marijuana oregon seminar

On June 7, our own Vince Sliwoski will chair an all-day continuing legal education (CLE) event called The Business of Marijuana in Oregon, along with Jesse Sweet, a lawyer and senior policy analyst at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). This will be Vince’s fourth year presenting at the event and his third year as chair. 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. 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 new to the space. Over the next year or so, we expect to see a fair amount of market consolidation throughout the Oregon cannabis industry. (See our most recent observations on the “state of the State” here).

Oregon attorneys and business owners alike need to be familiar with the unique regulatory concepts and industry dynamics that will be discussed on June 7, in order to best serve the Oregon cannabis industry. These concepts 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 regulators, bankers, CPAs, and, of course, lawyers aplenty.

We hope you will join us on June 7 for an eight-hour survey of Oregon cannabis 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.

intellectual property marijuana cannabis

We have been counting down the days until this Thursday at 12pm PST, when Harris Bricken will present a free, lunch-hour webinar entitled “Intellectual Property in the Cannabis Industry.” Registrations for this webinar have been impressive to date, and we expect the number to continue to surge in the next 48 hours.

Protecting and monetizing intellectual property (IP) in the cannabis industry is an important but challenging step for most businesses. The market is highly dynamic and competitive, and in addition to state and local rules, federal law creates an unusual environment. Several cannabis businesses have established significant market share through the creation and leveraging of intellectual property. Others have been served demand letters or lawsuits because their branding allegedly infringes upon existing protected IP – whether owned by cannabis businesses or non-cannabis businesses. As a corporate cannabis law firm serving the marijuana industry since 2010, we have seen just about every possible scenario.

This webinar is designed to help you gain a high-level understanding of cannabis IP and how to use it. Vince Sliwoski will moderate a discussion by intellectual property attorneys Alison Malsbury, John Mansfield, and Mike Atkins, who will provide a detailed overview of what you need to know to protect your cannabis brand. The attorneys will cover topics such as the following:

  • Categories of goods and services eligible for IP protection
  • Federal protections available to cannabis businesses
  • The importance of copyrights, trade secrets, patents, and trademarks to your cannabis business
  • IP hurdles cannabis business owners frequently encounter
  • IP licensing, both within state borders and across state lines
  • How to avoid cannabis IP disputes, and what to do in the case of a dispute

Questions will be taken throughout the presentation. To register for this free webinar, please go here. We look forward to this discussion!

In the meantime, feel free to check out some of our other recent webinars, to get a feel for what to expect on Thursday:

Our own Hilary Bricken will have the great pleasure of speaking at the Central Coast Wine and Weed Symposium (presented by the Wine Industry Network) tomorrow, May 10, in San Louis Obispo. While the Symposium will focus on a variety of topics covering the cross section of the wine and cannabis industries, Hilary’s panel will specifically cover “Wineries & Cannabis: What You Can & Can’t Do” in regards to the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”) and its corresponding emergency rules.

The breakdown of Hilary’s panel is as follows:

On January 1st, California finally kicked it off its newly regulated adult use and medical cannabis markets, creating a plethora of business opportunities, some of which will undoubtedly impact the wine industry, both positively and negatively. However, acquiring state licenses and local approval to operate within the confines of the law can be challenging, costly and confusing, as state regulations and tax policies remain a work in progress and local commercial cannabis ordinances are different from one county and city to the next. In addition, with three separate state agencies taking on the comprehensive regulation of all kinds of cannabis businesses, understanding regulations across agencies is of the utmost importance to would-be cannabis entrepreneurs.

This interactive session, featuring leading cannabis legal experts, will address questions regarding what’s permitted and what’s not including but not limited to analyzing distribution restrictions, prohibited products, packaging and labeling, quality assurance standards, consumer protections, brand and advertising restrictions, as well as the overall temporary and annual state licensing, taxation, operational and reporting requirements, and the expected costs of and barriers to entry.

Hilary’s fellow panelists are heavy hitters in their own regard–Amanda Ostrowitz, an attorney, as well as founder and CEO of the very popular CannaRegs, and Rebecca Stamey-White, a partner at Hinman & Carmichael, LLP and a very well known and highly respected alcohol and cannabis regulatory attorney. We expect a lively and interesting discussion: Although the wine and cannabis industries don’t always get along, these two industries have a lot more in common than you might think.

For all your questions about wine and cannabis, as well as specifics regarding the regulatory challenges under MAUCRSA, we sincerely hope you can make it to the Wine & Weed Symposium!

