My short bio:

We are cannabis lawyers at Gleam Law! We have offices in the California, Washington, and Oregon markets and serve clients around the world. We practice business law, administrative law, intellectual property, and litigation with a focus on cannabis.

We help businesses form, comply, and thrive in the new cannabis industry. Our clients include farms, processors, retailers, dispensaries, and ancillary businesses such as publicly traded companies and international celebrities.

In the emerging cannabis system, regulatory bodies are struggling to grasp the complex subject matter. We help the government offices interpret the laws in regards to the practical application and use of medical and recreational marijuana.

This will be our fourth AMA! They’re always a great time for us.

We’re looking forward to round four. Joining us this time will be:

Neil Juneja:

Neil Juneja is the founder and managing partner of Gleam Law. He is a registered patent attorney and thinks the world of himself. He is also famous for his modesty.

Ammon Ford:

I am a JD/MBA business and trademark attorney at the Seattle branch of Gleam Law. I founded the Cannabis Law Society (CLAW) at Seattle University School of Law in 2014 and served as Secretary to the Washington State Bar Association's Cannabis Bar Section from 2018-2020. I am an active member of The Cannabis Alliance and the National Cannabis Industry Association.

Brian Barrido:

I am an attorney at Gleam Law's Washington office focusing on civil litigation matters in the cannabis industry. I also have extensive experience in criminal litigation in state and federal court.

Justin Walsh:

I am partner in our Seattle office. I lead the litigation department; advise businesses on Cannabis, hemp, and CBD regulations; and make a great cocktail.

Mia Getlin:

Mia is a partner at Gleam Law, leading the firm's Oregon practice and advising clients on a wide range of issues, including compliance, licensing, and transactions. As part of an industry advocacy organization she co-runs, Mia works closely with the legislature, the OLCC, and other offices and agencies in Oregon to effect changes to law and rule to benefit Oregon cannabis companies. When Mia is not at the office, she can be found wrangling her three small children or doing something dangerous in Oregon's great outdoors.

Habib Bentaleb:

I am a California-based cannabis attorney focusing on the business side of cannabis law. I commonly speak at industry events and help keep the legal community appraised on the latest issues in cannabis.

Lindsey Daniel:

I am an attorney at Gleam Law’s Oregon office focusing on the business and regulatory legal needs of our cannabis clients. When I’m not doing lawyer-y things (excuse the technical term) I enjoy hiking, re-watching old episodes of the X-Files and 30 Rock, and battling my two cats for preeminence in my apartment.

Roger Goodman:

Roger Goodman is associated Of Counsel to the firm and specializes in regulatory compliance and government relations for cannabis businesses. He is also in his seventh term serving in the Washington State Legislature, presiding as Chair of the House Public Safety Committee with oversight of the criminal justice system. As a drug policy reformer for more than a decade, Roger was a key player in laying the groundwork for cannabis legalization in Washington State.

Cassidy Patnoe:

I’m a third-year law student. I’m a former high-school teacher and current law-clerk at Gleam.

Our Proof: Proof Here!

EDIT: We are not providing legal advice. As always, verify any of our answers with an attorney that is representing you.

EDIT #2:Thanks everyone! We had a blast on this great holiday! We'll check periodically and keep answering questions, but we're going to take lunch and get back to work.

Comments: 492 • Responses: 152  • Date: 

rrnr357186 karma

Would you be willing to hire an associate attorney named Bob Loblaw?

GleamLaw321 karma

Cassidy: It depends on the quality of his Law Blog. In this modern era, we'd need a Bob Loblaw who could lob law bombs effectively.

rrnr357110 karma

Wonderful answer. I feel as though I should be billed for your time. Yet, on the other hand, please don’t bill me.

GleamLaw107 karma

Cassidy: It felt like about a 30 min answer. I'll bill it as a .5.

rrnr35742 karma

Why don’t we just split the difference and you only bill me for a half hour.

GleamLaw107 karma

We'll round up to an hour and give you 50% off.

rrnr35753 karma

Deal! Damn you’re good.

GleamLaw63 karma

If I could use one adjective to describe myself, it would be "professional."

GleamLaw96 karma

Justin here: If I could use one adjective to describe him, it would be "Fergalicious".

Quazzy_Modo99 karma

My company has sent out a memo saying anyone that test me positive for cannabis will be terminated even if they have a medical marijuana card. Is this legally defensible or what would be some good steps to legally overcome this type of policy?

GleamLaw111 karma

Justin here: Unfortunately, there is no legally defensible way to get around this. Businesses in legal states are generally free to regulate the employment relationship, including use of illegal drugs (as Cannabis is still federally illegal).Unfortunately, this is largely the great "freedom to contract."

The Washington Supreme Court actually dealt with this in a formal opinion: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=12690262585353123592&q=Roe+v.+TeleTech+Customer+Care+Mgmt.+LLC&hl=en&as_sdt=6,48

Most states that have dealt with the question have come to the same result, unfortunately.

That said, depending on your industry, there may be the opportunity for Union involvement and negotiation of this term. We can't provide advise on that, but it is one thing we have seen (a lot of the Cannabis industry is actually unionized).

TrialAndAaron20 karma

[removed]

GleamLaw41 karma

Justin here: That will largely depend on how the law is written and then how the U.S. Supreme Court interprets it. The short answer is that we don't know.

juggarjew58 karma

Are you experienced in bird law?

GleamLaw134 karma

Justin here: I am very experienced in bird law. It's just that bird law in this country--it's not governed by reason.

You know. We get after it. You know, we jabber jaw, we go tit for tat. We have our little differences. But at the end of the day, you win some, I win some, and there's a mutual respect left over between us.

Side note. We also do Octopus Law: http://www.octopuslaw.com.

GleamLaw56 karma

Cassidy: You can keep a gull as a pet, but you don't want to live with a seabird.

Beeardo4 karma

holy shit you guys actually own that domain i thought you just hyperlinked your site in

GleamLaw9 karma

Check out this one:

assholelawyer.com

Edit: had to fix my hyperlink syntax

bingoflaps55 karma

I visited a dispensary in Colorado maybe 1-2 years ago and they accepted credit card. How did they do this without risking asset seizure by the federal government?

GleamLaw80 karma

Alan here: Use of credit cards in cannabis is not illegal, it is a violation of the card network rules. The dispensary is at risk of being black balled from the use of cards, even after the card companies change the network rules to allow cannabis transaction.

doswarrior40 karma

Some of the dispensaries will run debit cards, but the transaction is considered an ATM withdrawal. That's why there is an additional fee (ATM fee), but the card can still be accepted and swiped at the terminal like a regular transaction.

GleamLaw29 karma

Justin here: Correct. Most of the payment processors that are operating using debit cards are utilizing some version of this transaction. Though the vast majority of players are still using ATMs.

GleamLaw20 karma

Alan here: I don’t think the cashless atm’s are within the card network rules. I think they are harder to detect, so they are not shut down as quickly as a credit card would be.

ImmediateBandicoot047 karma

Do you think we’ll see companies begin to trademark (edit: or patent) strains as cannabis becomes more broadly legal and corporatized? Or is this already happening or does federal illegality preclude it? Also, unrelated, how did you get your foot in the door in the cannabis law space?

GleamLaw53 karma

Neil: Big clown shoes with a wedge shape can get into any door.

Ammon: We have been helping Cannabis companies register and protect their trademarks for years. As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, trademark protections are available for all "lawful" commerce. What is "lawful" for cannabis depends on who, where, and what we are talking about.

