This Thursday, June 7th, our own Vince Sliwoski will co-chair an all-day continuing legal education (CLE) event in Portland called The Business of Marijuana in Oregon, along with Jesse Sweet, a lawyer and senior policy analyst at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). The roster of speakers lined up for this CLE is better than any year to date, and everyone, including non-lawyers, would be well served to attend. Other Harris Bricken lawyers presenting include Megan Vaniman (employment) and John Mansfield (litigation). For a full event description, including topics, speakers and registration links, click here.
Looking back over the past four years, it is amazing to see how much things have changed in Oregon cannabis. At this point, the OLCC’s recreational marijuana program is fully built out, with over 3,400 applicants now on file with the state. We are proud to call many of these Oregon producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers our clients, alongside the many investors and ancillary service providers we represent.
Sometimes, it is said that pioneers get slaughtered and settlers get rich. Now that the Oregon regulatory groundwork has stabilized, we have begun to see a second wave of entrepreneurs and investors move in on the local industry. Many of these new entrants bring skills, capital and experience from other regulated markets, while others are …
We’ve recently added a new Spanish bank to our feminised seed catalogue, a bank that, despite its young age (it was founded in 2017), has already aroused enormous interest among cannabis growers and users. We’re talking about BSF Seeds, short for Bigger, Stronger and Faster that perfectly sums up the philosophy of this team of breeders when it comes to developing the cannabis varieties they offer. In this article we’ll familiarise you with this seed bank and its work.
BSF Seeds: Bigger, Stronger, Faster
The BSF Seeds catalogue is made up of both feminized and large size automatic varieties (also feminized), making them hugely popular with fans of auto varieties. As well as including some classics of the cannabis scene, the catalogue also gathers together some of the most coveted current hybrids of the moment, like Gorilla Glue, Tangie or the famous Zkittlez.
The breeding program followed by BSF is clear: select the most resistant, productive and fastest specimens to stabilise and fix these traits to obtain hybrids that are especially easy to grow and give excellent results, whether they are autoflowering seeds or photodependent varieties. If we factor in the high quality of the genetics from which they start their work, the formula for success seems assured! Furthermore, they’ve also used a very original formula to manage …
Want to get the most out of that ounce of Cherry OG you just bought? Want to look like a “professional” stoner (oh, if only there was such a thing)? Want to impress your friends and be the envy of all those around you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the answer is simple: learn how to use a grinder.
Grinders don’t get a lot of press, but they’re an essential piece of equipment that no committed cannaseur should be without. In this article, the experts at Honest Marijuana show you how to use a grinder and tell you everything you need to know about this helpful tool.
What Is A Grinder?
The original ganja gurus from way-back-when came up with some pretty interesting cannabis slang. Some of that jargon is not very self-explanatory (like sploof and chronic).
Thankfully, there’s no wacky etymology behind the word “grinder.” In fact, it’s probably one of the most obvious terms you’ll find in the marijuana lexicon.
So what exactly is a grinder? It’s a small container with “teeth” used for dispensing smoothies. Just kidding! It’s a small container with “teeth” used for grinding nugs of weed into smaller pieces.
It’s also one of the easiest ways to get ahold of kief (which we’ll get to later on in this …
Tomorrow, June 5th, Californians will go to the polls and vote on a number of state and local races, along with tax measures and other proposed laws. Cannabis will play a large role in many of them.
In the gubernatorial primary race the two favorites, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, are both Democrats and they both support the cannabis industry and social justice reforms to right the drug wars’ wrongs. California Treasurer John Chiang is also running for governor and he has made increasing banking opportunities (which we covered here) for cannabis businesses one of his most pressing goals. Even if Mr. Chiang doesn’t win, we hope he continues making progress on this front as lack of access to banking severely hampers cannabis business owners and needlessly creates a danger to public safety. The Republican candidates for governor, John Cox and Travis Allen, hold the same traditional shortsighted and draconian Republican position: cannabis is bad, lock everyone up. To quote the current eloquent speaker in the White House: SAD! Although both Republican candidates are longshots to make the statewide election in November, one of them could get lucky if the Democratic favorites split a large number of votes. That’s because California has an open primary system with the top two vote getters, regardless …
Opioid-related deaths are up. Is marijuana the answer? The opioid epidemic in Canada shows no sign of slowing down. Doctors believe cannabis is one viable option to combat the crisis. Here’s how medical marijuana is helping reduce opioid use in our country.