Protecting and monetizing intellectual property (IP) in the cannabis industry is an important but challenging step for most businesses. The market is highly dynamic and competitive, and in addition to state and local rules, federal law creates an unusual environment. Several cannabis businesses have established significant market share through the creation and leveraging of intellectual property. Others have been served demand letters or lawsuits because their branding allegedly infringes upon existing protected IP – whether owned by cannabis businesses or non-cannabis businesses. As a corporate cannabis law firm serving the marijuana industry since 2010, we have seen just about every possible scenario.

On Thursday, May 17, at 12pm PST Harris Bricken will present a lunch-hour webinar entitled “Navigating Intellectual Property in the Cannabis Industry” to help you gain a high-level understanding of cannabis IP and how to use it. Vince Sliwoski will moderate a discussion by intellectual property attorneys Alison Malsbury, John Mansfield, and Mike Atkins, who will provide a detailed overview of what you need to know to protect your cannabis brand. The attorneys will cover topics such as the following:

  • Categories of goods and services eligible for IP protection
  • Federal protections available to cannabis businesses
  • The importance of copyrights, trade secrets, patents, and trademarks to your cannabis business
  • IP hurdles cannabis business owners frequently encounter
  • IP licensing, both within state borders and across state lines
  • How to avoid cannabis IP disputes, and what to do in the case of a dispute

Questions will be taken throughout the presentation. To register for this free webinar, please go here. We look forward to this discussion!

We wrote a few months ago about proposed changes to California’s rules governing temporary events, and last week, we saw the first big casualty of the current permitting requirements under the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”). High Times hosted its Southern California Cannabis Cup over the weekend, but was forced to do so without cannabis sales and without open consumption.

Pursuant to MAUCRSA, a state licensing authority may issue a state temporary marijuana event license to a licensee authorizing onsite cannabis sales to, and consumption by, persons twenty-one years of age or older at a “county fair or district agricultural association event, provided that certain other requirements are met.” One of these requirements is local approval: In all circumstances, licensed commercial cannabis activity must be conducted in accordance not only with state law, but with local law as well.

marijuana cannabis california event
It probably won’t be the first time.

Two days before the event was scheduled to begin, the San Bernardino City Council unanimously (by a 6-0 vote) denied High Times’ permit to conduct the SoCal Cannabis Cup at the National Orange Show Events Center. This denial was based on an ordinance passed the week prior that requires city approval for these types of cannabis events within city limits. The City Council also noted High Times’ failure to meet the 60-day advance lead time required for event approval pursuant to state law.

High Times opted to host the event without a temporary event permit, and without any cannabis vending or authorized cannabis consumption. Prior to the event, a High Times spokesman told Leafly that “any cannabis consumption at the three-day event will be strictly bring-your-own.” This strategy presents its own problems, where nothing in MAUCRSA permits any person to:

  • Smoke or ingest cannabis or cannabis products in a public place;
  • Smoke cannabis or cannabis products in a location where smoking tobacco is prohibited; or
  • Smoke cannabis or cannabis products within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present.

High Times also indicated that it intended to utilize an “interpretation of pre-legalization regulations governing medicinal collectives and cooperatives” by creating a cannabis consumption area accessible only by people with a doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis. But there is nothing in Proposition 215 that explicitly authorizes these types of consumption areas, or renders them exempt from local law approval.

In fact, earlier last week the Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) issued a notice to all stakeholders clarifying that “lawful participation by bureau licensees in any temporary cannabis event that allows sales and/or consumption is dependent upon issuance of the appropriate licenses from the bureau,” and that licensees participating in unlicensed events would be subject to disciplinary action. The notice went on to state that although qualified patients and their caregivers that continue to operate collectively or cooperatively without a state cannabis license are not subject to certain state criminal sanctions based solely on their cultivation or manufacturing of cannabis for medicinal purposes pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 11362.775 until the section is repealed on January 9, 2019, there is nothing in the Code that authorizes “collectives” or “cooperatives” to participate in cannabis events, commonly known as “Proposition 215” events, where cannabis is sold and/or consumed.

In High Times’ cases, the BCC was actually willing to permit the SoCal Cannabis Cup if the City Council approved. But as we all know by now, cities and counties have extensive authority to regulate commercial cannabis activity, and without local approval these activities will not be legal.

