Ask A Cannabis Lawyer: What Are The Zoning Laws In California?

Posted by Margolin & Lawrence on July 31, 2017


Under S.B. 94, the 482 Cities and and 58 Counties within California have authority to regulate land use and zoning within their jurisdictions. The zoning for cannabis businesses depends on the activity - for example, dispensaries often have different zoning than cannabis manufacturing businesses. Our cannabis lawyers have found that many jurisdictions and ordinances allow for light industrial as one of the more popular zones for cannabis businesses, but it is important to check your local ordinance as it is a location-specific analysis for each city/county. (Moreover, counties or cities that have bans on cannabis activity in place will not provide any zoning information because they have not updated their municipal or county codes to do so).

The City of Los Angeles introduced a Draft Location Ordinance in June 2017. The Draft Location Ordinance specifies the zones where cannabis businesses will be allowed to operate, by activity.  Cannabis cultivation (indoor) and manufacturing will be allowed in limited commercial and industrial zones within the City of Los Angeles. There will also be designated special zones for cannabis businesses such as the Sports and Entertainment Specific Plan Zone and the Los Angeles International Airport Specific Plan Zone.

Retailers or cannabis dispensaries will be properly zoned if they are in the limited commercial and industrial zones in Los Angeles, and are also 800 ft. from recognized existing medical marijuana dispensaries, school, park, public library, rehab center, etc.

Note that for Delivery Operators who exclusively use a building for delivery, sensitive use distancing and buffer zones are not required.

Without the proper zoning, obtaining approval for your building is a non-starter.

Contact us to learn more about the draft Ordinance for the City of Los Angeles, or to discuss the zoning in any other jurisdiction in California with one of our cannabis attorneys.

CA State Agencies Withdraw Draft Regulations

Posted by Margolin & Lawrence on July 26, 2017

New Regulations will be released in Fall 2017 and the agencies will use emergency rulemaking to pass them. 

From the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation: 

Earlier this spring, the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Cannabis Control, Department of Public Health and Department of Food and Agriculture released proposed regulations for the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. These licensing authorities held public hearings and accepted written comments regarding the proposed regulations. However, in late June, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law, the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, which creates one regulatory system for both medicinal and adult-use cannabis. As a result, the licensing authorities will withdraw the proposed medical cannabis regulations noticed for public comment on April 28 and May 5, 2017. The withdrawal is likely to happen early next month.

The three cannabis licensing authorities are each developing new proposed regulations based on the new law for the commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis industries. During this process, the licensing authorities will consider the robust and valuable public comment received regarding the proposed medical cannabis regulations.

The licensing authorities will use the emergency rulemaking process for the new proposed regulations. The emergency regulations are expected to be published in fall 2017. The implementation date for the issuance of commercial cannabis licenses remains the same: January 2, 2018.

For additional information about the Bureau, or to subscribe to email alerts to hear about updates as they become available, please visit our website www.bmcr.ca.gov.

Answers to Your Top 10 Cannabis Business Law FAQs

Posted by Margolin & Lawrence on July 26, 2017

It sounds like a dream, but it's not – a billion dollar black market is now a legitimate business option. If you are an entrepreneur already in the industry and looking to legalize your business, you may be confused or lack foundational knowledge about the new state and local regulations on operating a compliant cannabis business. Below are answers our Los Angeles cannabis lawyers receive most often:

1) Are owners of commercial adult-use and commercial medicinal cannabis companies required to be California residents in order to obtain a license?
No. The residency requirements of the AUMA have been repealed by the MAUCRSA. In other words, “out of staters” and even residents of other countries can freely participate. Read more about the new State Laws in our Guide


2) What area of the commercial cannabis industry is the easiest to break into?
Delivery Service requires the least start up capital and has the fewest barriers to entry.


3) Where is the best place to get a license?

There are 482 cities and 58 counties in California. Each municipality has different requirements. Call us to find out what’s best for you!


4) What type of licenses are available?
Distribution, Cultivation, Manufacturing, Testing, Micro business, Nursery and Retailer.


5) What type of Business Organization do commercial cannabis companies have to be?
Every commercial cannabis business must currently operate as a non-profit (see H&S Code 11362.765(a)), although the laws are expected to change to allow for-profit entities.

 

6) Will my cannabis businesses be discontinued by the federal government?
Hopefully not, as long as you are in strict compliance with state & local laws and your commercial activities are strictly medical.

 

7) How many licenses can an owner have?
The MCRSA does not specifically limit the number of licenses a person may hold of a particular license type; however, it does limit the types of licenses a person may hold at one time. Specifically, testing lab or large cultivation license holders may only hold a license in that specific area.

 

8) Can I have my old marijuana felony dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor?
In many circumstances, yes. Call us to discuss.

 

9) Do I still need a recommendation to buy cannabis?
At the moment, yes! The law for commercial adult use does not go into effect until January 2018.

 

10) Where can I get my complex questions answered?
Contact us   to set up a meeting with our team in Los Angeles or San Francisco. 

Where is Volatile Cannabis Manufacturing Allowed?

Posted by Margolin & Lawrence on July 18, 2017

'Dabbing' and vape pens are some of the newest and most popular methods of consuming cannabis. Instead of smoking marijuana flowers, users ingest cannabis concentrate, otherwise known as wax or oil.