GleamLaw17 karma

Neil: Trademarks depend on what you are trying to do. With regard to trademarks, state trademarks are usually accepted in legal states. Federally, the USPTO looks to overall legality of the product, but there generally are ways to protect brands that can work around those issues raised by the Cannabis itself.

 

In terms of strain protections, this generally falls under patent, which can be protected under a utility patent, plant patent, and the Plant Variety Protection Act (for hemp).

SexSwings_R_Us38 karma

Did the office leave out milk and cookies for Snoop?

GleamLaw44 karma

Cassidy: I'm under quarantine, so I did it here at the house.

GleamLaw21 karma

We believe!

Captain_Stairs10 karma

Or an eighth of cookies and cream bud.

GleamLaw26 karma

We heard Snoop prefers Thin Mints....and Thin Mints.

BrandonAndReddit28 karma

Is there anywhere in the United States you can just light a fat blunt in the city and not have any consequences? It's just hard to wrap my mind around that

GleamLaw53 karma

How fat are we talking here?

It depends on the area. Officially, any legal states generally allow it in the comfort of your own home, but not in public.

Some states have smoking lounges (California and Nevada).

Some states don't technically allow it, but enforcement is generally low within the city limits of, say, New Orleans or Seattle.

BrandonAndReddit3 karma

Thanks for the reply! Very interesting topic

TH3_V3GAS5 karma

I don't know about the rest of Nevada, in Las Vegas I think there is only one lounge. Something to do with already established gaming laws prevent casinos from banking on lounges. There are occasional horror stories of them not allowing it on the property because it could jeopardize their gaming licences.

TwoWongsMakeaDong5 karma

This is true. I worked in the cannabis industry for over 6 years, specifically in California and Vegas. Cannabis is not allowed on premises with gaming licenses. That's why cannabis delivery companies can't go to the majority of hotels in Vegas.

GleamLaw6 karma

This is also why MJBizCon isn't held at a casino.

wangdingus27 karma

Hi and thanks for doing this AMA. I live in a state with a medical marijuana program but employers can still drug screen for cannabis use and deny employment based on a positive result. If medical marijuana is accepted at the state government level as a legal treatment, how can employers legally discriminate against MMJ patients?

GleamLaw27 karma

Justin here: Unfortunately, this is largely the great "freedom to contract." Most states are at-will employees, and the grey-market status of Cannabis means that employers still have a reasonable legal basis for using it as a basis for termination.

The Washington Supreme Court actually dealt with this in a formal opinion: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=12690262585353123592&q=Roe+v.+TeleTech+Customer+Care+Mgmt.+LLC&hl=en&as_sdt=6,48

Most states that have dealt with the question have come to the same result, unfortunately.

Ammon: Don't expect this to change much after federal legalization. Drug use in the workplace to treat a medical condition is protected to a degree, but many employers may lawfully reassign or limit employees who are on medications that could make the workplace unsafe. For instance, if you're operating a forklift then even legalization will probably not allow you to smoke at work because you could run into someone or something.

kimbohere26 karma

Have either of you ever pooped your pants? ( in recent times) by recent I mean in the last 20 years. TIA

GleamLaw61 karma

DangerousImplication4 karma

That’s only applicable for criminal cases

GleamLaw25 karma

Smells can be very criminal

trekwrecker21 karma

Y'all are hilariously good sports and this sounds like a great office to work in. Are y'all hiring?

GleamLaw45 karma

Can you pass a drug test?

GleamLaw76 karma

To be clear, we require the presence of drugs in the urine.

GleamLaw58 karma

No we don't. Shut up, HR.

Bluntman96216 karma

Specific to the WA market, what is preventing Cannabis Centric Businesses (Cafe, Private Cinema, or Tours) from emerging on the market.

Is there any legal market that has realized this extension of the industry where consumption is allowed on site and encouraged?

If all of the above is no, who do I start writing to get the ball rolling on regulating these businesses in Washington?

GleamLaw23 karma

Neil: The statute (RCW 69.50.465) prevents public consumption or maintaining a club for such purposes. It makes it a Felony in Washington. This includes anyone who "conducts or maintains a premises for the primary or incidental purpose of providing a location where members or other persons may keep or consume marijuana on the premises."

Unfortunately, it would take a law change to make this happen, as this amendment was stuck into a bill by a conservative legislator just prior to passage.

You would have to contact your state legislators and senators, and just be active in the industry. Cannabis Alliance and WACA are great organizations to deal with.

Bluntman9625 karma

I frequently refer to our market as the Utah of legalization.

Was really excited to the Social Equity in Cannabis bill pass. I think it's a step in the right direction. To modernizing the market.

At the same time they want to been concentrates over 75%.

GleamLaw12 karma

Alan here: Chairman Crapo (R-ID) of the Senate Banking Committee proposed setting a THC cap at 2% in his comment to the Safe Banking Act.

GleamLaw12 karma

Justin here: There was actually a bill that started in the legislature to ban any products containing more than 10% THC, including cartridges. It would have been an industry-killer in Washington. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed, and the bill died in Committee.

GleamLaw10 karma

Ammon: This isn't legal advice, but civil disobedience has been an effective method of legal advocacy for centuries. In Cannabis, it has been one of the most effective tools in recent decades. See for instance Hempfest, a cannabis protestival in Seattle for 28 years.

What would this advocacy look like for you? You could organize a protest smoke-out at your city hall/police headquarters/state capital.

Please note that civil disobedience always comes with risk--which is what makes it meaningful. Breaking the law intentionally and in front of law enforcement may result in arrest or criminal charges.

RagingTyrant7411 karma

Hi there, I am a third year law student and am interested in getting into cannabis law. I live and expect to practice in a (currently) illegal state. How would I go about networking for cannabis law jobs in a market that does not yet have too many businesses but has some medical marijuana? If I were to look out of the state where I currently plan the bar, how would you recommend putting myself out to employers to set myself apart? Do you guys do much land use / zoning law for cannabis businesses?

GleamLaw19 karma

Ammon: I got into cannabis law as a law student because too much was happening too fast to wait until after I was licensed. Two steps I took to get involved was 1) founding a student organization to bring speakers onto campus to learn about cannabis policy in my state, and 2) I joined several grassroots advocacy organizations filled with cannabis business owners/stakeholders so that I could contribute to the community's policy work directly.

Cassidy: Hello, fellow 3L! An understanding of an area that makes sense to the cannabis field helps with networking. Look into your state and see what kind of political/business advocacy groups focus on cannabis and start there.

A big thing to set yourself apart is don't be the applicant who just loves weed. A focus on the aspects of rapidly changing fields as well as some political advocacy could help you stand out.

GleamLaw7 karma

Ryan here: As to your last question, the answer is absolutely. When we begin to advise a client on opening a new facility, whether it be retail, processing, or producing, we will have to at minimum comb through the city or county's municipal code to determine zoning compliance. As you are aware, these codes are far from uniform, so careful review will need to be done on a case-by-case basis. Further, cities and counties may try to limit the number of retail establishments (for example), and thus may invite a challenge from stakeholders to the use of their authority to limit otherwise permissible uses. Finally, even when allowed, any particular cannabis business may be subject to extra scrutiny on all sorts of land use grounds (nuisance, parking, setbacks, etc.) by unfriendly jurisdictions. Representing your client from concept to an open facility requires a significant amount of work with the local zoning authorities.

raftah9911 karma

Will Aurora Cannabis bounce back?

GleamLaw46 karma

Neil: Even a dead cat will bounce if you drop it from high enough.