For more on California cannabis events and social consumption, see:

california marijuana cannabis

Tomorrow and Friday, at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel in Santa Monica, Hilary Bricken will be chairing a CLE on California Cannabis Laws and Rules, with a specific focus on SoCal’s cannabis business and regulatory scene. The event will be produced by The Seminar Group. You can see a copy of the agenda here.

In addition to our own Jim Hunt, Julie Hamill, and Alison Malsbury, some of the featured speakers include:

Lori Ajax, Chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, was appointed by Governor Brown in February 2016. Prior to her appointment, she served as Chief Deputy Director at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control where she spent 22 years working her way up the ranks, starting at the investigator trainee level.

Fiona Ma, CPA, Board Member, California State Board of Equalization (BOE), District 2, represents 23 counties and nearly ten million Californians in her District. As one of the few Certified Public Accountants to serve on the BOE, she is a strong voice for businesses and taxpayers – taking the lead in clearing the haze around the cannabis industry by holding informative stakeholder meetings discussing key issues.

Cat Packer was appointed by City of Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, in August 2017 as the first Executive Director of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation. The Department of Cannabis Regulation is a newly-established city entity tasked with cannabis policy implementation and licensing commercial cannabis activity within the City.

Avis Bulbulyan is the CEO of SIVA Enterprises, a full-service cannabis business development and consulting firm that provides state licensing, management, venture opportunities, product and brand development, and insurance to entrepreneurs across the United States. He oversees corporate direction, business development and strategy, facilitating company activity in consulting, alliances and channels, marketing, investments and operations.

This seminar will cover topics directly relevant to California’s medical and recreational cannabis laws and regulations under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and California cannabis businesses, including state and local licensing and approval structures, various local laws and land use issues and concerns, including in the City of Los Angeles, cannabis investment in California, intellectual property and patent registration and policing, a banking update, California hemp laws and regulation, emerging areas in cannabis commercial litigation, various real estate issues around commercial leases and property purchases for cannabis uses, taxes and the treatment of cannabis income under IRC 280E, California cannabis water rights and licensing requirements, and a boots on the ground perspective from actual cannabis operators in the State of California.

For a $100 discounted entry into this two-day seminar, call The Seminar Group at 800-574-4852 and specify code FAC100 – or register online here and enter that code where specified.

Hope to see you there!

california cannabis events
Coming soon to a cannabis friendly town near you?

We receive calls on a weekly basis from clients and prospective clients who want to know what steps they must take to host a cannabis event. We’ve heard plans for cooking classes, dinner parties, shows at art galleries with on-site consumption, and the list goes on. And while the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”) does provide for state temporary event licenses, those licenses are unfortunately extremely limited.

Pursuant to MAUCRSA, a state licensing authority may issue a state temporary marijuana event license to a licensee authorizing onsite cannabis sales to, and consumption by, persons twenty-one years of age or older at a “county fair or district agricultural association event, provided that certain other requirements are met.” No other venue is allowed.

The hypothetical events I listed above do not constitute a “county fair” or a “district agricultural event,” and so technically, even if a local jurisdiction were entirely willing to issue a special event license for one of these types of events, it would not be permissible under state law. Assembly Bill 2641, introduced on February 15th, seeks to remedy this problem.

AB 2641 would authorize the Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) to issue the temporary event licenses, and would authorize a state temporary event license to be issued for “an event to be held at any other venue expressly approved by the local jurisdiction.” The BCC would not be authorized to approve a state temporary cannabis event license for a given event unless the local jurisdiction in which the event is to be held has approved.

The bill would also authorize the BCC to issue a temporary cannabis retailer license to a licensed cannabis manufacturer or a licensed cannabis cultivator for the retail sale and deliver of cannabis or cannabis products to customers at a licensed temporary cannabis event, and the license would be valid only for the duration of that particular temporary cannabis event.

Temporary cannabis retailer licensees would need to be valid manufacturing or cultivation licensees. A temporary cannabis retailer licensee would only be authorized to sell cannabis or cannabis products manufactured or cultivated by that licensee. And of course, temporary cannabis retailer licensees must comply with all other requirements imposed on retailers.

Perhaps because cannabis events are such a desirable option for many people, AB 2641 is not the only bill of its kind. Last week, we covered Assembly Bill 2020, which also gives local jurisdictions the right to approve and permit events. The bills are quite similar, with AB 2641 slightly more detailed on requirements that event licensees sell only cannabis that they themselves have cultivated.

