cannabis law events

February’s webinar “West coast Hemp-CBD After the Farm Bill” was a success! All of those involved at Harris Bricken enjoy hearing your positive words and questions. For those seeking more of the valuable information throughout the webinar, March holds many opportunities for you to attend events where Harris Bricken attorneys will be presenting. Read on to find out more.

The Seminar Group – Owning and Operating a Winery | March 14, 2:30 PM PST | Wineries and vineyards are subject to a mosaic of legal and regulatory hindrances. Businesses should not just be reactive to regulation but help sculpt it from the ground up. This two-day CLE will take place in Napa California covering a broad range of winery related topics, seeking to arm businesses with up-to-date information from industry pioneers. Hilary Bricken provides guidance in exploring marijuana diversification, including everything from land use ordinances, and water laws to co-locations of regulatory bodies and taxation.

Argent Communications Group – 2019 California Land Use Law & Policy Conference | March 18, 4:30 PM PST | The last few months have seen rapid change to land use laws and regulations. Recreational cannabis is the newest industry affected by the strict land use regulations that state and local Californian governments set in place. Hilary Bricken addresses land use concerns and talks strategy for successful retail sales that will keep the cannabis industry thriving.

Philadelphia Bar institute: 2019 Medical Marijuana & Hemp Law Symposium | March 22, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM | During the Philadelphia Bar Institute’s second annual event, Hilary Bricken will be a part of an expert panel discussing the current state of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.  This symposium will provide an extensive look at the industry and how Pennsylvania’s implementation of its program has and will impact the state.

American Bar Association – Dazed and Confused: Legal Considerations in the Business of Legalized Marijuana | March 28 – 30 | Though cannabis use remains prohibited at a federal level, medicinal cannabis is legal in 32 states and recreationally legal in 10 states, with legalization throughout Canada on October 17. The conflicting laws present unique challenges for business in the cannabis industry to protect and enforce their intellectual property. joined by a panel of experts, Alison Malsbury will provide a in depth view of the varied issues that companies in the cannabis industry should consider when running a marijuana business.

The Seminar Group – The Business of Marijuana | March 28, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (PST) & March 29, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (PST) | This seminar will canvass topics related to California’s medical and recreational cannabis laws.  On day one, Griffen Thorne offers his expertise on Intellectual property and licensing agreements, including: federal and state trademarks; cross-border licensing agreements; the future of intellectual property, and cannabis and hemp. On day two, Daniel Shortt gives a CBD update, focusing on the legal classifications under federal law.  Program Chair, Hilary Bricken, will discuss product liability and insurance as it relates to the cannabis industry.

State Bar of Michigan – Marijuana Law: Wild, Wild West of Marihuana Law | March 28 12:00 PM – March 30 12:00 PM (ET) | The State Bar of Michigan’s Marijuana law section hosts their first out-of-state event in Breckenridge, Colorado. Hilary Bricken will examine the state of marijuana law including business law updates, criminal defense and various other cannabis-related issues.

Join us at these upcoming events!

cannabis marijuana oscars
Now featuring cannabis!

MarketWatch ran an article last week on how this year’s Academy Award swag bags “are packed” with “legal” cannabis. I’m always happy to see an article like this because it means California legalization is working. And yet, these glam-o, cannabis friendly goodie bags are a good reminder to cannabis businesses (and the ancillary businesses that support them) that even if an A-list celebrity is consuming your cannabis or CBD products on or after the red carpet, California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA“) (and federal law) still apply.

According to MarketWatch, this year’s “treasure trove of over-the-top gifts for the acting and directing nominees is packed with cannabis chocolates, CBD beauty products and a year-long VIP membership to L.A.’s first cannabis-friendly social club. Marketing company Distinctive Assets has been gifting the Oscar’s swag for the past 17 years and company founder, Lash Fary, told MarketWatch their 2019 gifts are “directly tied to the broad legalization of cannabis in California last year.”

As much as I hate being a party-pooper – especially for a party as big as the Oscars — as a Los Angeles based cannabis business lawyer, I cannot resist mentioning my own legal concerns about these swag bags. Under MACURSA and Prop. 64, individual adults 21 and up can gift up to an ounce of cannabis (or its infused equivalent) without fear of state or local prosecution so long as there’s no financial compensation. But this gifting rule is far more complicated for cannabis business licensees. MAUCRSA is clear that cannabis licensees “shall not give away any amount of cannabis or cannabis products, or any cannabis accessories, as part of a business promotion or other commercial activity” and cannabis retailers “cannot provide free cannabis goods to any person” other than a medical cannabis patient as defined by Section 11362.71 of the Health & Safety Code.

