White Labeling: How to get into California's "Essential" Cannabis Market

Posted by Raza Lawrence on March 29, 2020

March 13, 2020: Los Angeles, CA

Cannabis companies are increasingly realizing the power of branding.  The most successful cannabis businesses have developed or acquired valuable brands that allow them to differentiate themselves from other businesses.

Cannabis Retail Opportunities - Riverside, Imperial & Orange Counties

Posted by Jenna Rompel on March 26, 2020

Los Angeles, CA

Especially in this time of social distancing brought on by the coronavirus, cannabis delivery is more important than ever. And the ability to use 420 at home depends upon the vitality of the cannabis retail industry. Fortunately if you’re interested in operating a cannabis retail license and would like to make Riverside your hub, you’re in luck because there’s a lot of opportunity.

Cannabis Remains Open for Business as the Rest of the World Shuts Down

Posted by Raza Lawrence on March 24, 2020

March 23, 2020: Los Angeles

In much of California, cannabis businesses are allowed to continue on with their normal operations, despite Governor Newsom’s order to residents last week ( https://covid19.ca.gov/img/Executive-Order-N-33-20.pdf)  to stay home due to the Coronavirus.  Only businesses deemed “essential” are allowed to stay open, and notably, cannabis businesses have been included in this category by state and local officials.

You Can't Stop Cannabis: California Lockdown Means Marijuana Pitch Event Shines Online

Posted by Allison Margolin on March 24, 2020

March 23, 2020:  David E. Carpenter (Forbes Online)

So much for the worn-out idea that cannabis consumers are an idle lot. As millions of Californians wade into the second week of mass-lockdowns and unprecedented business closures, marijuana entrepreneurs are gearing up this week for an online pitch event that could see their businesses flourish.

What "Acts of God" Clauses Are In My Lease or Insurance? Coronavirus News

Posted by Raza Lawrence on March 20, 2020

March 19, 2020: Los Angeles, CA

Coronavirus talk has engulfed our society.  Most of us are holed up at home, with our daily patterns of life completely changed (for who knows how long).  With everything now different, what happens to our contracts and agreements we entered into before anyone had even heard of the Coronavirus?  If they are causing us financial distress or are no longer providing us any benefit, is there a way out, or are we stuck with them?  What are the options for a business struggling in these strange times?

What Martial Law Means to You amidst Coronavirus

Posted by Raza Lawrence on March 20, 2020

March 19, 2020: Los Angeles, CA

Due to the Coronavirus, cities across America have placed restrictions on their citizens and their ability to freely associate.  Many are under forced quarantines.  In Orange County, CA, all public and private gatherings outside a single household are now banned – including work.  San Francisco is under indefinite “lockdown” (joining Italy, France, Spain, and Belgium) – although cannabis dispensaries have been deemed “essential” and allowed to stay open.  Most schools have closed indefinitely.  Courts have shut down most of their operations.  Widespread looting has been reported, and there are long lines at gun stores.  Police departments are intentionally making fewer arrests.  Regular household products like toilet and milk are sold out at many stores.

PHASE 3 Audit Nearing End: LA Cannabis Retail Rollout About to Start

Posted by Raza Lawrence on March 6, 2020

March 5, 2020: Los Angeles, CA

On March 5, 2020, the City of Los Angeles Cannabis Regulation Commission held a special meeting at City Hall to provide an update on the City’s commercial cannabis licensing, and an opportunity for public comment and discussion of cannabis licensing issues among members of the Commission. The Cannabis Regulation Commission makes recommendations to the City Council about proposed changes to the City’s cannabis laws and regulations.

Expungement Clinic: Free Webinar by Experienced Harvard Attorneys at Margolin & Lawrence on March 14, 2020!

Posted by Allison Margolin on March 6, 2020

Don't Miss Our FREE LIVE WEBINAR: March 14, 2020 | 11AM - 12PM 

Have a criminal record?  Interested in learning how you can get your criminal record erased or sealed?

Join Margolin & Lawrence Attorneys at Law for an in depth procedural analysis of how to get your criminal conviction expunged in California.  M&L will be broadcasting a free Live Webinar on March 14, 2020 from 11am - 12pm. Find more information on our website.  You can also enter your information to receive updates and reminders!

USDA drops DEA hemp testing requirement for 2020, while FDA acknowledges demand for CBD

Posted by Allison Margolin on March 2, 2020

Breaking News: 

Published February 26, 2020 | By Laura Drotleff

Federal agriculture officials will delay the requirement that all THC testing on hemp crops must be performed at laboratories registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Cannabis News: DCR Grants An Additional Pre-Licensing Inspection Extension To Phase 2 Applicants Without Temporary Approval

Posted by Allison Margolin on February 29, 2020

Los Angeles, CA: 

by DCR Staff on February 26, 2020
To All Phase 2 Applicants without Temporary Approval:

Section 104.08(f) of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) authorizes the Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) to grant Applicants an extension to pass the pre-licensing inspection required by LAMC 104.08(a) due to extenuating 

Cannabis Forum Recap: A Growing Industry, Slow Regulations

Posted by Allison Margolin on February 27, 2020

Santa Monica, CA: 

The cannabis industry is complex to navigate, even if the plant is often viewed as a gateway to a simpler state of mind. To help food and drink entrepreneurs grow within it, experts presented data and insights last month at

Freedom Works: How Companies Stay Out of Jail - Cannabis Forum Winter 2019

Posted by Allison Margolin on February 26, 2020

Santa Monica, CA: 

Featuring: Allison Margolin, a founding partner of law firm Margolin & Lawrence, who brings years of understanding of the legal environment for cannabis businesses in California to attendees structure companies strong enough to withstand the shifting regulatory winds surrounding the growing industry.