Given the demand for a wide array of cannabis events, we see the overlapping proposals of AB 2641 and AB 2020 as a welcome moves that would grant local jurisdictions flexibility in determining what types of special events they wish to approve. And it may mean that soon, our clients will finally be able to host all those creative events they’ve been planning.

marijuana event california
Like this, but with cannabis.

In order for a business to succeed, it has to create a connection with customers. This is especially true if the product sold is one that customers consume. Think about the importance of tasting rooms for wineries, or of tap rooms for breweries (especially craft brewers). These venues allow customers to connect with a product in a social setting, giving those businesses a valuable marketing platform.

When the California state legislature passed the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), it granted local jurisdictions authority to regulate on-site marijuana consumption for retailers and microbusinesses, and temporary cannabis events. The focus of this post is on temporary events, but first, a quick refresher on the microbusiness license type is in order. A microbusiness is a cannabis licensee that must engage in at least three of the following commercial cannabis activities:

  • Cultivation (up to 10,000 square feet);
  • Manufacturing (Type 6 only);
  • Distribution; or
  • Retail.

All three (or four) of the commercial cannabis activities need to take place on the same premises. If a microbusiness chooses to cultivate, manufacture, and conduct sales, it would give that business a great opportunity to directly connect with its customers and tell a story. This is even truer if the local jurisdiction allows for on-site consumption. (For additional information on the microbusiness license type, see my thoughts here for Leafly Magazine.)

Now, back to temporary cannabis events. The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) is the agency in charge of regulating and issuing temporary cannabis event licenses. If done right, participating in a cannabis event is another great way to connect and build up your consumer base and brand. There are a number of regulations that cover what is allowed at temporary cannabis events. Here are just a couple of highlights:

  • A temporary cannabis event license can only be issued to a cannabis event organizer.
  • A cannabis event organizer licensee is not authorized or licensed to cultivate, distribute, manufacture, or retail cannabis or cannabis products without first obtaining the appropriate licenses or authorizations to engage in such commercial cannabis activities.
  • No temporary cannabis event license will be issued for more than 4 days. Temporary cannabis event licenses will not be issued separately for consecutive days for the same event.
  • An application for a temporary cannabis event license shall be submitted to the BCC no less than 60 days before the first day of the cannabis event.
  • Cannabis sales at the event can only be conducted by a licensed cannabis retailer or microbusiness license holder.
  • Cannabis goods sold on site must be transported to the site by a licensed cannabis distributor.
  • Cannabis consumption is allowed but access to the consumption area shall be restricted to persons 21 years of age or older.
  • All cannabis goods at a cannabis event shall be in compliance with the state’s testing, labeling, packaging, and track and trace requirements.
  • Sale or consumption of alcohol or tobacco shall not be allowed on the premises.

What I didn’t mention is where these cannabis special events can take place. Under MAUCRSA, cannabis special events can only take place at a county fair or district agricultural association event. Restricting cannabis events to these locales eliminates California’s largest cities from hosting them. State Assemblyman Bill Quirk is seeking to rectify this through Assembly Bill 2020 (AB 2020). This bill was introduced last week and its most important provision can be found in Section 26200 (a)(1)(e), which provides:

“This division does not prohibit the issuance of a state temporary event license to a licensee authorizing onsite cannabis sales to, and consumption by, persons 21 years of age or older at a county fair or fair event, district agricultural association event, or at another venue expressly approved by a local jurisdiction for the purpose of holding temporary events of this nature, provided that the activities, at a minimum, comply with the requirements of paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, of subdivision (g), that all participants are licensed under this division, and that the activities are otherwise consistent with regulations promulgated and adopted by the bureau governing state temporary event licenses. These temporary event licenses shall only be issued in local jurisdictions that authorize such events.”

The goal of AB 2020 is to give ALL local jurisdictions the flexibility to determine when, where, or if they want to hold a cannabis special event within their borders. One of the first supporters of AB 2020 is the city of Oakland, which has shown an interest in adding cannabis sales at its Art and Soul Festival. If Oakland is able to add cannabis to an already popular festival – which might prove difficult, since Art and Soul is an all ages event – other cities are sure to follow.

AB 2020 is eligible to be heard in committee next month. We will be sure to keep you posted on its progress.

In case you missed our webinar on getting a license in compliance with California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”), the video replay is below.

Check back next week for the recording of our cannabis litigation webinar, the final webinar in our lunch-time webinar series.

And for a re-run of our recent webinar on webinar on the “Rights, Opportunities, and Responsibilities of Municipalities Regulating Cannabis”, go here.

Enjoy!