This means that if the cannabis in the swag bags is given by cannabis businesses as part of “a business promotion or other commercial activity,” those businesses probably will violate MAUCRSA. I say this because this cannabis swag is probably being given to the Academy Award attendees and Hollywood A-listers as a “business promotion,” especially since a marketing company is involved in the gifting, and I assume the entire point is to elevate the profile of the companies involved amongst powerful circles of potential future consumers.

A lot of cannabis “brand” power is also contained in these Oscar bags, which is pretty interesting given the legal challenges posed by Section 5032 of the Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) regulations. If any of the cannabis products in the bags utilize a third party’s intellectual property (“IP”)–and luxury branding (or really any branding) in cannabis remains huge– there may end up being issues under Section 5032. Still, the BCC will not say whether this rule requires cannabis IP licensors to have their own commercial cannabis license in California. The BCC’s own comments to this rule indicate that it does not apply to manufacturers, but the rule itself clearly encompasses manufacturing activity and manufactured products (as well as flower). Since many (most?) California cannabis companies hold their IP in separate companies and/or license their IP from well-known operators in other states, section 5032 may or may not cause serious legal headaches here.

These swag bas also contain CBD products, which could get people in trouble with the California Department of Public Health Food and Drug Branch. MarketWatch mentions that some of the CBD products are topicals and beauty products, which the infamous California FDB FAQs (see also here) do not address and which the Federal Food and Drug Administration may also deem unlawful because it generally considers hemp derived CBD to be unlawful under the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. And if there are foods or beverages in those bags that contain CBD, they also violate both state and federal laws according to the FDB and the FDA.

Finally, seeing as how the City of Los Angeles does not yet allow onsite consumption at MAUCRSA-licensed retail or microbusiness facilities within the City, I also wonder to what the MarketWatch article was referring when it mentioned “L.A.’s first cannabis-friendly social club” offering VIP memberships in the goodie bags.

Though I have my doubts about the legality of this cannabis swag under California state law, and even though the gifting and receipt of the bags is undoubtedly federally illegal drug trafficking, I cannot help but applaud everyone behind these cannabis gifts: it’s brave and it’s bold. When a nationally significant and hugely watched event like the Oscars is willing to take the risk of openly gifting cannabis and CBD on one of the world’s biggest stages, you know there has been a major, positive societal shift regarding cannabis.

Congress passed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (better known as the “Farm Bill”) in December 2018 which removed hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act. This further resulted in hemp-based cannabidiol or “hemp-CBD” legalization. Despite their federally legal status, hemp-CBD products are now more in question than ever, different state and federal agencies have proposed drastically different regulations throughout every facet of the hemp-CBD industry.

If you are a hemp-CBD business, have interest in the industry or are interested in the state and future of hemp-CBD legality, please join us tomorrow, February 21, 2019 at noon (PST) for the latest installment in our lunchtime webinar series. This session is entitled “West Coast Hemp-CBD After the Farm Bill.”

In this hour-long session, Harris Bricken lawyers Daniel Shortt (Seattle, Washington), Nathalie Bougenies (Portland, Oregon), and Griffen Thorne (Los Angeles, California) will provide an in-depth look at changes in federal law and policy post Farm bill, as well as its impact on each of the three west coast states (Washington, Oregon, and California). Throughout the presentation our team will also discuss the status of laws and regulations in each state. Some of the topics we will cover include:

  • the future of hemp permitting;
  • Farm Bill implications for Internal Revenue Code section 280E;
  • banking for hemp-CBD businesses;
  • intellectual property for hemp-CBD businesses;
  • CBD in food, beverages, vape cartridges, oils, topicals, and other products; and
  • the Food and Drug Administration’s role in hemp-CBD.

With an industry that is projected to be worth $20 billion by 2022, interest in hemp is at in an all-time high. Make sure you don’t miss out on this valuable information! The webinar will be moderated by Hilary Bricken, with our panel of attorneys addressing audience questions throughtout the presentations. Please register for the event here! Should you have any further questions, please feel free to reach us at firm@harrisbricken.com.

hemp cbd farm act

In December 2018, Congress passed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (better known as the “Farm Bill”). Among other things, the passage of the bill removed industrial hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act, allowing legal production of the crop. Despite this landmark legislation, pitfalls still lay on the path ahead. The legality of many industrial-hemp derived cannabidiol (“CBD”) products is in question now more than ever, with different states and federal agencies taking vastly different approaches on every facet of the hemp CBD industry.

Interest in hemp is at an all-time high, and with an industry that has a potential to be worth $20 billion by 2022, it is easy to see why. If you are a hemp CBD business, have interest in the industry or are interested in the state and future of hemp CBD legality, please join us on February 21, 2019 at noon (PST) for the latest installment in our lunchtime webinar series entitled “West Coast Hemp CBD After the Farm Bill.”