Equity financing has only recently become a viable option for companies in the cannabis industry. As a result, many industry entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with equity financing terms. Also, many entrepreneurs (in many industries) don’t dig deeply into terms they don’t understand, which is a dangerous game. For example, trying to read the National Venture Capital Association Model Term Sheet–all 16 pages of it–is not helpful for someone starting from scratch, because the document assumes knowledge of its terms, and no matter how many times you read “liquidation preference” on a term sheet, the meaning will not become clear.
Asking your attorney to walk you through the terms you don’t fully understand can be helpful, particularly so she doesn’t assume that you understand things that you don’t, and which are about to affect your pocketbook. It’s also a great way to vet your attorneys’ understanding of the terms. However, reviewing with your attorney is unlikely to be a comprehensive education; or, if it is, will be an unnecessarily expensive education.
In the end, the undeniable truth is: If you’re an entrepreneur who is serious about raising funds through an equity financing, then you owe it to yourself, your company, your investors and shareholders, to educate yourself. In business, “depending on the kindness …
We have recently been exploring employment laws that only kick in once your cannabis company employs a certain number of employees. In the first part of this series, we discussed California’s sexual harassment policy requirements and last week we discussed federal and state leave requirements. This week we will look at age discrimination laws.
Federal and state age discrimination laws vary greatly, so it is important to know both the federal requirements and the state requirements. Both will apply to your cannabis business. The Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only applies to employers who employ at least 20 employees. The ADEA only protects employees over the age of 40. Under the ADEA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
Employment claims under the ADEA typically arise when younger employees are frequently promoted over older employees or when an employee is terminated and replaced by a younger person for the same position. So if your cannabis business has at least 20 employees and some of those employees are over the age of 40, be careful!
State Age Discrimination Laws
Oregon’s anti-discrimination statute is one of the …
Mediation and arbitration are the two major “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR) techniques used in business disputes. We’ve discussed arbitration in cannabis cases in several previous blog posts, here, here, here, here, and here. Although arbitration gets more attention these days than mediation (see the Supreme Court’s recent arbitration decision), mediation is probably the most commonly used form of ADR in cannabis businesses.
Arbitration is essentially stripped-down litigation, in which a third party lawyer or judge decides issues of fact and law, in a setting that in some cases is less formal and costly than going to court. Both litigation and arbitration are usually binding. Both result in an order than can be enforced like any other court order, e.g., by garnishing the losing party’s assets.
Mediation differs from arbitration in that the mediator cannot require the parties to resolve the dispute. Her role is to help parties work together to find a solution to their problem, that they both can agree on. If mediation is successful, the parties often enter into a written settlement agreement, resolving the dispute.
How mediation works in a cannabis dispute:
For our discussion, imagine a dispute between co-owners of a marijuana dispensary. Hopefully, the owners have a solid operating or shareholder agreement with a dispute …
Ganja, Collie, Kiki, Sinsemilla…cannabis has plenty of different names, especially in Jamaica, a small Caribbean island known around the world for its long relationship with this plant.
Indeed, Jamaica is a true place of reference with regard to cannabis cultivation for smokers worldwide. Its tropical climate and fertile soil are ideal for the cultivation of cannabis plants, especially Sativas. Moreover, it is also the place where the Rastafari movement was born, which promotes a religious use of ganja and has a large number of followers in the island. Still, the use of cannabis is widely spread among all social classes – not only Rastafarians – and is doubtless one of the most popular crops in the island. In this article we’ll tell you more about the relation of cannabis with this small Caribbean paradise.
