Public Health Concern & the Illicit Market: New Policies

Posted by Margolin & Lawrence on October 9, 2019

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Over recent months, the introduction of a new legislature regulating cannabis policy in California reflects an essential need for more legally licensed businesses in the state. Estimated to report over $3 Billion in sales for 2019, consumer demand is indisputable. California is home to the largest cannabis market in the nation and the world. Growing health concerns over the vaping crisis widely reported in the media of late reportedly linked to illegally procured products has spurred action from policymakers. These new developments are intended to encourage cannabis entrepreneurs and local municipalities to participate in the legal market.

Since cannabis prohibition was lifted in the state in 2016, the illicit market has flourished under a system of high taxes and a statewide shortage of tested legal products on dispensary shelves. Reported by the Los Angeles Times Assembly Bill 1356 first introduced in April of 2019, would lift prohibition and require local municipalities to permit at least one cannabis dispensary for every four bars or restaurants with a liquor license or one for every 10,000 residents.

Cities such as La Mesa are already taking the initiative to stamp out the illicit market by allowing an unlimited amount of cannabis dispensaries in its jurisdiction.

A negative response to the bill claims it is in violation of the Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), which grants local municipalities the authority to regulate or prohibit commercial cannabis within its jurisdiction. Although a majority of California voters are in favor of legalized cannabis shops in their jurisdiction, prohibition and stigma reign across the state.

The ‘Get #weedwise’ campaign aims to bridge the gap between public perception and legalization. Spearheaded by the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), Get #weedwise is an outreach program to educate the public on the potentially harmful substances found in unregulated cannabis products and shift the consumer conscience toward legal dispensaries.

The SAFE Banking Act recently approved in Congress is a major step forward toward federal deschedulization and decriminalization. If it passes in the Senate the act will implement a federally insured banking system for cannabis businesses in decriminalized states. It is a major milestone for the cannabis industry highlighting increasing support from both sides of the political fence. Weedmaps is doing its part, announcing last month it will no longer advertise illegal businesses on its site and will discontinue services for dispensaries and delivery services who do not obtain a commercial license.

The cannabis technology giant is doing its part to support licensed businesses expecting to have all unlicensed businesses removed from its database by the end of the year.

What can you do to support the legal industry?

It’s imperative for entrepreneurs to obtain business licenses and consult with a legal team well versed in cannabis law to help navigate through the stringent licensing process and protect your future from ongoing legal issues that will undoubtedly arise throughout the lifetime of the business. If you’re aiming to start a new business in your local jurisdiction that has approved cannabis permitting cannabis but has not yet passed a Cannabis Tax Ordinance, contact Margolin & Lawrence and inquire about our lobbying services in addition to business licensing and compliance.


Margolin & Lawrence is a full-service law firm for all your cannabis business needs including:

❖ Licensing at the local and state level

❖ Zoning and land use

❖ Compliance

❖ Lobbying

❖ Trademarking and Intellectual Property (IP)

❖ Transactional, Mergers & Acquisitions

❖ Corporate formation and governance


Visit our website at margolinlawrence.com for a full list of legal services and contact one of our expert attorneys for more information on how we can serve you.

 

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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.