California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”) requires commercial cannabis entities to obtain a license from California’s Department of Cannabis Control (“DCC”) to cultivate, distribute, transport, store, manufacture, process, and sell cannabis in the state of California. Since its enactment, MAUCRSA required licensees with 20 or more employees to enter into Labor Peace Agreements (“LPAs”) with “bona fide” labor organizations to receive and renew a license from the DCC, as previously outlined here. LPAs require commercial cannabis licensees and labor organizations to agree to not engage in conduct that would disrupt or interfere with the other’s dealings. In 2022, AB 195 reduced the employee threshold requirement by half, effective July 1, 2024. That means, effective July 1, 2024, all license applicants with 10 or more employees must comply with the LPA requirement to obtain a license, and all current licensees with 10 or more employees must so comply to renew their license. Continue Reading July 1 Deadline Looms for Cannabis Operators to Maintain and Renew Their Licenses by Entering into Labor Peace Agreements

In a much-anticipated move, sources recently reported that the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) will recommend rescheduling cannabis from a Schedule I substance to a Schedule III substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act.[1] This recommendation will likely be based on the Health and Human Services Report, which evaluated scientific evidence of cannabis use for medical purposes and determined that cannabis does have accepted medical value with a higher safety profile than Schedule II medications.[2] The DEA’s recommendation is also in line with President Biden’s directive for the Federal government to take steps to review how cannabis is presently scheduled under federal law.[3] In response to the DEA recommendation, the White House Office of Management and Budget will review the recommendation. If approved, there will be a public hearing allowing experts and the public to weigh in on rescheduling. Absent any major meritorious objections, cannabis will then be rescheduled from a Schedule I substance to a Schedule III substance.Continue Reading Bridging the Gap: Cannabis Rescheduling to Align Policy with Research

On April 26, 2024, Ctrl Alt Destroy, Inc. (“CAD”), a California Corporation and cannabis licensee filed a lawsuit against Nicole Elliott in her official capacity as Director of the State of California’s Department of Cannabis Control (“DCC”) and Rob Bonta in his official capacity as Attorney General of the State of California, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”) is unconstitutional under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution and is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).Continue Reading Cannabis Operator Challenges California State Statute and Regulations Requiring Labor Peace Agreements

In BBK Tobacco & Foods LLP v. Cent. Coast Agric., Inc., 97 F.4th 668 (9th Cir. 2024), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that federal district courts have power to adjudicate trademark applications pursuant to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1119, provided that the litigation involves infringement of a registered trademark.Continue Reading Divided 9th Circuit Says District Court Has Power to Adjudicate TM Applications

On August 29, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made a groundbreaking recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – that cannabis should be rescheduled from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This recommendation was made pursuant to President Biden’s request that the Secretary of HHS and the Attorney General initiate a process to review how cannabis is scheduled under federal law. In recent days, the unredacted 252-page analysis supporting the August recommendation was released pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request. While the DEA is presently reviewing HHS’s recommendation and has final authority to schedule a drug under the CSA, it is ultimately bound by HHS’s recommendations on scientific and medical matters.Continue Reading Cannabis Rescheduling: HHS Findings and Legal Implications

On October 7, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 700 into law, amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). SB 700, effective January 1, 2024, expressly prohibits employers from requesting information from job applicants relating to their prior cannabis use.Continue Reading High Protections on Information Relating to Employees’ Cannabis Use

On August 29, 2023, less than one year after President Biden’s directive to federal officials, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and the U.S. Attorney general, to conduct a review of cannabis’ classification under federal law,[1] HHS submitted a letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) recommending a change in cannabis’ classification under the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”).Continue Reading Reclassifying Cannabis as a Schedule III Substance – Will the DEA Agree?

On June 13, 2023, the Second Appellate District affirmed the City of Pomona’s use of a statutory exemption for its Commercial Cannabis Overlay Permit Program under California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines section 15183, finding that the program required no additional environmental review. The decision in Lucas v. City of Pomona is noteworthy for the appellate court’s broad interpretation of the statutory exemption,[1] holding that (i) the City’s zoning ordinance, General Plan Update, and environmental impact report (EIR) that do not address “density” may be exempt under CEQA Guidelines section 15183, and (ii) uses, including cannabis-related uses, that are not literally included in land use plan documents, may be determined to be sufficiently similar to existing and defined land uses allowed by underlying zoning.Continue Reading Commercial Cannabis Permit Program and Overlay District Statutorily Exempt Under CEQA Guideline Section 15183

It is well known that between New York’s enactment of the Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act (commonly known as the Cannabis Law) on March 31, 2021 and the slower than anticipated adoption of regulations for adult-use cannabis retailers and implementation of the Act there have been few (and in some geographic areas of the state, no) licensed retail dispensaries opened for the sale of adult-use of cannabis and cannabis related products. As a result, there has been a proliferation of unlicensed retailers (often referred to as “sticker shops” because the sale of stickers comes with the “gift” of cannabis products) selling cannabis products and its derivatives. On May 3, 2023, however, with the conclusion of New York State’s annual budget process and the signing of the state budget bill by Governor Hochul, a series of other bills passed by the state Assembly and state Senate were signed into law by the Governor. Among those additional measures are changes to New York’s Cannabis Law[1] which are intended to curtail, among other activities, the unlicensed sale, distribution and storage of cannabis and cannabis products throughout the state. Continue Reading New York Landlords May Get Stuck with the Bill for Unlicensed Cannabis Sticker Shops

Last summer, the Washington D.C. Council unanimously passed a bill that prohibits employers from refusing to hire, terminating, suspending, failing to promote, demote, or otherwise penalizing any employee who uses marijuana, even if they fail a drug test. In October 2022, the bill, referred to as the D.C. Marijuana Protections Amendment Act of 2022, was signed by Mayor Bowser. The law goes into effect on or after July 13, 2023.[1] Continue Reading On the Horizon: Broad Employment Protections for Marijuana Users in the District of Columbia