MittRominator10 karma

Recently, many European countries have legalized medicinal cannabis, and are continuing to expand access to medicinal cannabis. In Germany, most of the major political parties support recreational legalization of cannabis with the SPD recently publishing a position paper where they support a pilot project for legalized cannabis, with the German drug minister also stating that she is open to compromise or change within current laws on cannabis legalization in Germany.

As I understand it, most of Germany's medicinal cannabis comes from North America, especially places where cannabis has been legalized. Can or are any of these companies putting any pressure on Germany, or other European countries, to legalize cannabis? How does legalization work within the EU versus individual countries? How does trans-Atlantic cannabis trade work? How soon, or even can we, expect to see government regulated, legalized cannabis in Europe?

GleamLaw21 karma

Beats the schnitzel out of us. If anyone is going to drive legalization in the E.U. from North America, its likely to be our brethren in the Canada. The Cheeto in Chief is unlikely to be of much help here.

Any other countries looking to come online now have a great amount of data in terms of effects of legalization and in terms of regulatory structures that work. The rest is just working with your representatives to tell them why legal cannabis is a good thing.

Gerefa8 karma

We all know legal pot businesses cannon bring product across state lines even between two contiguous states that have both legalized it such as maine and Massachusetts. Is it also still a crime to transfer legal marijuana assets across state lines? How then do businesses that do things like finance licensing and startup for grows in multiple states do that legally or manage their legal risk? Do they just rely on not being of interest to law enforcement because they only operate in legal states?

GleamLaw7 karma

Justin here: While the Cole memo was revoked, the FINCEN guidelines for marijuana are still in place. That means that, as long as the money guidelines are being followed, and you are following your state's law in how you are receiving and/or taking money from the business, you can do what you want with that money.

Most states have regulation as to how financing of a marijuana business can occur, where that money can come from, and from who (i.e. - are you a Canadian seeking to finance a shop? Then you will have to look at which states allow that.). So far, we have not really seen federal level seizure of assets unless it is resources derived from the illicit market.

PorkRollSandwich6 karma

Mia Getlin/Lindsey Daniel - The OLCC has done a lot to help the industry in my opinion. They seem to care about the industry and making do with the limited money they are given. My question is, with Metrc becoming the dominate tracking CTS in the US, and it being rather awful, what are the government agencies doing in order to make sure that Metrc holds up their side of the bargain in creating a functional and usable service for not only the industry but third part integrators creating software that interacts with Metrc?

GleamLaw3 karma

Mia: This is a great question with multifaceted, complicated answers. I will try to keep this brief, though.

There are multiple hurdles to getting better accountability from Franwell/METRC. The METRC user group sessions are not particularly effective and I am not aware of any serious challengers, though the contract is up for renewal soon. I think our best option, and something we have been working towards, is more common sense tracking (such as eliminating or significantly reducing internal tracking/tagging) such that we can reduce the overall use of METRC and move towards a system that does not penalize legal players with extremely high cost of compliance.

I agree with you - the system is far from perfect, but the OLCC does care about the industry and is always open to discussing ways to make the system more business friendly.

TerribleTortoise6 karma

For a time, Canadians were being detained or blocked at the Canada-USA border if they were coming from Canada and had any association with cannabis. This included usage, or even investment in the cannabis industry.

If I were a Canadian with a cannabis association, should I have any concern crossing the border in to the US? Currently, could I be arrested crossing the border (with no possession of cannabis) or permanently banned from the country?

Substitute Canada for any other country where they have Nationally legalized cannabis.

GleamLaw5 karma

Neil: This is very concerning and a moving target. When a number of our Canadian clients came into the US for MJBizCon (the largest cannabis conference in the world), they would send their business cards by mail ahead of them. This is certainly a concern and pretty ridiculous.

GleamLaw5 karma

Lindsey: Currently, the US Embassy's page has this to say about cannabis and the U.S.-Cannabis border:

"Generally, any arriving alien who is determined to be a drug abuser or addict, or who is convicted of, admits having committed, or admits committing, acts which constitute the essential elements of a violation of (or an attempt or conspiracy to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance, is inadmissible to the United States.

A Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal cannabis industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the cannabis industry will generally be admissible to the U.S. however, if a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for reason related to the cannabis industry, they may be deemed inadmissible."

The site further states that border agents are given the discretion to make fact-specific determinations on a case by case basis.

So, as Neil said there is a lot of ambiguity and discretion given to border control agents.

OfTheHive5 karma

Is there actually a reason that cannabis is still Schedule 1, despite being recognized as having medicinal benefits? Is that the only hurdle to clear? How can we challenge the federal classification?

GleamLaw17 karma

Justin here:

Have you met anyone from the DEA? They are not exactly leaping at the chance to reschedule anything. Even after CBD from marijuana was shown to have great benefits, the DEA wanted to reschedule it, rather than remove it (which the FDA begrudgingly agreed to in a compromise).

The only thing we can really do is continue to push federal descheduling through law, as opposed to relying on the DEA or the current administration to change it.

codynorthwest5 karma

how worried should i be about having an OMMP card and going to be getting my concealed carry permit?

GleamLaw4 karma

Ryan here: Unfortunately, any change would need to occur on a federal level. Federal law puts medical cannabis users in the same categories as felons and mentally ill people.

Here is the ATF's short letter from 2011 on the subject: https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/open-letter/all-ffls-sept2011-open-letter-marijuana-medicinal-purposes/download

Handboard4 karma

Which state do you think will be the very last to legalize cannabis, and why Georgia?

GleamLaw7 karma

I met with one of the Indiana congressmen while lobbying at the Capitol last year. He stated that he would like Indiana to be the very last state to legalize. So the competition is fierce to be on the wrong side of history.

A_Harmless_Fly4 karma

Any chance Minnesota goes legal?

GleamLaw8 karma

Brian: As good as any...hard to think of anything that could go better with a Juicy Lucy

GleamLaw5 karma

Neil: Anything is possible.

FishyCase4 karma

Is hash a thing in America? Just curious, I don't hear about it. It's pretty populair in the Netherlands.

GleamLaw5 karma

Neil: Hash is sold here in the US, but is not as common as oils and shatter. Hash is promoted for its solventless nature (cold water extraction). I do see hash as supplemental to flower in prerolls (the new term for joints).

Cassidy: Anecdotally, I've heard a lot less about hash since legalization. It may just be that the methods for other extractions are more popular. But hash is definitely still out there.

gingerbeard3034 karma

If cannabis was mentioned in the Bible, would this have been legalized centuries ago?

GleamLaw10 karma

Ammon: The crystal ball says cannabis was in the bible, Moses just forgot the word for it and called it a "burning bush."

BlackMathus4 karma

How can Maine since legalizing marijuana for recreational use back in 2016, continue to push back the legal recreational sales of marijuana? This forces black market trading and selling. The voters said they wanted it and even after 4 years we still cant buy legal marijuana.......

GleamLaw11 karma

Neil: Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to have the legislators and regulators drag their feet or subvert the will of the people. It boggles the mind that such entrenched and antiquated views prevent progress.

Ammon: Take a look at Montana, too. They've passed several ballot initiatives and last I checked still didn't have legal retail options. It's incidents like these that remind me that the USA is a Republic, not a Democracy. It's not enough to just pick our leaders, we also have to force them to do what we want or they'll decide that "Daddy knows best" and give us something none asked for.

hleided4 karma

Can you comment on the potential future changes for gun owners who would like to get access to MM?

GleamLaw4 karma

Ryan here: unfortunately, this change would need to occur on a federal level. Federal law puts medical cannabis users in the same categories as felons and mentally ill people.