7-mile Beach, Jamaica
Introduction of cannabis in Jamaica
Being British colony until 1962, Jamaica is a traditional producer of sugar, also cotton during the slavery period. The indigenous people from the island – the Arawak tribe – were exterminated before the arrival of the British by the Spanish colonizers, while the Commonwealth government forced thousands of slaves to move from Western Africa to Jamaica to work on plantations.
After the abolition of slavery in 1838, and while many slaves abandoned their …
Yesterday afternoon, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (“OLCC”) published a news release titled “OLCC Will Pause Acceptance of Marijuana License Applications.” This “pause” takes effect Friday, June 15th. The agency’s sudden announcement was a big surprise to almost everyone, and we received a flood of emails and phone calls throughout the afternoon.
Personally, I cannot remember receiving so many urgent calls and emails related to an administrative or political development at any point in the past seven years of working with cannabis businesses. That includes industry shakeout after recent seismic events like the election of Donald Trump, the appointment of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General, and Mr. Sessions’ rescission of the Cole Memo. In all, the OLCC announcement caused a major stir.
This post will address questions along the lines of those we received yesterday afternoon, in an attempt to give some consolidated thoughts as to what is going on with Oregon marijuana licensing.
The OLCC announcement says it will “temporarily shift licensing staff to exclusively process recreational marijuana license renewals and applications…”. Does the word “applications” refer to new applications, as well as change in ownership applications? What about “applications” for changes in financial interest?
We have confirmed with OLCC that the announcement refers only to new applications. We also have confirmed that the agency …
If we have a look at all the different pieces of equipment we need to set up an indoor cannabis grow, we can see that they fall into one of several categories according to the role they play in the grow tent: Illumination, ventilation, humidity control and heating are the main elements responsible for recreating as close as possible the natural cycles and ideal conditions for plant growth. The proper control and adjustment of these elements is crucial to achieving a great final result, with a healthy yield of the highest quality flowers.
Over time, various electronic devices designed to control the climate in cannabis grows have appeared on the market, these devices connect and coordinate all the elements required to recreate sunlight and climate, making it possible to program photoperiods, control air intake and extraction, and regulate temperature, humidity and pressure.
The grow space climate must be optimised to create the ideal environment for plant development.
A climate controller can save the grower a great deal of work, in addition to optimising electricity consumption. The effectiveness of a climate controller relies upon the sensors used to control and record the variations in temperature, humidity or air circulation inside the interior culture room.
Among the climate controllers that you can find in Alchimiaweb.com, here we’d like …
The movement to legalize cannabis in the United States has come a long way since Californians started it all with the Compassionate Use of Act of 1996 (“Prop 215”). For many years after Prop 215, the pace of change was glacial. In California, it wasn’t until 2004 (8 years after Prop 215) that the California State Legislature passed Senate Bill (“SB 420”). SB 420 recognized the rights of qualified patients and their caregivers to collectively or cooperatively cultivate medical cannabis. Then it took an additional four years until the California Attorney General (who at the time was Jerry Brown, the state’s current governor) released the state’s guidelines (“Guidelines”) on medical cannabis enforcement in 2008.
The Guidelines created the framework for non-profit mutual benefits corporations, collectives, and cooperatives to provide medical cannabis to their patient members. Although the Guidelines were a step in the right direction, they still left many medical cannabis operators uncertain as to what was allowed. It took another seven years before California substantively addressed the cannabis industry when the State Legislature passed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act in 2015 (“MCRSA”). But ever since the passage of the MCRSA and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act in 2016, the pace of change in California’s cannabis regulatory landscape is perhaps best described by a quote from Ernest …
Were you approved for a medical cannabis treatment but you aren’t sure what form is best for you? You might be asking yourself: What are the best and healthiest ways to consume medical marijuana? There are three different forms of this medication. Discover how each one can work for you.
On May 22, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) issued an internal directive (the “Directive”) acknowledging the Agency’s jurisdiction over cannabis has its limits. The directive is in line with a plain reading of the federal Controlled Substance Act (“CSA”), which authorizes the DEA’s enforcement power, but does not regulate the whole cannabis plant.
