BROOKE LAW GROUP is a law office dedicated to the legal rights of legal commercial cannabis businesses. We provide a variety of services including:
- Provide current information on cannabis laws and application opportunities for all counties and cities in California.
- Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act Business Advice and Advocacy
- Business and Corporate Counsel Services (see our Business Law page)
- Incorporation and Corporate Conversions
- General Dispensary Litigation
- Contract Services (drafting and review)
- Los Angeles “Proposition D” Defense and litigation for Dispensaries and Landlords.
- Los Angeles “Measure “M” matters.
- Cannabis Business Development; for collectives, cannabis food products (edibles), and other ancillary businesses.
- Product Liability Advice & Litigation
- Criminal Defense (Michele Ferroni)
- Proposition 65 Matters
- Real Estate Transactions
- Consultation on Senate Bill 94, The Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. (MAUCRSA)
Marijuana Law Overview
The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 Title 215§812(b)(1), makes it federally unlawful to grow, import, possess, use and distribute cannabis/marijuana. Today, the Controlled Substances Act continues to categorize marijuana as a Schedule I drug, despite the following: the federal government has a patent for the medical use of marijuana; big pharma has created several synthetic drugs emulate health benefits of cannabis and doctors in at least half the states in America recommend cannabis for their patients.
Schedule 1 means:
(A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
Compassionate Use Act of 1996
In California, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 allows possession and use of cannabis for an amount consistent with the current medical needs of the patient. A patient must obtain a doctor recommendation to qualify for limited immunity to use cannabis for medical purposes. Persons who qualify as caregivers may also assist patients with their medical marijuana needs. A statutory guideline places a limit set by Senate Bill 420, (also known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act “MMPA”) of 6 mature or 12 immature plants or 8 ounces of dried marijuana per patient.
Medical Marijuana Program Act
The MMPA also allows collectives or cooperatives to cultivate marijuana collectively for medical purposes, CA Health & Safety Code § 11362.7 et seq. Cooperatives must comply with California corporation laws, while collectives are considered privately formed patient groups. Both cooperatives and collectives must grow, distribute and sell medical marijuana on a non-profit basis and interact in a “closed-circle” manner in order to avoid diversion of medical cannabis to non-patients.
“Collective activity” is a broad term, which must be carefully analyzed in a case-by-case basis, as the laws are broadly interpreted and frequently change. Cannabis patients, caregivers and business owners must be careful to conduct their collective activity in compliance with state laws and local ordinances. Failure to do so may give rise to unexpected action by city attorneys, including: cease and desist letters, citations, even the filing of formal charges, against collectives, collective owners, collective employees, and landlords/land owners.
Medical Marijuana Regulation And Safety Act
In 2015, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law three bills (Assembly Bills 243 and 266, and Senate Bill 643) that create a licensing and regulatory framework for medical cannabis. It is anticipated that the regulations will be developed by January 1, 2018. The new law is called the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (“Act”). This Act Creates a California Bureau of Medical Cannabis.
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act
On November 8, 2016, California voters passed – The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64). The proposition became law immediately. California is now one of several states; Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, D.C., and Colorado where the personal possession and use of marijuana is decriminalized. Prop 64 permits adults 21 years of age and over to possess and grow specified amounts of marijuana for recreational use.
Prop 64 does not alter the Compassionate Use Act (Prop 215) or the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA). It is anticipated that licensing under the MMRSA and Prop 64 will create a whole new multi-billion dollar industry in California. The new licensing system will provide state licensing for: cannabis cultivation, product manufacturing, (infused eatable products, for example), distribution, transportation, and cottage businesses.
The Medicinal and Adult Use of Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (SB 94) (MAUCRSA)
In June 2017, the Governor signed MAUCRSA into law. This Act essentially merges elements of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act and the Adult Use Act (Prop. 64) into one law.
MAUCRSA provides for licenses both commercial medical cannabis businesses and adult use businesses. Large cultivation licenses will not be available until January 2023.
Looking Forward to State Licensing
To qualify for a state license there are “hoops” to jump through. Images of Marine style boot camp enter the mind. One of the biggest requirements will be an ability to show one is currently in business in a city that permits your business activity. In other words, I want to obtain a cultivation license from the state; question one: “Are you already growing legally in any city in California?” Prove it. Do you have a permit, business license or conditional use permit from your city?
Today, while some counties and cities continue to ban store-front collectives, transportation, cultivation and manufacturing, many local governments are more progressive, taking leadership roles to accommodate the will of California voters. These forward-thinking city and town council leaders are to be commended for their efforts to make safe medical cannabis available to their constituents and to discourage the black-market sale of street cannabis, which may have questionable quality and which may be downright dangerous.
Finally, other laws apply to cannabusiness owners and entrepreneurs; including corporate responsibilities, local business laws, and employment laws. A list of criminal penalties can be found on the California NORML website at http://norml.org/laws/item/california-penalties.