In this hour-long session, Harris Bricken lawyers Daniel Shortt (Seattle, Washington), Nathalie Bougenies (Portland, Oregon), and Griffen Thorne (Los Angeles, California) will provide an in-depth look at changes in federal law and policy post Farm bill, as well as its impact on each of the three west coast states (Washington, Oregon, and California). Throughout the presentation our team will also discuss the status of laws and regulations in each state. Some of the topics we will cover include:

  • the future of hemp permitting;
  • Farm Bill implications for Internal Revenue Code section 280E;
  • banking for hemp CBD businesses;
  • intellectual property for hemp CBD businesses;
  • CBD in food, beverages, vape cartridges, oils, topicals, and other products; and
  • the Food and Drug Administration’s role in hemp CBD.

With moderator Hilary Bricken, our panel of attorneys will address audience questions throughout the presentation. Please register for the event here! Should you have any further questions, please feel free to reach us at firm@harrisbricken.com.

washington cannabis employment law

Please note that this event has been postponed until further notice.

Owning a cannabis business can feel like you’re drowning in various regulation compliances and not actually spending time with your business. The excess of rules and regulations levied by the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB), cannabis-specific regulations, along with an array of state and federal employment laws and regulations can keep any business from blossoming to its fullest. At Harris Bricken we understand your struggles and aim to keep your business thriving.

If you are a WSLCB licensed cannabis business with employees, please join us at noon (PST) on January 29, 2019 for the second of our lunchtime employment law webinar series. Throughout the presentation, Harris Bricken attorney Megan Vaniman will lend her vast knowledge of employment law to ensure that your business is in compliance with Washington regulations. Topics will include:

  • Washington’s Sick Leave Laws
  • Washington’s Ban-the-Box Regulation
  • Washington’s Equal Pay Opportunity Act
  • The difference between independent contractors and employees

Moderated by fellow Harris Bricken attorney Robert McVay, Megan will also address any relevant audience questions throughout the presentation. Please register by clicking here. For any additional questions regarding the webinar, please contact firm@harrisbricken.com. We hope you can join us!

california cannabis seminar san franciscoOn Thursday and Friday of next week, January 17 & 18, our own Daniel Dersham and Julie Hamill will present at a two-day continuing legal education (CLE) event in San Francisco called The Business of Marijuana in Northern California, to discuss cannabis real estate and land use issues in California. The roster of speakers lined up for this CLE includes an array of lawyers, consultants, and business professionals working with the cannabis industry, and everyone, including non-lawyers, would be well served to attend. For a full event description, including topics, speakers and registration links, click here.

Looking back over the past two years since the passage of Prop 64 legalizing adult-use cannabis in California, it is amazing to see how much things have changed in California cannabis. At this point, the state’s adult-use and medicinal cannabis regulatory regime is fully built out, with thousands of license applications now on file with the state. We are proud to call many of these California producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers our clients, alongside the many investors and ancillary service providers we represent.

Now that the California regulatory groundwork has stabilized, local jurisdictions have continued to open up their markets to the cannabis industry, and the legalization and decriminalization movement has continued to forge ahead, cannabis business activity in California is at an all-time high. Many of these new industry entrants bring skills, capital, and experience from other regulated markets, while others are new to the space. California attorneys and business owners alike need to be familiar with the unique regulatory concepts and industry dynamics that will be discussed on January 17 & 18 in order to best serve the California cannabis industry.

Specific topics at this CLE include: state laws and administrative rules, developments in the highly dynamic federal sphere, and practical approaches to working with and in the cannabis industry. Attendees will hear from consultants, lobbyists, business professionals, and, of course, lawyers aplenty, with specialized experience in fields such as insurance, tax, real estate, litigation, intellectual property, investment, and regulatory compliance.

If you are in or around San Francisco next week, we hope you will join us on January 17 & 18 for a two-day exploration of California cannabis law and business that is both broad and deep. And if you are a Harris Bricken client or a friend of the firm, please click here to request a promotional discount code, which can be applied to either the webcast, or to in-person attendance.

See you soon.

employment law oregon cannabisOwning a cannabis business can present formidable challenges. Adhering to the OLCC rules can be complex in and of itself, but your business must also comply with an array of state and federal employment laws and regulations.

If you are an OLCC licensed cannabis business with employees, Harris Bricken employment lawyer Megan Vaniman will present a free webinar tomorrow, December 12, 2018 at 12pm PST to help you better understand these issues. Throughout the presentation, Megan will discuss how to navigate employment law for cannabis businesses, and provide you with tips and tricks to ensure compliance. Topics Include:

  • What to consider when hiring
  • Oregon’s sick leave requirements
  • Oregon and Portland’s “ban-the-box” ordinance
  • Final pay checks
  • Independent Contractor vs Employee designation

Moderated by Harris Bricken cannabis attorney Vince Sliwoski, Megan will also address audience questions throughout the presentation. Please register by clicking here. For any additional questions regarding the webinar, please contact firm@harrisbricken.com. We hope you can join us!

california cannabis CLE ethics

Representing cannabis businesses is fraught with ethical traps. Cannabis businesses require guidance in navigating complex and shifting state and local regulations, and providing that guidance in a federally illegal landscape requires a delicate dance. To learn about and discuss potential pitfalls in representing California cannabis businesses, join us on December 7 at 12pm PST for a webinar entitled “Ethically Navigating Local and State Licensing for Cannabis Businesses.”