To conceptualize this, think of the CSA distinguishing the cannabis plant into two parts. The first is “Marihuana” which is “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin.” The second classification under the CSA is “Exempt Cannabis Plant Material.” As per the CSA definition, we can break Exempt Cannabis Plant Material into four categories:
Fiber produced from mature stalks
Oil or cake made from seeds
Seeds incapable of germination
Exempt Cannabis Plant Material also includes “any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation” of the items listed above. However, there is an exception to the exemption as resin derived from mature stalks is considered Marijuana, not Exempt Plant Material. If you are feeling confused at this point, don’t worry: This stuff is not for the faint of …
Of the many issues that prevent cannabis businesses from acting like regular businesses, lack of access to banking is probably the most hindering. Since commercial cannabis activity remains a federal crime, the federal Bank Secrecy Act prohibits financial institutions from accepting cannabis-generated dollars. Most cannabis businesses therefore must operate on an all-cash basis. This makes them targets for actual criminals and helps further the need for access to a bank account.
This lack of bank access in turn creates desperation, which hucksters and fraudsters then prey upon. This post is dedicated to helping cannabis stakeholders avoid those who blow smoke about “marijuana banking.”
Because marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance, proceeds from cannabis sales trigger anti-money laundering laws for banks. The Bank Secrecy Act requires banks combat fraud and money laundering and protect against criminal and terrorist activity. Certain banking laws require that national banks and credit unions file Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), when the financial institution knows or suspects an account holder is engaged in or trying to cover up illegal activity. Consequently, banks routinely deny or shut down cannabis business bank accounts (and cannabis-based financing) even in cannabis-friendly states.
In 2014, new FinCEN guidelines for cannabis banking provided that financial institutions could provide services to state-legal …
If you suffer from insomnia, you know how unpleasant this disorder is. It leaves you exhausted and anxious when all you want is a good night’s sleep. If your current medications aren’t working, it’s time to see how medical cannabis can help.
Last Thursday, my colleagues Vince Sliwoski, Mike Atkins, and John Mansfield and I put on a webinar addressing the unique intellectual property issues faced by companies in the cannabis industry. I you missed the live broadcast, it’s available here. We received many great questions during the presentation, but an hour and fifteen minutes simply wasn’t enough time to answer all of them. So this post will address some of the questions that were asked, but not answered, during the webinar.
What is the difference between a trade name and a trademark?
A trade name is equivalent to a “doing business as” name, or a fictitious business name. It is an assumed name under which a company does business, and it typically registered at the local and/or state level. A trademark, on the other hand, can be registered at either the federal or state level and is used to protect your brand name. A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. Owning a registered trademark gives the owner certain rights, including the right to prevent others from using confusingly similar marks on the same or similar goods or services. A trade name, even if registered, does not …
All cannabis businesses want to build a team of professionals and advisors that they can rely on, and our business lawyers are often asked by clients to recommend an accountant that works with cannabis businesses. Like a good attorney, an accountant is one professional essential to the success of your cannabis business.
Many cannabis investors own other businesses and may already have an accountant that they trust. However, the laws governing the accounting profession do not offer much protection to Certified Public Accountants’ (“CPA”) working in the cannabis industry. Therefore, some very skilled CPA’s choose not to work in the industry; while others do not want to invest the time and effort to develop expertise related to cannabis business accounting.
Anyone evaluating whether an accountant is a good fit, should ensure that the accountant has a strong grasp of IRC 280E and cannabis accounting, and then keep in mind the following three things.
Understand the Types of Accounting Professionals
The accounting profession includes several types of accountants and financial professionals. It is helpful to understand the core skills of three in particular: the CPA, the bookkeeper and the Enrolled Agent.
A CPA is a Certified Public Accountant. To qualify as a CPA one must take a certain number of accounting related courses, pass a rigorous examination and be licensed …
How about a bit of history before we begin? No, no, no, don’t go away! It’s relevant. We promise. So let’s talk gummies.
The first gummy candy (shaped like bears) was invented in Germany almost 100 years ago. Seventy years later, in the late 1990s, two natural-foods advocates mixed up a batch of gummy vitamins in order to get their kids to take a daily multi.