Here is the ATF's short letter from 2011 on the subject: https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/open-letter/all-ffls-sept2011-open-letter-marijuana-medicinal-purposes/download

Ammon: Additionally, some states that allow medical marijuana require concealed carry permit applicants to swear that they are lawful gun owners under federal law. Because of the law cited by Ryan above, medical marijuana card holders would have to answer "no" to that question and therefore may be denied some state-law gun rights due to federal prohibitions. See Pennsylvania's official position on this issue, which has been used in recent years to deny some gun owners certain rights/privileges.

ATTORNEY_FOR_CATS4 karma

Any commercial leasing issues that you have come across, either in retail or industrial space, that you never expected to see or were surprised by?

GleamLaw6 karma

Ryan here: this is a great question.

I think many landlords who rent to cannabis tenants (whether on the retail side or the industrial side) seem to be smaller and less institutional. Moreover, they tend to be on the less-sophisticated side in terms of what can be done as a landlord. They have expectations that have been formed by doing business with non-cannabis tenants, and most of those expectations crash and burn as soon as something goes wrong with their cannabis tenant. Specifically, evicting a cannabis tenant can be very tricky. In Washington, an order of possession for the landlord can be a death sentence for the cannabis tenant, so landlord's need to be extra-careful in their evictions because a mistake in the process may lead to liability for more than just the denial of possession. Further, commercial landlords may be used to being able to re-enter property upon default, which can expose them to significant liability if the cannabis tenant in default has left any product on site. These landlords aren't used to working with state agencies, but often find themselves needing to do so in order to safeguard their interests.

GleamLaw4 karma

Alan here: Banks can/will close the landlord’s bank accounts if they are aware that they have a cannabis tenant or worse yet call the loan on the property.

HevC43 karma

Do you think CannTrust in Canada has a shot at being able to grow legal cannabis again?

GleamLaw4 karma

Justin here: It is going to be just a little hard for them to have the capital to do so. The more likely bet is key players will go their separate ways eventually and start new ventures, having learned from their mistakes.

GleamLaw3 karma

Lindsey: my guess is that they run out of capital before they are able to reinstate any of their licenses

GleamLaw3 karma

Lindsey: my guess is that they run out of capital before they are able to reinstate any of their licenses

NYNYreddit3 karma

When Harvey Birdman defended Shaggy for “getting busted,” did you agree with his defense strategy?

Also— does your firm represent any clients that could be somehow involved in a “toxic tort”? Do you think that would happen from something like defective and weed pens (the earlier vaping scare).

GleamLaw4 karma

Justin here: I head Gleam's litigation department. Right now, we are starting to see the first Cannabis product liability lawsuits, including one right here in Washington. This is where things like insurance start to come into play. In fact, we are involved in one of the lawsuits, which appears to involve Vitamin E issues. The pen manufacturer was included in the lawsuit.

Really the best thing any business can do is to turn out a product as compliant as you can be, and make sure you are following Good Manufacturing practices. Take a hard look at your insurance and utilize a consultant to make sure it covers what you think it covers.

As for the Shaggy episode, you work with the client you have, and you try to tell their story and explain anything a jury might interpret as weird. As Gerry Spence says, you have to address head on the parts of your case that scare you.

WhatATurkey3 karma

Do you have any recommendations for legal representation in NYC? Looking to open a grow when the bill passes...

GleamLaw3 karma

Lindsey: NORML's list of attorneys is a good starting place

t56turbo3 karma

I have a question about Federal Legality. lets say you work a DOT position that prevents you from testing consuming THC even in a state that It is legal. If you had to get a prescription for something such as Marinol, would that prescription prevent a "positive" result? I ask because i assume it would be the same if you tested positive for an Amphetamine but you had a prescription for Adderal to show why the result was positive. Thanks for the AMA!

GleamLaw3 karma

Justin here: Due to the federal illegality, we don't really know how the DOT would treat that. If you are working for federal DOT, chances are it would be a hard bar to employment. If you work for a state DOT, there might be some implications with federal funding requirements.

Chances are, the DOT would be able to do as they choose. Washington state has an opinion that governs employment with legal cannabis, which tends to be similarly situated across the legal states: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=12690262585353123592&q=Roe+v.+TeleTech+Customer+Care+Mgmt.+LLC&hl=en&as_sdt=6,48

Whatthedom3 karma

What are your thoughts on the new push to create pure cannabinoids via cellular agriculture. Will pure cannabinoids promote acceptance from a regulatory POV?

Linked a video for those unfamiliar with cellular agriculture https://youtu.be/_WX8gbgpM50

GleamLaw5 karma

Justin here: This also leads to a broader question of "should" we try to derive pure cannabinoids. The majority of research coming out from universities (especially University of Michigan) is that the interactions between the cannabinoids is largely not understood, but they do have beneficial interactions. Thus, any cellular agriculture should be done to capture the whole cannabinoid profile, as opposed to a particular cannabinoid.

GleamLaw3 karma

Neil: I recently tweeted this concept.

 

I believe this can be very useful for cannabinoids that are not easily harvested due to breeding them out in the desire to increase THC content. Other difficult to harvest and mostly unresearched cannabinoids need to be obtained, such as THC-V. Cellular Agriculture may be the best method forward for this.

Cat-turd3 karma

Is there discussion about removing question on cannabis use when applying for a government clearance?

GleamLaw3 karma

Ammon: Don't expect any movement on this question until after federal legalization. The military looks harshly on service members committing civilian criminal violations.

honestAndResponsible3 karma

Hi lawyers!

Cannabis is still widely illegal around a major part of the world. Where I come from, possessing cannabis within the territories of the country means I can face a death sentence. I usually smoke it when I come to Europe - at least the countries that allow it.

I'm sure as lawyers, you have seen how laws "transform" as regulators observe the public's behavior towards its consumption. When cannabis was first legalized in some states, I'm sure people had the opportunity to take advantage of certain loopholes which was then "patched" by the regulators.

Now imagine me, a potential cannabis businessman, starting a company in a new country/state which has just recently legalized weed for recreational use. From your experience, what sorts of loopholes you've seen people exploit before the government "patches" these loopholes?

GleamLaw6 karma

Justin here: We have seen a lot of evolution in the way people operation. A lot of this is based on the past history of whatever department is tasked with enforcing it and what direction they are given from their governors. For example, Washington's Liquor and Cannabis Board for several years had a very adversarial relationship with the retailers, due to looking at every potential violation as an enforcement issue. This meant that most regulations had to be interpreted very narrowly, and almost any attempt at exploiting a loophole could expose you to a potential violation and litigation in an attempt to show them how the regulation applied the way you thought it should.

As the relationship changed, and the parade of horribles touted by law enforcement did not occur, we started seeing some loosening of interpretations, as long as you were able to reasonably explain why your interpretation was essential for the business.

It will ALWAYS take the regulators some time to get an understanding of the marijuana business. They haven't been living and breathing it like most of our clients have. So they won't necessarily know how to regulate it right out of the box without some serious education.

I can't say I've seen any overarching ways people have exploited anything. One way we have been able to help clients maximize their profits is through the use of management contracts (to avail themselves of economies of scale) and referral to a decent accountant in order to ensure a proper business structure.

SwaySh0t3 karma

Any plans on eyeing the Chicago market?

GleamLaw4 karma

Neil: Actually, yes. One of our new hires is licensed in Illinois. We are currently in discussion with several potential clients there.

AKATS_GOODS_3 karma

Thank you all for the thorough responses, I have learnt a lot. Recently got layed off and with my free time now have been thinking of going to Law school. Is there any advice you could share for a good place to start?

Ive casually been studying the LSAT, but I really dont know the most efficient route to take from here.