Corona Could Allow Up To 17 Marijuana Stores

Posted by Allison Margolin on February 26, 2020

Corona, CA: 

By DAVID DOWNEY | ddowney@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Riverside County’s third-largest city may open the door to marijuana enterprises, while capping dispensaries at 17.

While that may seem an odd, arbitrary figure, it is based on round-number math: one marijuana storefront for every 10,000 residents in Corona, whose population is approaching 170,000.

Union Confusion – Many Trust Unions, While Others Try To Bust Them

Posted by Raza Lawrence on February 24, 2020

Los Angeles, CA: 

As California tries to get its struggling licensed cannabis industry up and running, people have asked us questions about the role of labor unions in the process.  Many business owners have allied with a labor union from the beginning, recognizing the substantial benefits that union ties can bring to a licensed and heavily regulated business.  Other business owners, however

Thousands of Marijuana Convictions Dating Back 60 Years Being Dismissed, 3 Weeks Ahead of Primary

Posted by Allison Margolin on February 24, 2020

CBS Los Angeles: 

In a sweeping move, Los Angeles Country District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that her office has asked the court to

Los Angeles Open for Cannabis Storefront Retail Licensing in Areas of “Undue Concentration”

Posted by Jenna Rompel on February 18, 2020

Los Angeles, California: 

Phase 3 Cannabis retail licensing for the City of Los Angeles is on hold until the completion of an audit for licenses issued during Round 1 in September 2019. Verified Tier 1 and Tier 2 Social Equity Applicants still have the opportunity to obtain a storefront cannabis retail license through the Public Convenience or Necessity (PCN) process. The PCN process is open and separate to Phase 3 licensing intended for applicants located in areas that have hit their “undue concentration” limit. Having

Cannabis Updates from Around the State: February 2020

Posted by Margolin & Lawrence on February 3, 2020

DCR Accepting Ownership Change Requests for Non-Retail Cannabusinesses

Posted by Margolin & Lawrence on January 7, 2020

The Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) has just confirmed that it is now processing requests for ownership changes to existing Phase 2 (non-retail) cannabis licenses in Los Angeles. This long-awaited news is a game-changer for savvy investors and license holders alike, as it opens opportunities to buy or sell shares of the 139 cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution businesses that are licensed under Phase 2 in Los Angeles.  

Delivery Now!

Posted by Jenna Rompel on September 19, 2019

 

DCR Accepting Applications for Undue Concentration in Los Angeles

Posted by Margolin & Lawrence on September 17, 2019


 

Don't panic. Although the first application cycle for cannabis retail licensing in the City of Los Angeles closed this morning, the real fun is only beginning. After today, the City’s Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) will begin to process and review applications submitted in Round 1. Over 800 applications were submitted in the first round, but only 100 applicants will be issued a license through this electronic process. Applicants who are unable to obtain a license in Round 1 of Phase 3 will be eligible to apply for one of the 150 licenses to be issued in Round 2, although it is anticipated that the final round will yield an even larger applicant turnout. However, applicants can apply for a license in an area of undue concentration, and there is no limit on the number of licenses that can be issued through the undue concentration process. Under Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) SEC. 104.20 (Part a.), the number of Social Equity licenses to non-Social Equity licenses is 2:1, which means that if 190 licenses were issues through Measure M Priority Round 1, 380 should be issued through a combination of Round 1 and Round 2 Phase 3 processing, and the "Public Convenience or Necessity (PCN)" process (for areas of undue concentration) described below. If the city abides by its own ratio, 130 retail storefront licenses will be authorized in addition to the 250 through the electronic process. 

WHAT IS "UNDUE CONCENTRATION?"

Phase 3 applicants are subject to the “undue concentration rule” passed into LAMC which restricts business location eligibility based on data from the 2016 American Community Survey, not on any state law requirements. The rule sets a limit on the maximum number of licenses that can be issued in each Los Angeles Community Plan Area. The implementation of undue concentration in Los Angeles further complicates what is already a difficult task for many hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs who have been verified for the City’s Social Equity program, which aims to provide priority licensing and accessibility to individuals who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Phase 3 Social Equity applicants must find properties that meet not only the plethora of other local requirements (e.g., correct zoning, 700 feet distance from any other dispensary or “sensitive use” areas) but also within specific communities that has not reached their license cap -- unless the candidate is able to successfully lobby City Council to approve them through the PCN process.

