the process will work:

Continue Reading The New York marijuana business application window has opened, but will be over in a ‘New York minute’