Thanks again!

GleamLaw17 karma

Ammon: I tell anyone thinking about law school that it's terrible and only sadists would do this. Spend that money on a house instead of your third divorce.

If your the kind of person who didn't actually care how I answered because you're going to do it anyway...then law school might be for you, jerk.

GleamLaw5 karma

Justin here: I am a huge fan of the profession, if done right and for the right reasons. I would recommend thinking about why you want to be a lawyer, thinking about what kind of law you would like to do, and of course meeting with lawyers in those areas to see if it is something you would like to do. Before making the significant investment in student loans and time, its usually worth getting a job at a legal office in order to see if you like the day to day drudgery that some of law can become.

A lot of my day is spent reading detailed documents, exchanging emails, engaging in conference calls, and writing briefs. The flashy bits of law are few and far between. But if you have a passion for what you do, those bits don't drag you down.

As for the LSAT, I would recommend studying your butt off solo, then taking a prep course after that. In addition, law school admissions people love to see what you are doing to benefit your community. For example, before going to law school, I was on several boards and commissions. Some people simply come from diverse backgrounds. Some people know the specific reason why they are coming to law school and what they want out of it. The main thing is not to come in blind.

CanadIanAmi3 karma

What boards and commissions were you on? If you don’t mind me asking

GleamLaw3 karma

I was on the King County Civil Rights Commission (which I ended up chairing for several years after law school).

GleamLaw4 karma

Ryan here: For my own part, I loved law school itself, the classes, the discussion, the reading, it was honestly great. However, I want to echo some of what Justin said. In the first year of law school, our professors asked us to examine what we wanted to do as lawyers, and concretize our goals. To be honest, I kind of blew it off, as I was sure that I was going to be Bobby Kennedy Jr. or Erin Brockovich. Funny thing about that is that I graduated in 2008, and environmental law is largely dependent on people putting shovels in the ground. So, I went another way because those loans have to be paid. I spent years working for banks and loan servicers. This work is more satisfying to me, but I had to essentially toss much of what I did for the first 9 years of my legal career into the garbage. I guess that's a cautionary tale of what can happen when you lack a clear goal and plan to achieve it (though I'm not sure it would have mattered given the reality of 2008-09).

GleamLaw3 karma

Cassidy: I'm finishing my third year of law school right now. I came to law school in my early 30's, so my perspective may be different than some.

Studying for the LSAT is a good start. It's a BS test, but it's all but required. I'd ask "why law school?" It's a lot of challenging work to get into a field where the job prospects aren't amazing (at least currently). My general suggestion is start applying and hold out for good financial aid.

toeaway-3 karma

Did you do anything special today?

GleamLaw16 karma

Being on reddit is the most special thing any girl could want.

Biojesus4203 karma

I live in a smoke-free apartment building but I have a PA medical marijuana card. Can my landlord evict me for vaping my marijuana indoors being that its considered medicinal? TIA!!

GleamLaw5 karma

Ryan here: I'm licensed in Oregon and Washington, not Pennsylvania, so please do not take this as hard legal advice, but I'll offer my thoughts.

The question of whether your landlord can evict you depends on what the consequences are for violating the no-smoking policy and whether your vaping constitutes a violation of the smoking ban. It could be that your violation of the rule just allows them to keep your deposit.

If the rule does allow for eviction, your landlord would have to give you notice and an opportunity to stop violating the rule before it could start eviction proceedings. It is often the case that the rules have not been updated to broaden out the rules to include vaping, so I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the written rules of your apartment complex.

Cassidy: I'm clerk, so same warning on this being legal advice. Generally speaking, any remedy coming from federal protection (like the ADA) isn't going to apply to cannabis because it's federally illegal. It would be worth looking into your state's renters' rights protections as well as there may be some exceptions there.

GleamLaw6 karma

To continue, if the apartment rules specify vaping, cannabis, etc, then you will have to be more careful. Generally, "right to smoke" lawsuits by tobacco users have failed, but the question of whether your status as a prescription holder changes the nature of that challenge. Apparently, there have been some Fair Housing Act challenges by medical card holders, but they have failed because a person can ingest cannabis by other means.

GleamLaw5 karma

Finally, it's possible that the apartment rules have some general ban against "illegal activity." Because medical cannabis is still illegal under federal law, the landlord can still lean on that rule in order to enforce the lease provisions.

FallingSpear3 karma

How can you help veterans with PTSD who use Cannabis for the management of their symptoms, but are reprised against by the US government? Being fired for consumption. Losing ones security clearance. How can the government in one hand give us PTSD (military combat operations) and then terminate us when we seek treatment for those symptoms with the other?

I should not have to decide between effective treatment for my PTSD vs maintaining a security clearance and my job.

GleamLaw3 karma

Justin here: Unfortunately, until federal legalization happens, there's little that can be done for security clearances. https://militarybenefits.info/cannabis-security-clearance/

We recommend working with cannabis friendly veterans organizations, like Veterans Cannabis Project (https://www.vetscp.org/) that help with advocacy.

Thank you for your service, and I'm sorry you have to live with the PTSD.

SeanOTG2 karma

Are Florida employers still able to fire you for using marijuana/failing a drug test if you have a medical card?

GleamLaw3 karma

Sean, this answer has come up a few times in this AMA.

I can't tell you specifically for Florida, but I can tell you generally each employer is free to make its own rules governing the employment relationship. Most states allow the employer to determine whether they will allow those with medical cards to retain employment. Most states tend to follow the recommendations laid down by Washington.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=12690262585353123592&q=Roe+v.+TeleTech+Customer+Care+Mgmt.+LLC&hl=en&as_sdt=6,48

GleamLaw3 karma

Lindsey: Unfortunately, because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, employers can still prohibit its use even for employees who are medical users.

Gooz632 karma

When do you think weed will be legal in Georgia and federally?

GleamLaw3 karma

2021-2015 possibly on the federal level. Georgia is a state where we are not anticipating state legalization anything soon.

GleamLaw2 karma

Somewhere between soon and eventually.

BlackIron1six2 karma

I have read alot of this thread but I haven't seen my question yet. Since cannabis is federally illegal, couldn't a federal prosecutor go into a state that legalized the product and prosecute people for a federal crime?

GleamLaw2 karma

Alan here: In adult use States it’s a possibility, but unlikely. In 2014 the DOJ issued the Cole memos that said they would prioritize prosecutions based on a list of 8 factors. In 2018 AG Sessions revoked the Cole memo but he didn’t reject the premise of the Cole memos. AG Barr has generally adopted the premise of the Cole memos as well. So it’s very unlikely.

The Rohrabacher-Farr line of amendments profit the use of the DOJ budgeted funds to be used to restrict state legal medical marijuana activities. So in medical only states there is no risk.

GleamLaw2 karma

Neil: They could, but they tend not to. The Cole Memo provided guidance for states and effectively stated that so long as states provide a robust regulatory system, the feds will consider it a low priority risk. Although the Cole Memo has been rescinded by Sessions, it still seems to be the policy.

EmptyGore2 karma

If I wanted to run away and start a small commercial grow operation, which state would currently be the easiest to start one? (Licenses, markets, ECT...)

GleamLaw2 karma

Neil: this is highly dependent upon the size of your intended grow, your available resources, and your timeline. For instance, Oregon is a great place to go, but there is quite a backup on application processing at the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission).

na_DANGER_me2 karma

Hello! My family owns and operates a small wholesale bakery in the Bay Area, California. We specialize in upscale desserts for a large catering company in SF. We are interested in having a branch of cannabis infused goods (using self precured FECO and/or tincture). Any insight on limitations with home based business? And could this be a DBA under our wholesale license? I appreciate your time!