One of the main ways to extract this cannabis concentrate is legally referred to as “volatile manufacturing." "Manufacturing" here refers to all aspects of the cannabis extraction and/or infusion processes, including the processing, preparing, holding, storing, packaging, and/or labeling of cannabis products, as well as the various components and ingredients involved in the production of cannabis. "Volatile," meanwhile, refers to the use of "volatile solvents," which California Senate Bill 94 defines as “volatile organic compounds and dangerous poisons, toxins, or carcinogens."

These types of solvents produce a flammable gas or vapor that, when present in the air in sufficient quantities, will create an explosion or ignite a flame. Of these solvents, the one most commonly used in cannabis extraction is butane. Manufacturing using butane is highly effective for mass production of oil, but it can also be highly dangerous. The major burn treatment centers at two hospitals in Northern California reported in 2015 that nearly 10 percent of severe burn cases were attributed to butane hash oil explosions – more than the amount attributed to car accidents and house fires combined. Due to these hazards, California cannabis manufacturers must obtain a Type 7 / "Manufacturing Level 2" license in order to use volatile solvents. Currently, the cities of Davis, Nevada City, Coachella, Long Beach, and California City are issuing these Type 7 licenses. 

In order to further ensure safe manufacturing, each locality is also requiring chemical extractions using volatile solvents to be subject to the following requirements: (a) Hydrocarbon-based solvents shall be at least 99 percent purity, and (b) all extractions shall be performed in a closed loop extraction system. California is very specific about the nature of the closed loop extraction system: it's required to be commercially manufactured, to be certified by a licensed engineer, and to bear a permanently affixed and visible serial number. The certification document must contain the signature and stamp of a professional engineer, and the serial number of the extraction unit must also be certified. Moreover, professional closed loop systems, the equipment used in conjunction with the extraction operation, and the entire manufacturing facility must be approved for use by the local fire code official and meet any additional fire, safety, and building code requirements.

For more information about California marijuana business and cannabis manufacturing, check our guide to California cannabis laws or email us at info@margolinlawrence.com.

 Contact us

LA's Draft Cannabis Regulations Should Strive For Fairness And More Fun - Our Cannabis Law Op-Ed In The LA Daily News

Posted by Margolin & Lawrence on July 13, 2017

As med. cannabis lawyers, we think LA's regulations should allow for those operators already existing who have had prop D violations to still apply. Moreover, karaoke and cannabis should not make an illegal combo.

Today's Los Angeles Daily News includes a guest editorial on LA's new marijuana regulations by M&L partners Allison Margolin and Raza Lawrence!

Read more on our previous blog posts on Prop D compliance and social equity measures for more information on this field of cannabis law – or email us at info@margolinlawrence.com with any questions!

Ask A Cannabis Lawyer – Are Edibles Legal Under The MAUCRSA?

Posted by Margolin & Lawrence on July 11, 2017

Reflecting the fact that cannabis edibles have become an increasingly popular alternative to smoking marijuana, California's MAUCRSA introduces new regulations on edible cannabis manufacturing. Cannabis manufacturers must take heed of these new limits and regulations to ensure that their products are not only within compliance, but also effective and safe for human consumption.

The MAUCRSA defines an “edible cannabis product” as manufactured cannabis intended for human consumption, either in whole or in part. “Manufacturing” of cannabis is the production, preparation, propagation or compounding of cannabis products. This includes the extraction and infusion processes, packaging, repackaging, labeling and relabeling of manufactured medical cannabis or cannabis products.

According to theLEAFonline, many other forms of manufactured cannabis, including tinctures, have a maximum of up to 1,000 mg of THC. However, under the proposed regulations, edible cannabis products will only be allowed to contain 10 mg of THC per serving, with the finished product capping no more than 100 mg of THC per package. This caution speaks to a key concern about edible cannabis: consistency.

Due to its being absorbed through the stomach rather than the lungs, edible cannabis doesn't usually reach its full potency for at least an hour after consumption. When combined with inconsistent labeling, this makes edibles easy to consume to excess before their full effects are felt. As WikiLeaf writes, this may cause side effects like anxiety, paranoia, cottonmouth, and lethargy. Nevertheless, these effects often differ from person to person, depending on factors such as the frequency of use, size and weight of the user, and whether the edibles are taken on an empty stomach. Consistent dosage helps to prevent these possible adverse effects. For this reason, edible products that contain more than a single serving must be recorded, defined, or otherwise marked to indicate how many servings they contain. 

Under the MAUCRSA, manufacturers would be required to take reasonable measures to ensure that their products successfully communicate:

  • How many milligrams of THC are in each serving

  • What the recommended dosage would be based on specific criteria, such as weight, size, etc.

  • What, if any, side effects may occur if taken in excess

With these THC dosage limits in place, a consumer can easily understand how many servings are needed to achieve their desired results without any side effects.

The proposed regulations have also stated that edible cannabis products cannot contain any infused alcoholic beverages, nor any non-cannabinoid additives such as caffeine and nicotine. This is to ensure that these additives don't combine to increase the potency, addictive potential, or toxicity of cannabis edibles.

The MAUCRSA is vague, however, in determining whether natural caffeine is permissible; some caffeinated edible cannabis products, such as tea to alleviate pain and insomnia, are currently available for medical use, but it's unclear what their status would be under the new regulations. Manufacturers may bear the greater burden when it comes to remanufacturing their products to comply with state law.

1

Categories

This blog is not intended as legal advice and should not be taken as such. The possession, use, and/or sale of marijuana is illegal under federal law.