Last week, three of our California cannabis attorneys gave a one hour presentation on California’s Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”). Topics discussed included vertical integration, multiple license ownership, major changes between the MAUCRSA and the MCRSA, and what license applicants can expect as rulemaking continues. Though more than 1500 of you signed up, we also received a large number of requests to post it on our blog from many who could not attend, and we do so now, below.

You can also find the handout we distributed during the webinar here.


Marijuana or cannabis

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s quote — as one would expect — is extremely rational. There is no reason for cannabis to be illegal now, nor for it to have been made illegal in the first place. As deGrasse Tyson points out, alcohol is legal and it has more known health detriments than cannabis. Similarly, tobacco is legal, and that too is more detrimental to one’s health than cannabis. Keeping cannabis illegal is irrational and unscientific. We are not calling for prohibiting alcohol or cigarettes. We are here though to use them as a basis for legalizing cannabis.

And if a great scientist sees the rationality in that, are we off base in wondering why our government cannot?


California cannabis eventYou’ve got only a few days left to register for Tuesday’s free webinar on California’s Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”), which will take place from 12-1 pm Pacific. MAUCRSA, which effectively repealed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MCRSA”), combines both medical and recreational cannabis into one regulatory scheme. Presented by Hilary Bricken, Alison Malsbury, and Habib Bentaleb, this webinar will address what this new legislation means for your California cannabis business. The attorneys will discuss:

  • Vertical integration
  • Ownership of multiple licenses
  • Distributorship
  • Major changes between MAUCRSA and MCRSA
  • What we can learn from the withdrawn MCRSA draft rules
  • General expectations for license applicants as rulemaking continues
  • Audience questions

Please register for this free webinar here. We look forward to your attendance!

Oregon cannabisThis week, Republican lawmakers blocked the “Veterans Equal Access” amendment from the Veteran Affairs (VA) department’s funding bill for the coming year. This amendment proposed VA doctors consider medical cannabis as a possible pain reliever for patients in states with legal medical marijuana and advise interested patients accordingly. VA doctors are currently not permitted to recommend (or even discuss) medical marijuana, even though many veterans use cannabis as an alternative to opioids for relief of PTSD and pain.

We have been writing since 2015 about the issue of veterans’ access to medical cannabis and unfortunately very little has changed since then. Our veterans deserve better. This is indeed a matter of life and death and yet our government will not act. How sad.


In a major turn of events, California recently passed the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”), effectively repealing the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MCRSA”) and combining California’s medical and recreational cannabis laws into one master regulatory regime. To help you better understand what MAUCRSA means for your cannabis business, three of our California attorneys will host a free webinar on August 8, 2017 from 12 pm to 1 pm Pacific Time. Los Angeles-based Hilary Bricken will moderate San Francisco-based Alison Malsbury and Habib Bentaleb in a discussion on vertical integration and ownership of multiple licenses, distributorship, and major changes to the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, as well as what California cannabis license applicants can expect more generally from the Bureau of Cannabis Control as rulemaking continues throughout the remainder of the year. In addition, the attorneys will address questions from the audience both during and at the end of the webinar.

To register for this free webinar, please click here. We look forward to your joining us!

Chance the Rapper on Cannabis

Congratulations to Chance the Rapper, who made the above statement in his acceptance speech for the BET Humanitarian Award earlier this week. Chance’s words highlight an important point: many remain in prison for cannabis-related crimes, yet in eight states, there are people selling cannabis legally according to the legislation of their respective states.

Does that make sense to you? Is that in any way fair? Should anyone be in prison for cannabis? Are cannabis laws applied fairly across all demographics and geographies? If someone is imprisoned for cannabis in a state where cannabis has been legalized, should they be set free in light of legalization? Should cannabis be legalized across all states and if so, should people imprisoned for cannabis be set free when legalization finally happens? Should or could the cannabis industry do more to assist or include those  imprisoned for cannabis? Do these questions have a bearing on, as Chance says, making the world a better place?

We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.


Last week on Quotable Saturday, we wrote about the utter insanity of Sessions’ May 1 letter to Congress opposing the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. Sessions’ letter opposes the restrictions put in place by the amendment, claiming it would be unwise to “restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions,” meaning he wants free reign to go after medical marijuana businesses — including state compliant ones.

In the above quote, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden nicely captures Sessions’ inconsistent stance on states’ rights. Sessions supports states’ rights only when the state adheres to his opinions. Sessions is opposed to cannabis in all forms. He is opposed to the people who use it. He is opposed to the states that have legalized it. And he is fiercely opposed to the companies that grow or sell it. Because of this, he throws states’ rights out the window, even though cannabis is a great example of where it makes sense to let each state experiment on its own.

As our country’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions needs to get in line with the citizens of the country he serves, more than half of whom want medical marijuana legalized. As Attorney General, Jeff Sessions should consider the facts, including (or especially) those that fly in the face of his opinions.

But he doesn’t, and Senator Wyden is right — attempts by the Attorney General to go after law abiding citizens that use cannabis truly does run contrary not only to scientific fact, but to common sense as well. We need to start calling Sessions’ words and actions what they truly are: a propagandized vendetta.

Cannabis and the Drug Epidemic

What is truly “unwise” is Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ has vendetta against pot and his deliberate unwillingness to see the evidence legalization can help in taking down the drug organizations and drug traffickers of which he speaks. What is further unwise is how Sessions lumps those organizations and traffickers in with medical and recreational cannabis businesses that comply  with state law, while at the same time acting as though he supports states’ rights. And what is even more unwise is how Sessions lumps cannabis in with “an historic drug epidemic,” also known as the opioid epidemic, when science has shown multiple times that cannabis actually assists in quelling that very same epidemic.

Maybe we need to come to the simple conclusion that Sessions is perhaps just deeply unwise, at least when it comes to cannabis.

Do you agree?

Legalize cannabis

Of course Jesse Ventura is right. Cannabis is both an invaluable resource medicinally and a boost for the economy. Cannabis generates huge tax revenue (which will only continue to increase), and creates a vast number of jobs. It has been projected that by 2020, the cannabis industry will have created a quarter of a million jobs, and that’s with only eight states having legalized recreational cannabis. If we, as Jesse Ventura suggests, legalize cannabis in all fifty states, we would create millions of new jobs.

The other thing Ventura gets right here is the need to destigmatize cannabis. Even in places with state-legal cannabis, the stigma remains — the product of decades of Reefer Madness-esque propaganda and the inane drug policies of the War on Drugs. We need to make sure the Trump Administration’s anti-cannabis bias from perpetuating and adding to the stigma. Ending the stigma and legalizing the plant go hand and hand and we need to work at both.

You agree, right?

On June 1st, three of our Los Angeles and San Francisco attorneys, Hilary Bricken, Alison Malsbury, and Habib Bentaleb, put on a webinar on California’s new MCRSA rules. Nearly 1500 signed up for this. Topics covered include cannabis licensing issues for California Retailers, Distributors, Transporters, Manufacturers and Cultivators, and audience questions.

You can find the handouts distributed during the webinar here and here.