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
This case addresses whether attorney’s fees are warranted due to an inequitable conduct and conflict of interest defense.Continue Reading United Cannabis Corporation v. Pure Hemp Collective Inc.
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, 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, 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 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. Continue Reading On the Horizon: Broad Employment Protections for Marijuana Users in the District of Columbia
Companies should regularly assess their Prop 65 compliance. Products, packaging, business relationships, and the rules for compliance are constantly changing. Start 2023 off right with a review of your compliance practices to avoid costly private enforcement actions.Continue Reading Get Your Prop 65 House in Order for the New Year
On November 10, 2022, in the matter Variscite NY One, Inc. v. State of New York, et al., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York granted the plaintiff’s a motion for a preliminary injunction against the State of New York (“NYS”), the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”), and the Executive Officer of the OCM, Christopher Alexander issuing any cannabis licenses under NYS’s conditional adult-use retail dispensary (“CAURD”) application program in 5 of the state’s 14 geographic regions.Continue Reading Federal Judge in NY Issues Preliminary Injunction to Block Retail Cannabis Licenses on Constitutional Grounds
This article was originally published in the November/December issue of ELFA’s Equipment Leasing & Finance magazine.
In mid-July 2022, the United States House of Representatives passed provisions that would allow legitimate cannabis-related businesses to access federally regulated financial services. This marks the seventh time the House has approved a version of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The original version of federal cannabis banking reform was introduced nine years ago by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo). The passage of the SAFE Banking Act, either as stand-alone legislation or as amendments attached to must-pass bills, would prohibit federal banking regulators from penalizing a federally regulated depository institution for providing banking services to cannabis businesses. Presently, cannabis businesses are essentially deprived of federally regulated financial services, which include the ability to raise capital, obtain loans and process payment. Continue Reading Federal Cannabis Banking Reform: What Happened?
California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Health & Safety Code § 25249.5 et seq.) (“Prop 65”) is a California law that prohibits any person in the course of doing business from “knowingly and intentionally expos[ing]” individuals to listed carcinogens and reproductive toxins without adequate warning. Recently, in Environmental Health Advocates, Inc. v. Sream, Inc., 83 Cal. App. 5th 721 (2022), the First District Court of Appeal had the opportunity to interpret the word “expose” as used in Health & Safety Code § 25249.6, concluding that possible indirect contact with a listed Prop 65 chemical, depending on how a consumer chooses to use a product, is insufficient to constitute a cause of action under Prop 65. Continue Reading Up In Smoke – CA Court of Appeal Dismisses Prop 65 Case Against Water Pipe Manufacturer Narrowly Construing The Term “Expose”