Now it seems like gummies are everywhere. We’ve got gummy this and gummy that. So it’s really no surprise that sometime in the last five years, some canna-genius was inspired—probably in a haze of joint smoke—to combine CBD and gummy candy into the ultimate medicinal confection: CBD gummies.
At this point, you’re probably asking, “But why do we need another method of consuming cannabis?” Our answer? Because each method offers a number of different benefits.
So why exactly should you take CBD gummies? In this article, the experts at Honest Marijuana will show you 10 benefits of this tasty and chewy treat. Some of them might surprise you.
Last Friday, California released another round of emergency regulations that essentially renewed the existing emergency rules, but with some updates, a fair amount of which affect commercial cannabis leasing. Here are some of the notable ones.
“Premises” distinctions defined.SB 94 and AB 133, the statutes enacted in 2017 to implement and refine Prop 64, both defined a licensed “premises” as a “designated structure” that is held “under the control” of the licensee for commercial cannabis activity, and must be contiguous and held by only one licensee. The statutes did not, however, define what those terms meant with regard to physical segregation of licensed spaces, which is an important factor for places like warehouse spaces where multiple tenants want to operate concurrently, or any rental space with common areas. The new emergency regulations address this issue by clarifying that for the areas of a licensed premises required to be under a licensee’s exclusive control for operations, actual walls and locked doors will be required, but that common or shared spaces will be allowed for multi-tenant spaces without violating that requirements. This may seem like common sense, but until now it was not codified. This means that landlords and tenants alike will have more certainty in planning out the leased premises.
From coast to coast, Canabo Medical Clinic makes it easy for patients to receive an authorization for medical marijuana. If you live on the east coast, here are the top four medical marijuana clinics to visit to discuss this medication and obtain an authorization.
Move over vapers, we’ve got some weed strains that will compete with your brag-worthy flavor selections! Marijuana consumers know that the plant is not just good for your health, but also for your tastebuds. In this article we’ll look at some of the best-tasting strains to suit those hard to satisfy cravings. Modern advancements have […]
Some employment laws are applicable to all businesses, such as minimum wage and hour laws. Other employment laws and regulations only kick in once a business employs a certain number of employees. Last week, we discussed when California’s sexual harassment laws kick in for cannabis employers. Today we will explore the Federal Family Medical Leave Act and its state equivalents.
Federal Family Medical Leave Act
Although marijuana is a federally controlled substance, cannabis businesses are subject to federal employment laws like any other business. The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) is one of those laws. The FMLA is a complicated piece of legislation and frequently trips up employers, especially ones without a human resources department.
To determine if FMLA applies, employers need to ask themselves two important questions: 1) Do we have enough employees for FMLA to apply?; and 2) Does FMLA apply to this particular employee?
FMLA only applies to employers who have at least 50 employees in 20 or more work weeks in the current or previous year. If the employer meets this, then FMLA applies as to the employer.
Only eligible employees are entitled to FMLA leave. An eligible employee is an employee who:
Works for a covered employer;
Has worked for the employer for at least 12 months;
Once upon a time, the cannabis industry had something called the Ogden Memorandum. That was back in 2009, prior to any state legalizing cannabis for recreational use. The Ogden memo gave prosecutorial guidelines to U.S. Attorneys in medical marijuana states. Many people read the Ogden Memo too cavalierly for the feds’ liking (to wit, over 1,000 new Colorado dispensaries opened that year), and Eric Holder’s office attempted to cool industry expectations with the first Cole Memo in 2011. A few years later, after Colorado and Washington legalized adult use cannabis, we got the second Cole Memo and its famous eight federal enforcement priorities to help guide state lawmaking. The second Cole memo, which everyone just called the “Cole Memo”, lasted an astonishing 4.5 years until Jeff Sessions rescinded that guidance in early 2017, with a memo of his own. The Sessions Memo effectively reset everything to a primitive ground zero, lecturing that “marijuana is a dangerous drug and marijuana activity is a serious crime.”