GleamLaw3 karma

Habib: Cannabis businesses in California cannot operate out of a home (a cannabis premise can only conduct cannabis activities). You would need to obtain a Type N manufacturing license (“infusion”) from the Department of Public Health or a Type S “shared-use” license.

djh33152 karma

I live in a state that is currently illegal. I'd love to get into the market and start a business around it once it becomes legal (NY looks close!). What steps can i take to prepare for filing for the license?

GleamLaw3 karma

Ryan here: this is a great question!

I would start to think about the space question. All jurisdictions have limitations on where certain cannabis businesses can be sited. NY will likely look to other states in determining how to regulate that issue. For example, they may have a state-wide buffer requirement (can't be 1000 feet from schools, etc.) and then local regulations in terms of zoning (must be in industrial zone, for example). Any advance work you can do on identifying potential sites based on any proposed legislation will put you in a good position to get a fast start on a lease, business application, etc.

blarghusmaximus2 karma

I am an ecommerce developer, developing a "order online, pick up inside" platform for the cannabis industry. What is the best way for me to meet people in the space who might need such a product?

GleamLaw2 karma

Neil: I recommend both local and national organizations to join. For instance, NCIA (National Cannabis Industry Association) is a good place to start. The cofounder, Steve DeAngelo, is also doing an AMA right now.

Witsend202 karma

What are states doing to amend Medical Marijuana bills to preveny medical card holders from losing their 2nd amendment right?

GleamLaw2 karma

Ryan here: Unfortunately, there is not much states can do. Federal law is such that medical marijuana card holders are precluded from owning a firearm or ammunition. Until that changes, states are simply following federal law.

rolledupdollabill2 karma

How was court?

GleamLaw3 karma

We're holding court right now. How's is going?

hirule2 karma

I live in New York and our governor is talking about attempting to legalize cannabis in the next year or two. I own a hydroponic business growing culinary herbs for restaurants and would like to transition to cannabis. What should I be doing now to prepare?

GleamLaw2 karma

Justin here: Connections. Connections. Connections. Make connections with those in the industry, usually at industry events, and start looking at how other businesses are marketing themselves and their products marketing. I would also highly recommend learning everything you can about the plant and its conditions, as they are very different from hydroponics in other contexts. Finally, you should get with a lawyer early, to make sure your business is properly segregated in order to ensure as many protections as possible for your business, which would include the business entity formation and drafting agreements so you can hit the ground running.

Boxcar_Overkill2 karma

How do you get the moneys into the banks?

Are banks accepting money from cannabis businesses now?

GleamLaw2 karma

Alan here: What State are you in? There are more and more community banks and credit unions that are legitimately banking the industry.

SwaySh0t2 karma

Also, what do you think about the Illinois law in general specifically with the industry prioritizing social equity applicants(individuals who have been arrested for minor cannabis offenses, or individuals who have lived in a disproportionately impacted area from the war on drugs) as business owners and license holders? Do you think it’s fair? Will it work? What problems, if any, do you foresee?

GleamLaw2 karma

Habib here: I believe that because of the disproportionate impact that the war on drugs has had on people of color, social equity components need to be a part of every state's licensing regime. Now what that looks like in practice can have vary greatly. I've seen ordinances that require 50% ownership in a license, hire a certain number of employees from particular neighborhoods, offer training, or free space. It will definitely take some time and data before we know which policies had the greatest impact.

GleamLaw2 karma

Ryan here. I'm not licensed in Illinois, so please don't take this as legal advice.

Here's an interesting outline for those needing to follow along: https://www2.illinois.gov/IISNews/19996-Adult_Use_Cannabis_Summary.pdf

I think this program is very interesting. It looks like the the social equity applicants get a boost (25 points on the scoring system) but that doesn't necessarily mean they'd be in front of the line. Other applicants could outscore them on other merits. I haven't looked at any state constitutional law issues with this type of program, but considering that there is no protected class of persons that would be impacted here, any equal protection challenge is likely to fail.

GleamLaw2 karma

Justin here: We have not really dealt with the Social Equity Bill. Generally, we all tend to be in favor of any bill which works to remedy the long-term effect of the war on drugs. This could easily turn into a multi-day discussion on racism and the war on drugs.

In terms of problems, one of the dangers if exploitation of the license holder by sophisticated business people. Already in the industry we have had such a hard time unwinding transactions in which one unsophisticated party has taken advantage of another. ALWAYS get something looked at BEFORE you agree or sign.

PM_ME_YOUR_CLIT_LADY2 karma

Chances on getting the Pres to legalize it federally, even if it's under the guise of "economic stimulus" or "helping small businesses" or even to "help citizens during these stressful times"? I could go on all day with possible angles, but my main focus would be the top down approach using the "get more states and try going up" current approach as a good stepping stone and validator.

GleamLaw2 karma

Ryan here: I suppose the Dems could attach a federal decriminalization bill into the next round of emergency stimulus, but I haven't heard anything like that happening. Given that state budgets are about to be squeezed, I would think the laggard states would look at whether Washington, Colorado, etc. maintain better sales tax revenue during the downturn due to legalization. So, I continue to think national legalization or decrim waits until a critical mass of conservative states decide to legalize.

optagon2 karma

Will you help me copyright, trademark, patent or just popularize the term Cannabusinessman for anybody working in the trade?

GleamLaw3 karma

Neil: We're always happy to discuss this. Hit us up by email at [email protected]

GleamLaw1 karma

Justin here: I can tell you that trademark is likely not very protectable, as it is what we call descriptive. That would be like me trying to trademark Marijuana Lawyer. Gleam Law is protectable, Marijuana Lawyer is not.

As for help...sure...if you pay.

bacondawg2 karma

Given the federal designation of marijuana being a schedule 1 drug, as well as it still being illegal by the federal government, what precautions should medical physicians take when recommending medical marijuana to patients?

GleamLaw5 karma

Generally, you will want to look to (1) your malpractice carrier's rules; (2) your ogranization's rules; (3) your state's MQAC and licensure rules; and (4) the AMA guidance on the topic: https://assets.ama-assn.org/sub/meeting/documents/i16-resolution-907.pdf. If you are in a state that does not have a well-established medical program, you will want to consult with someone to ensure your plan of operation actually matches the rules in place for your state.

adm02102 karma

If someone were interested in manufacturing edibles, what sort of business licenses would that require?

GleamLaw3 karma

Justin here: This depends on the state you are in. In Washington State, it would require a processor license. In addition, you would have to generally follow GMP requirements and all USDA and department of health requirements. Each state differs greatly in their general requirements for food processors, but you would need any licenses requires there as well.

BushPileIt2 karma

When will pilots be allowed to smoke weed?

GleamLaw2 karma

It is best to not smoke while flying. Ash will get into the instruments.

GleamLaw2 karma

Justin here: And if Ash gets in the instruments, there's no telling what his Pokemon will do.

But in all seriousness, FAA is federal, and federal will not loosen up in the slightest until federal legalization occurs IMHO. Even then, it will probably be a slow roll for those in positions involving machinery that could kill lots of people if mismanaged.

v36212 karma

Hi there! I am currently in my last semester of law school. My 1L year someone argued with me about how Texas would be legalized by now. Interning at the State Capitol made me realize Texas is a long ways off, at least more than the past two years.

What’s your opinion on Red states like Texas and how long the transition to recreational marijuana acceptance is taking? What would you recommend to us wishing it was legal here, but not wanting to jeopardize our reputations in a less weed-friendly state?