At the webinar, attorneys Julie Hamill of Harris Bricken and Ruben Duran of Best Best & Krieger will provide tips on how to traverse the ever-changing landscape of local and state licensing without getting your clients or yourself in trouble. The attorneys will cover changes to the California Rules of Professional Conduct, updates to federal policies and state regulations, and cautionary tales of cannabis attorneys who have found their ethics called into question.

Program Highlights:

  • Continuing tension between state and federal laws
  • Applying the new Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Regional bar association ethics opinions
  • Attorney-Client privilege concerns
  • Public law: conflicts of interest and bribery
  • Real life ethical scenarios

This is an intermediate level program worth 1 MCLE credit in Legal Ethics. Some experience with cannabis law is assumed. Please go here to register!

For more of Julie’s work, please check out the below posts:

cannabis marijuana events

Thanks to Marijuana Business Daily for hosting MJBizCon 2018 in Las Vegas earlier this month! MJBizCon has separated itself from other cannabis conferences in both quality of content presented and sheer number of attendees. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the conference was projected to draw 25,000 attendees, a 50% jump in attendance from last year. When the dust settled, the event actually surpassed that projection, with Marijuana Business Daily reporting that nearly 28,000 people attended the conference.

Contributing to those solid attendance numbers were several folks from Harris Bricken including attorneys Hilary Bricken, Robert McVay, Alison Malsbury, Megan Vaniman, Tatiana Logan, and Julie Hamill, and paralegals Meghan Saunders, Desiree Andersen, Kait LaPorte and Madeline Williams.

To celebrate the occasion, Harris Bricken hosted a pre-conference cocktail party, “Vegas Magic: A Cannabis Industry Soiree.” The sold-out event allowed our team to meet and mingle with cannabis entrepreneurs attending the conference. There was also a magician to keep the crowd entertained. Thanks to the following businesses for providing SWAG (i.e. “Stuff We All Get”) for the Soiree:

If you missed MJBizCon, or if you attended but still have an appetite for more cannabis analysis, we have good news! Our attorneys are speaking at a number of events before the year’s end, including a handful this week and next:

The Seminar Group presents: The Business of Marijuana in Washington State | November 29, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM PST & November 30, 9:00 AM-12:45 PM PST | This two-day CLE will take place at the Crowne Plaza in Seattle. It will cover a wide range of topics relating to Washington cannabis law, with several Harris Bricken attorneys presenting. Robert McVay will chair the event and present on investing in Washington’s marijuana industry. Megan Vaniman will discuss employment law considerations for Washington cannabis businesses. Daniel Shortt will give a presentation on the complex legal considerations for industrial hemp and CBD derived from industrial hemp.

NJCPA presents Cannabis: How it is Working in Other States – CA, CO, WA | November 30, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PST | Hilary Bricken will host a webinar discussing which states have taken a smart approach to legalization and which ones are in need of improvement and how New Jersey should address legalization.

NIA West Fall Conference 2019 | December 4, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM PST | Alison Malsbury will offer guidance on all things cannabis and CBD.

New York University School of Law presents Cannabis: The Path to Regulation and Representation | December 5, 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM EST |  Hilary Bricken will present on ethical and practical issues lawyers face while representing the cannabis industry.

The Seminar Group presents: CLE Bootcamp – Hot Topics in the Law | December 7,  9:00 AM PST | Daniel Shortt will present on the second day of the 17th annual CLE Boot Camp, taking place at the Washington State Convention.  He’ll provide an update on the state of cannabis in Washington and at the federal level, including a summary of recent changes to Washington’s market, an overview of federal law and policy on marijuana and hemp and, a summary of common issues cannabis businesses face.

Ethically Navigating Local and State Licensing for Cannabis Businesses | December 7,  12:00 PM – 1:00 PST | Julie Hamill will provide tips on how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of local and state licensing without getting your clients or yourself in trouble. Topics will include changes to the California Rules of Professional Conduct, and update on federal policies and state regulations, and cautionary tales of cannabis attorneys who have found their ethics called into question.

Free Webinar: Employment Law for Oregon Cannabis Businesses | December 12, 12:00 PM PST | Megan Vaniman will host a webinar focused on how to navigate employment law for cannabis businesses and the employment laws that most affect cannabis businesses in Oregon.

We hope you can join us for these upcoming events!