Aside from disrupting longstanding federal policy framework on cannabis, the Sessions Memo directed federal prosecutors “to weigh all relevant considerations” in bringing prosecutions for violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act. As of last week, one such prosecutor gave explicit indications as to what relevant considerations will take priority …
The energizing effect of some cannabis strains is, without a doubt, a true favourite among many users. This uplifting feeling – often called “high” – is often associated to Sativa genetics with high THC content, although other plants with different cannabinoid ratios can provide a very pleasant, social and creative effect.
For this reason, and within the myriad of feminised seeds available on the market, we have selected 7 marijuana strains that will increase your creativity and social side, improve your mood and motivate you to perform daily activities. We hope you’ll enjoy their vibrant energy!
Sativa plants are known for their uplifting effect
Easy Haze by Philosopher Seeds
Easy Haze is one of the strains included in Philosopher Seeds Classic Line. Coming from a Special K backcross, her euphoric and almost psychedelic effect is ideal to listen to music or enjoy outdoor activities. She is used by many users to improve mood and induce a very pleasant feeling of full happiness.
She grows vigorous but with compact structure, traits inherited from the Yumbolt parent. On the other hand, the Kalimist parent provides its unique incensed and woody scent and intense Sativa effect. Yields are awesome, while THC content can reach 21%.
Whenever government enacts new regulations there will always be some people and businesses that will be unhappy with the new changes. So, it came as no surprise when California embarked on its mission to create a state licensing regime for cannabis businesses (as well as personal use) that issues would arise. What made enacting cannabis regulations in California so difficult is that ever since Californians voted for the Compassionate Use Act in 1996 (a/k/a Prop 215), cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, and dispensaries were operating without regulations in what everyone conveniently called the legal “grey” area (a Michael Cohen area of practice).
That all changed when the state legislature passed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) in 2015 and a majority of the good people of California voted in favor of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act in 2016 (AUMA). In June of 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 94 (a/k/a the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act a/k/a MAUCRSA).MAUCRSA merged medical and adult-use cannabis activities under one regulatory regime and empowered three state agencies to license and regulate the commercial cannabis industry: The California Department of Food and Agriculture (cultivators, processors, and nurseries); the Department of Public Health (manufacturers); and the Bureau of Cannabis Control (distributors, retailers, delivery-only retailers, microbusinesses, and testing labs). …
Glaucoma is a deteriorating eye disease that affects many people across Canada. Using medical marijuana to treat glaucoma can help patients alleviate symptoms. While it can be effective at providing pain relief, this medication isn’t without its critics, which leaves some wondering whether this medication is truly effective.
In this series of posts we’re taking a comprehensive look at a range of techniques used by growers to shape cannabis plants and facilitate cultivation. Pruning and training are essential tools to control the way our plants grow, whether to restrict height, maximise yields or as a management tool for the indoor cultivator trying to control multiple varieties in one grow space.
Pruning plants is a great way to maximise flower sites
When discussing these techniques, we can essentially split them into two basic types of method:
Destructive pruning methods that effect some kind of damage on the plant, like pinching out, FIM, super-cropping etc.
Non-destructive training techniques designed to minimise damage, such as LST (Low Stress Training), SCROG, etc.
Choosing between pruning or training as a method to control your plants is largely a matter of personal preference. Many gardeners dislike the “destructive” methods, which effectively damage the plant as part of the process, provoking a certain amount of stress and creating potential entry points for infection in the wounds left behind. For this reason some growers prefer to use non-destructive methods of bending and tying-down to control height and shape plants, an approach known as LST or Low Stress Training, which we examine in detail in another post. In this article we’re going to concentrate on …
California has 58 counties and 482 incorporated cities across the state, each with the option to create its own rules or ban marijuana altogether. In this California Cannabis Countdown series, we cover who is banning cannabis, who is embracing cannabis (and how), and everyone in between. For each city and county, we’ll discuss its location, history with cannabis, current law, and proposed law to give you a clearer picture of where to locate your California cannabis business, how to keep it legal, and what you will and won’t be allowed to do.