GleamLaw2 karma

Justin here: I think they are still a ways out, as well. Hemp and CBD just passes in Texas, and was strategically underfunded and will have a lot of hiccups going forward. The regulatory schema tends to be one of the more draconian as compared to other states. I think they will be ahead of Idaho. But behind quite a few other states.

Get involved in the Hemp and CBD space, and get involved at the local level with NORML, to work to change hearts and minds. The smoother hemp and CBD goes, the more open the lawmakers will be to treating it like the agricultural commodity it is.

Thatsbrutals2 karma

Why do people with drug offenses get more time than rape and assault offenses?

GleamLaw3 karma

Ammon: many criminal punishments for drug crimes are subject to mandatory minimums that were established during the war on drugs. Congress passed these long mandatory prison sentences because they believed harsher punishments would discourage drug sales and use. It didn't work to stop drug sales or use, but it did work for the other purpose of the drug war--to oppress the political and artistic expressions of African-American civil rights activists and liberal hippies that Richard Nixon regarded as anti-social.

So why are rape and assaulters punished less harshly? Politics. Society hated rapists and assaulters less than it hated drug dealers, as depicted by the value judgments of our leaders regarding who deserves leniency. Prior to the Me Too movement (and maybe after?), rapists got a lot of slack in America.

SteveLargent802 karma

How do you feel about Washington's 5ng per se DUI law? Does the science support this limit?

GleamLaw3 karma

Neil: The science is questionable here, I feel. It may be very high for a first-time consumer, but it would be unnoticeable to a daily smoker. But we have to draw the arbitrary line somewhere. Ammon: (not Washington specific) Depending on how your state DUI law is written, some attorneys have started challenging cannabis DUIs on the basis that 5ng is insufficient to prove "impairment." However, some states do not require "impairment" for a DUI conviction and can convict on the presence of THC alone.

trippyspiritmoon2 karma

Do you expect legalization in the US anytime soon?

GleamLaw4 karma

We expect it. At some point. Eventually.

mudien2 karma

I'm living in the US with permanent resident status. Since federally marijuana is still illegal, if I get my card in a state where it is legal could I potentially lose my PR status?

GleamLaw2 karma

Unfortunately we don't handle immigration matters. Immigration is governed by Federal Law, and thus it could be used as a basis. Here's an article outlining some of the issues that can play out:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-green-card-holders-use-medical-marijuana-states-where-its-legal.html

milkman12182 karma

Is it difficult to aquire a distributor license in the state of Washington if I wanted to start a small grow op?

GleamLaw3 karma

Justin here: There is currently no distributor license in Washington. The licenses are Producer, Processor, and Retailer (and of course Producer/Processor, if you are growing and processing). The licenses are out there to be had, and there are people out there who are selling and buying these all the time.

A good place to start before looking for a license is to look at Chapter 314-55 of the Washington Administrative Code. This will give you an idea of some of the requirements and where you might fit in.

GleamLaw3 karma

Neil: There is not a distributor license, but there is a processor license that can act as such. Licenses cannot be applied for, but can be purchased/assumed by someone who possesses one. Prices run $15k-$30k right now for one of these licenses in Washington.

Big_Lil_Shad2 karma

How do I get a medcard? * I’m 18

GleamLaw2 karma

These vary state to state. So, you should follow those rules. Some states, such as Iowa, limit the conditions strictly. Unfortunately, there's little in the way of help a lawyer can give you here unless you were denied for an improper reason.

flapfreeboodle2 karma

Did you know that today is Hitler's birthday?

GleamLaw5 karma

Who's that? Does he get high?

GleamLaw13 karma

Cassidy: I hear he blew his mind.

MorganLeFail1 karma

How have the quarantine procedures effected the cannabis market? More people buying in bulk to avoid trips out?

GleamLaw3 karma

Neil: Most retailers have seen a bump in sales. Apparently, when you have nothing to do but sit at home, cannabis is a great friend.

 

We see most cultivators receiving boosts in orders, as well, but they have to be careful not to become a Covid hotspot.

GleamLaw2 karma

Mia: Shops saw a huge uptick in sales for a couple weeks. Then, at least here in Oregon, when it because clear that shops were not going to be shut down, sales leveled off. One retailer told me that when the stimulus checks started hitting people's accounts, they had hour long waits. Purchase limits prevent people from buying in bulk.

Disruptme7101 karma

Are you guys seeing an increase in formations of psychedelic-based or medicinal mushroom-based companies?

GleamLaw5 karma

Ammon: Interest and activism for psychedelic mushrooms have definitely increased in recent years, as has medical research and public perceptions of mushrooms as legitimate for human consumption. See medical interest. I expect that interest and use will continue to increase in the next decade, but doubt that recreational legalization is close.

More likely, we will sooner see it approved as a pharmaceutical for use only under the supervisor of a doctor/therapist. Recreational use may never come.

We are not yet seeing many companies being formed for psychedelic mushrooms because there is not currently a lawful market for those businesses. Because there is no lawful outlet, all psychedelic mushroom sales would be illegal and we as attorneys cannot help our clients break the law.

Once there is any lawful avenue for mushroom sales, we look forward to expanding to assist those businesses in that new chapter in the War on the War On Drugs.

xynix_ie1 karma

As a professional the largest hurdle has been corporations and working through federal guidelines.

While it might be a huge fight destined for a loss have you considered representing a client rejected from a job from failing a drug test, even if that person has a medical card at the state level? What are the chances of winning such a lawsuit at the state level for the goal of employment?

GleamLaw2 karma

The chances are usually non-existent, unfortunately. If you go through the AMA, this question has come up a few times. Generally, employers are free to prohibit drug use, even if only illegal at the federal level. Washington State dealt with this early on, and found that employers could use marijuana use as grounds for termination, despite state legality: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=12690262585353123592&q=Roe+v.+TeleTech+Customer+Care+Mgmt.+LLC&hl=en&as_sdt=6,48.

Interestingly, this issue has came up in drug tests for hemp extract and CBD, which can sometimes create false positives on drug tests, despite federal legality. This will definitely lead to some potentially winnable lawsuits. But at the state level with marijuana, its likely a no-go.

The Navy, interestingly enough, has a no-use policy on CBD products, which has led to security clearance losses: https://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=110496

El_Pizz1 karma

Hello thanks for doing this! The town I live in only has one dispensary. The medicine is consistent snicklefritz.... It even "sparkles" sometimes when they don't flush it properly. The budtenders tend to take their smoke breaks in front of the store, causing patients to walk thru cigarette smoke to enter. A lot of people, myself included, drive 50 miles to another town for quality medicine. What's the best way to go about trying to attract another company to my town? Competition is always good for the customer and I think the current dispensary would make changes if there was another store in town.

GleamLaw3 karma

Ammon: You've already identified both a problem and the solution.

The best way to satisfy a market need in your town is to become the business that fulfills that need. Be an entrepreneur and beat your competition. That's the American way.

El_Pizz1 karma

Thanks for the reply! I wish I could but I can golf my credit score. There are a few companies in New Mexico with multiple stores so I was more thinking of pitching to them. I'd definitely work at a new place but running a business is a few years of fixing dumb decisions away for me.

GleamLaw4 karma

Ammon: Not every business plan requires a lot of up-front capital. Dream big and outside of the box about what you can do and how to do it on your schedule. I've seen retail stores get started with about the same infrastructure and investment as a taco truck.

GleamLaw3 karma

Neil: Where are you located? Every state has different regulations that may limit the the number of dispensaries in the state or city/county. Other regulations may require dispersion (distance between each dispensary) and zoning requirements. These may all contribute to the limitation you are experiencing.