THE PUBLIC CONVENIENCE OR NECESSITY (PCN) PROCESS

The "Public Convenience or Necessity (PCN)" process.  process was established by the City Council and passed into LAMC to provide applicants who wish to apply for a license in an area that has already met undue concentration a chance to appeal their ineligibility based on the undue concentration rule. Applicants must submit an online application and pay a $1,499 PCN request fee to be routed to the City Council. Then, applicants must lobby the City Council to receive their approval and become eligible to apply for a license in an area that is undue.

Six of the 36 Community Plan Areas in Los Angeles have already met undue concentration. These areas were deemed unduly concentrated (with zero licenses available) prior to the Round 1 application cycle which began on September 3rd. At that time, several other Community Plan Areas had as few as two or three licenses remaining. These numbers can be viewed for each Community Plan Area on the DCR’s interactive map. The DCR will only issue the number of licenses indicated as “available” on the map in each Community Plan Area during Round 1, and licenses will be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis. Therefore, even individuals who applied for a Round 1 license in an area outside of the six that have already reached undue concentration are subject to the consequences of the regulation and may be routed to the PCN process. In its review of applications submitted during Round 1, the DCR will issue licenses to eligible applicants on a first-come-first-serve basis (i.e., applicants with an earlier application timestamp will be processed first).Once an area becomes unduly concentrated, Round 1 applicants with later submission timestamps will automatically be routed to the PCN process unless their location is within 700 feet of a sensitive use property or another dispensary. Although the application window for the 100 Round 1 licenses closed this morning, the online PCN application will remain open for applicants that did not apply during Round 1 and wish to apply for a license in an area of undue concentration.


Other cities and municipalities in California who have not enforced additional location requirements like the undue concentration rule -- including Oakland, the very city Los Angeles modeled its Social Equity program after -- attest to the rule’s redundant and excessive nature. The 187 businesses currently holding retail licenses in Los Angeles who applied in Phase 1 as Existing Medical Marijuana Businesses (EMMDs) were also not subject to this rule. In addition, places like the  Oaksterdam cannabis dispensary district in downtown Oakland have been havens of community, not crime. Moreover, the unfairness that can result from a system like the PCN process -- which has essentially no guidelines and is subject to the very sticky nature of local politics -- would be eliminated if the City simply allowed everyone who applied to run a dispensary, so long as they respected the sensitive use requirements other than the intradispensary buffer. Our firm will continue to advocate for the eradication of the undue concentration restriction but is helping applicants navigate the requirement and its consequences since the situation does exist presently. 

WHY YOU WANT US TO LOBBY FOR YOU

Over 800 applications were submitted in Round 1. It is likely that several more Community Plan Areas in addition to the existing six will become unduly concentrated and applicants in these Areas will be required to undergo the PCN process - regardless of whether or not their Area was one of the original six. Given the high degree of uncertainty regarding who will be subject to the PCN process, our team is proactively preparing to take the first steps of a PCN appeal for each and every one of our clients who applied during Round 1.

Margolin & Lawrence has obtained over 200 state and local cannabis licenses throughout California and one in Massachusetts. Our founding partners, Allison and Raza, have litigated cannabis and other drug cases throughout their careers ( 17 and 16 years, respectively ) across the state and federal courts of our country, and have appeared in Hawaii, Utah, Nebraska, and Nevada, just to name a few. Our years of experience trying marijuana cases in front of juries has trained us for the battleground that is city politics.

Their experience fighting the war on drugs and fighting for drug and marijuana defendants, specifically, gives them the credibility to discuss the Social Equity program and their clients' willingness to re-enfranchise those who have been systematically excluded. Our firm was founded on the same core values as those of the Los Angeles Social Equity program. Allison and Raza have demonstrated a passion for drug legalization and criminal justice reform throughout (and even before) their careers.

Allison began her drug law reform efforts at age 12 when she discovered the insanity of the drug war while writing her sixth grade DARE essay on the Medellín Cartel. Her parents' careers as criminal defense attorneys and advocacy for drug law reform gave her an early and rare insight into the traumas inflicted on people, by the criminal justice system. During her time as a Harvard law student, she published her thesis On the Right to Get High where she argues for the decriminalization of all drugs and states that current state and federal laws are unconstitutional.

Before working with Allison in 2009, Raza worked at the CATO Institute, the ACLU, and the Center for Individual Rights fighting on behalf of individuals who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. He was also a federal clerk for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Together, Allison and Raza founded their 501c4-registered lobbying firm, Advocates for Healing America, in order to advocate for drug policy reform and provide support to political candidates with a like-minded agenda.

Margolin & Lawrence remains committed to our founding values and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure we help individuals who have been who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Our current efforts are aimed towards ensuring that victims of this war have the access they deserve to reparative government programs such as the Los Angeles Phase 3 Social Equity licensing process. 

If you have applied for a Round 1 retail license or if you are seeking to apply for a license via PCN or Round 2, we invite you to contact a member of our team immediately to discuss how we may be able to advocate on your behalf. We cannot take clients with retail properties that are within 700 feet of our current clients and are accepting new clients on a first-come-first-serve basis. Therefore, we recommend contacting a member of our team sooner than later to minimize the chances of conflict.

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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.