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In the Weeds

In the highly regulated cannabis industry, success is reserved for those who take a thoughtful and strategic approach to entering this market. In the Weeds aims to help keep today’s cannabis entrepreneur well informed. We track developments in marijuana law and business, including regulatory framework in states where cannabis has been legalized for medical and/or recreational uses and the unique issues that businesses in the cannabis industry face. Authors offer insights on banking, real estate, finance, corporate entity formation and governance, taxation and creditor rights issues that are distinct to companies in the legal marijuana space, as well as the interplay of collateral businesses to the cannabis industry.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Florida Judge Issues Temporary Injunction Regarding Portion of Medical Marijuana Law Last week, Leon County, Florida Circuit Judge Charles Dodson granted a temporary injunction sought by Columbus Smith regarding a portion of the Florida law passed last year to implement Amendment Two (medical marijuana).  I posted before about Smith’s lawsuit. The law implementing Amendment Two called for an overall increase of 10 licenses for Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (Florida has a vertical integrated license structure which means licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers grow, distribute and sell medical marijuana) by October 3, 2017. ... More
  • More on Status of FinCEN’s Marijuana Banking Guidance As a follow-up to yesterday’s post regarding the status of FinCEN’s 2014 marijuana banking guidance in light of the Attorney General’s policy reversal on marijuana enforcement at the federal level, we have received written confirmation from FinCEN that its 2014 guidance remains in place.  In response to our inquiries, FinCEN provided us with the following statement: “The SAR reporting structure laid out in the February 14, 2014 guidance remains in place.  FinCEN will continue to work closely with law enforcement and the... More
  • FinCEN Confirms Marijuana Banking Guidance Remains in Place Despite DOJ Policy Reversal Reuters is reporting today that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) was caught off guard by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement last week that the Justice Department was reversing its policy regarding enforcement of federal marijuana laws.  A FinCEN spokesman said in a statement that his agency’s prior pronouncement regarding marijuana banking nevertheless “remains in place,”  referring to guidance issued in February 2014 to clarify Bank Secrecy Act expectations for financial institutions seeking to provide services to marijuana-related businesses.  That... More
  • U.S. Attorneys React to New Marijuana Enforcement Guidance from Attorney General As part of his recent guidance regarding federal Marijuana Enforcement, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated he would place more discretion in the hands of individual federal prosecutors in enforcing the Controlled Substances Act. As we noted in our initial analysis of this decision, businesses would be wise to gain an understanding of the serving U.S. Attorney in their federal district, and whether he or she has made any statements regarding their position on medical or recreational cannabis. Copyright: jirkaejc / 123RF... More
  • Fox Attorneys Provide Analysis on Cannabis Policy Announcement From U.S. Attorney General Last Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a policy Memo regarding Marijuana Enforcement that effectively rescinded the 2013 “Cole Memo” guidance, which endorsed a more “hands off” approach in states where marijuana had been legalized. The January 4, 2018 Memo instructed that with regard to marijuana-related enforcement actions, federal prosecutors should “follow well-established principles that govern all federal prosecutions.” Copyright: jirkaejc / 123RF Stock Photo This announcement has important implications for licensed cannabis businesses across the country, and attorneys from Fox Rothschild’s Cannabis... More
  • Federal Data Shows More Banks Are Serving Marijuana Businesses The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has released updated statistics showing a steady increase in the number of depository institutions that actively bank U.S. marijuana businesses. As of September 30, 2017, a total of 400 banks and credit unions provided services to marijuana-related businesses, up from 334 as of December 31, 2016. FinCEN’s data is based upon Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) required to be filed by financial institutions on activity involving a marijuana-related business. In guidance issued in February... More
  • Las Vegas’s Newest Lounge: The Marijuana Consumption Lounge Approximately 43 million tourists visit Las Vegas annually, and of those tourists, some undoubtedly consume marijuana during their visits. There is just one major issue: There is no place for the tourists to consume it. Pursuant to Nevada recreational use regulations, consumption is to be done privately, not publicly. Recreational use in gaming establishments, hotels, or concerts is strictly prohibited. However, the City Council of Las Vegas has drafted a proposed ordinance to permit the operation of marijuana consumption lounges. Here are... More
  • Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Releases Draft Regulations for Recreational Cannabis Program On January 21, 2017, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission announced that it had approved the first draft of Regulations which will govern the state’s recreational cannabis program, referred to as the “Adult Use of Marijuana Industry.” Copyright: epicstockmedia / 123RF Stock Photo These draft Regulations propose 8 different license categories (including Cultivator, Manufacturing, Retail, and Research), establish a robust application process, and set forth detailed requirements for the operation of each type of cannabis-related business. The Regulations can be viewed here. The Cannabis Control... More
  • Six Months In And the Boom and Bust Has Already Hit Florida’s Medical Marijuana Industry As I’ve posted before, here and here, Florida has struggled with its roll out of Amendment Two (medical marijuana) with delays in issuing licenses, processing patient i.d. cards, etc. Now comes news that Tetra Health Company, a California based company which quickly opened several medical marijuana clinics in Florida, is now, just a few months later, closing up most of their Florida locations.  Tetra is not affiliated with a state licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (Florida has a vertical integrated license... More
  • Issuance of Temporary Commercial Cannabis Licenses Begins in California After California voted in favor of allowing the recreational use of marijuana, the entrepreneurial bug bit many California residents. Consequently, three licensing agencies were tasked with creating emergency cannabis regulations prior to the issuance of any commercial cannabis licenses. The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) licenses microbusinesses, distributors, testing laboratories, and retailers. The California Department of Public Health’s “Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch” licenses the manufacture of cannabis edibles. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) licenses cannabis cultivators and has... More