Cannabis

In a much-anticipated move, sources recently reported that the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) will recommend rescheduling cannabis from a Schedule I substance to a Schedule III substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act.[1] This recommendation will likely be based on the Health and Human Services Report, which evaluated scientific evidence of cannabis use for medical purposes and determined that cannabis does have accepted medical value with a higher safety profile than Schedule II medications.[2] The DEA’s recommendation is also in line with President Biden’s directive for the Federal government to take steps to review how cannabis is presently scheduled under federal law.[3] In response
Continue Reading Bridging the Gap: Cannabis Rescheduling to Align Policy with Research

On April 26, 2024, Ctrl Alt Destroy, Inc. (“CAD”), a California Corporation and cannabis licensee filed a lawsuit against Nicole Elliott in her official capacity as Director of the State of California’s Department of Cannabis Control (“DCC”) and Rob Bonta in his official capacity as Attorney General of the State of California, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”) is unconstitutional under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution and is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).
Continue Reading Cannabis Operator Challenges California State Statute and Regulations Requiring Labor Peace Agreements

In BBK Tobacco & Foods LLP v. Cent. Coast Agric., Inc., 97 F.4th 668 (9th Cir. 2024), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that federal district courts have power to adjudicate trademark applications pursuant to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1119, provided that the litigation involves infringement of a registered trademark.
Continue Reading Divided 9th Circuit Says District Court Has Power to Adjudicate TM Applications

On August 29, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made a groundbreaking recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – that cannabis should be rescheduled from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This recommendation was made pursuant to President Biden’s request that the Secretary of HHS and the Attorney General initiate a process to review how cannabis is scheduled under federal law. In recent days, the unredacted 252-page analysis supporting the August recommendation was released pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request. While the DEA is presently reviewing HHS’s recommendation
Continue Reading Cannabis Rescheduling: HHS Findings and Legal Implications

On October 7, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 700 into law, amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). SB 700, effective January 1, 2024, expressly prohibits employers from requesting information from job applicants relating to their prior cannabis use.
Continue Reading High Protections on Information Relating to Employees’ Cannabis Use

On August 29, 2023, less than one year after President Biden’s directive to federal officials, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and the U.S. Attorney general, to conduct a review of cannabis’ classification under federal law,[1] HHS submitted a letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) recommending a change in cannabis’ classification under the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”).
Continue Reading Reclassifying Cannabis as a Schedule III Substance – Will the DEA Agree?

On June 13, 2023, the Second Appellate District affirmed the City of Pomona’s use of a statutory exemption for its Commercial Cannabis Overlay Permit Program under California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines section 15183, finding that the program required no additional environmental review. The decision in Lucas v. City of Pomona is noteworthy for the appellate court’s broad interpretation of the statutory exemption,[1] holding that (i) the City’s zoning ordinance, General Plan Update, and environmental impact report (EIR) that do not address “density” may be exempt under CEQA Guidelines section 15183, and (ii) uses, including cannabis-related uses, that are
Continue Reading Commercial Cannabis Permit Program and Overlay District Statutorily Exempt Under CEQA Guideline Section 15183

It is well known that between New York’s enactment of the Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act (commonly known as the Cannabis Law) on March 31, 2021 and the slower than anticipated adoption of regulations for adult-use cannabis retailers and implementation of the Act there have been few (and in some geographic areas of the state, no) licensed retail dispensaries opened for the sale of adult-use of cannabis and cannabis related products. As a result, there has been a proliferation of unlicensed retailers (often referred to as “sticker shops” because the sale of stickers comes with the “gift” of cannabis products) selling
Continue Reading New York Landlords May Get Stuck with the Bill for Unlicensed Cannabis Sticker Shops

Last summer, the Washington D.C. Council unanimously passed a bill that prohibits employers from refusing to hire, terminating, suspending, failing to promote, demote, or otherwise penalizing any employee who uses marijuana, even if they fail a drug test. In October 2022, the bill, referred to as the D.C. Marijuana Protections Amendment Act of 2022, was signed by Mayor Bowser. The law goes into effect on or after July 13, 2023.[1] 
Continue Reading On the Horizon: Broad Employment Protections for Marijuana Users in the District of Columbia

On November 10, 2022, in the matter Variscite NY One, Inc. v. State of New York, et al., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York granted the plaintiff’s a motion for a preliminary injunction against the State of New York (“NYS”), the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”), and the Executive Officer of the OCM, Christopher Alexander issuing any cannabis licenses under NYS’s conditional adult-use retail dispensary (“CAURD”) application program in 5 of the state’s 14 geographic regions.
Continue Reading Federal Judge in NY Issues Preliminary Injunction to Block Retail Cannabis Licenses on Constitutional Grounds

This article was originally published in the November/December issue of ELFA’s Equipment Leasing & Finance magazine.

In mid-July 2022, the United States House of Representatives passed provisions that would allow legitimate cannabis-related businesses to access federally regulated financial services. This marks the seventh time the House has approved a version of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The original version of federal cannabis banking reform was introduced nine years ago by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo). The passage of the SAFE Banking Act, either as stand-alone legislation or as amendments attached to must-pass bills, would prohibit federal banking regulators from
Continue Reading Federal Cannabis Banking Reform: What Happened?

California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Health & Safety Code § 25249.5 et seq.) (“Prop 65”) is a California law that prohibits any person in the course of doing business from “knowingly and intentionally expos[ing]” individuals to listed carcinogens and reproductive toxins without adequate warning. Recently, in Environmental Health Advocates, Inc. v. Sream, Inc., 83 Cal. App. 5th 721 (2022), the First District Court of Appeal had the opportunity to interpret the word “expose” as used in Health & Safety Code § 25249.6, concluding that possible indirect contact with a listed Prop 65 chemical, depending on
Continue Reading Up In Smoke – CA Court of Appeal Dismisses Prop 65 Case Against Water Pipe Manufacturer Narrowly Construing The Term “Expose”

In a historic move, today, President Joe Biden announced a three-step program to bring broad changes to federal cannabis policy. As an initial step towards reform, President Biden will pardon all federal offenders convicted of simple marijuana possession. According to administration officials, the pardons will be issued through an administration process overseen by the Department of Justice. Those eligible for the pardons will receive documentation showing they were officially forgiven for their crime.
Continue Reading BREAKING NEWS: Biden to Pardon Federal Marijuana Possession Convictions

Acting in one fell swoop, on September 18, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed 10 cannabis-related legislative bills into law. These bills, which touch on issues that run the gamut of the cannabis industry, are intended to “strengthen California’s cannabis laws, expand the legal cannabis market and redress the harms of cannabis prohibition.” Senate Bill 1326 is the most widely recognized bill of the group, and authorizes the Governor the power to sign cannabis trade agreements with other states where cannabis is legal. Other bills address employment protection, labelling, use of cannabis in veterinary medicine and taxation. In his press release,
Continue Reading In One Day, California Governor Signs Into Law Ten Cannabis Bills, Including Authorization for Interstate Commerce