Guivond1 karma

If you has to guess, how long (if at all) will it take for this to become federally legalized in the USA? Should we put our hopes in the laps of presidential candidates or do you anticipate congress doing the leg work?

GleamLaw2 karma

Ammon: It's anyone's guess when it will happen because it depends so heavily on politics and politicians. My estimate is sometime between 2021-2025.

There are three potential avenues for legalization to get through the Federal government. Presidential executive order (could happen anytime via tweet, or not at all), an Act of Congress (unlikely, given that Congress doesn't agree about much of anything right now), and by administrative action within the DOJ/DEA (unlikely, IMHO, because such a large policy shift isn't appropriate for an administrative board with limited authority).

ianmccisme1 karma

Since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, are you concerned about legal liability in representing cannabis businesses? It's one thing to represent a defendant charged with a crime, but it seems the feds could argue that this is more like being house counsel for a criminal enterprise.

Seems the feds could crack down on lawyers in this area if they wanted to. How do you have comfort that can't happen?

GleamLaw4 karma

Ammon: This was a major concern for many licensed professionals right after legalization. The businesses obviously need expert assistance, but as professionals, we are prohibited from assisting in the commission of a crime...which state-licensed cannabis activity still is under federal law.

As lawyers, our ethics are regulated by our state bar association, who enforces ethics rules written by our state supreme court. To clarify what our role is, most state bar associations in legalization states have released ethics opinions that allow attorneys to help cannabis companies understand and comply with state laws so long as we also advise the client that their activity is illegal under federal law. Click here to see the formal opinion in Washington, state

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

GleamLaw2 karma

Neil: It really depends upon the state. In Washington, one cannot deliver to a consumer, but there is a transport license for moving product between licensees. During our current Covid matter, curbside pickup is permitted for retailers (dispensaries).

Norgeroff1 karma

What color is your toothbrush?

GleamLaw5 karma

Every gleamy color

GleamLaw3 karma

Mia: I have a black toothbrush with black bristles. Thanks for asking.

elharrio1 karma

As experts what are your opinions on this point a politician here in europe made https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=G510jeWiaV0

GleamLaw6 karma

Cassidy: I don't think we should give up or let down the fight.

elharrio1 karma

Cassidy is a wise man

GleamLaw3 karma

Justin here: You should see his beard! Its like Gandalf had a baby with Hagrid.

alliems16a3 karma

That's just mean to put that in people's minds without qualification or specificity. Is it long, wavy & brown? Bushy & steel grey?

GleamLaw3 karma

Cassidy: I'm basically just a tumbleweed with little eyes peeking out. Wild and wooly.

elharrio0 karma

Cassidy sounds like a chad

GleamLaw4 karma

Justin here: He's more like Ron Swanson, if Ron Swanson was liberal. So....Ron Dunn from Eagleton, with better facial hair.

GleamLaw4 karma

Also, I may or may not be in the middle of a Parks and Rec rewatch these days.

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neil: -_-

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Justin here: I don't think it really does anything but hurt the industry in Germany. However, I was hopeful when I saw this from Angela Murkel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub82Xb1C8os.

lookingrightone1 karma

[question] have you ever dealt a case where farmers,processor or retailers are selling cannabis illigaly?if yes how many times and what are the actions taken against them by government?

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Justin here: These usually fall outside of the regulatory process. This means that it will usually fall under good ol' traditional law enforcement. As the industry has been largely legitimized, tolerance for those businesses usually goes away after legalization has stabilized. We continue to see illegal grow operations being busted, as well as house and asset seizures from the cartels housing the grow operations. Its pretty frequent. Even if you're a legitimate Cannabis business, there is still the risk of law enforcement action if you are operating outside the bounds of the law. In fact, the Washington statutes explicitly allow our Liquor and Cannabis Board to refer matters to law enforcement.

Ammon: A key consideration that drug businesses in the War On Drugs (both legitimate and illegitimate) need to consider is who is the responsible law enforcement body and whether they are likely to enforce the law. Local, state, and federal law enforcement have always shared responsibility for enforcing drug laws. With limited resources and personnel, the police at all levels simply can't deal with everything they want to so they have to prioritize and ignore the rest. For instance, Washington state police specifically do not enforce federal marijuana drug laws against state-licensed businesses even though those businesses are violating federal law. Many local sheriffs, being voted in by the local populace, go further and refuse to enforce state limitations on illicit sales or production. The DEA, in contrast, has such limited resources that they generally limit their direct law enforcement to very large multi-state operations--local growers/dealers are just not worth their time, so they leave them for local law enforcement.

EnormousChord1 karma

Thanks for doing this! I don't have a specific legal question per se, but given the credentials you all shared in your intro it seems fair to ask - what's your collective take on how far away America is from federal legalization of recreational cannabis use?

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Ammon: Realistically, federal legalization probably will take place sometime in 2021-2025. We are gaining a lot of momentum and support across the political spectrum, but from what I've seen most of that support is among Democrats and hyperpartisanship makes it less likely that GOP politicians will take a position more popular to Democrats than Republicans. What's the gain for a Republican pol for looking good to Democratic voters who aren't going to vote for him anyway? Not a lot, at least not until after the November election. Functionally, it could happen any day. All it would take is an executive order from the White House and my professional opinion about the White House is that they take pride in being unpredictable.

EnormousChord2 karma

Thanks for the response. From a complete outsiders perspective it seems like its always going to be enough of a hot button voter issue that its' going to be stuck in a political nowhere forever, but I guess as more states come on board the prohibition folks will have less and less fake news misleading data to rely on.

Happy 4/20/2020!

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Ammon: Exactly. Information is powerful and public opinion has shifted more on this issue in the last few decades than on nearly any other political issue. Videos of medical cannabis having visual effects have been more effective than decades of public protests.

Consider, for instance, that most millennials in the US had police officers come into our classrooms as children to teach us that smoking weed even once would ruin our lives. Nancy Reagan convinced our parents and our teachers 110%, but as adults Millenials tend to favor legalization. The future is bright.

GoodOlBluesBrother1 karma

Do you have a view of the European CBD flower market and the regulation thereof?

I'm concerned that there are a lot of retail suppliers that are selling flower that isn't tested, or doesn't match what the Certificates of Analysis are showing. On a couple of occasions I've enquired about CoAs and have been provided with ones that don't match the product I purchased.

One claimed the other day they didn't need to test every 'batch' as small discrepancies are possible. When I asked how big a batch was they said 300kg, which would seem like a complete harvest and as such would require the growers/whole-sellers to obtain a CoA.

Thanks for you thoughts.

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Ammon: As a brand new industry experiencing a boom, you must expect that there will also be ample fraud. Be weary of new relationships at first--trust, but verify everything.

As the industry ages and matures we all will start to establish the relationships and industry standards that will help protect us all against that fraud, but that will take time. In the meantime be vigilant and nimble.

GoodOlBluesBrother2 karma

I hear you :)

I guess a follow up question would be. What kind of information am I entitled to as an end user in EU? As mentioned, most CoAs only show the THC levels. I guess because this is the cheapest test to do (vs full spectrum vs full spectrum and heavy metal analysis). And the aTHC only CoA seems mostly used to appease customers (authorities?) that the THC level is legal and thus fit for sale.

Are EU suppliers required to test for heavy metals seeing as this might be a health consideration*? I'm assuming all vegetable suppliers are required to do this in some form (soil analysis maybe?).

And, if suppliers are required to provide heavy metal analysis (and/or full spectrum) and a retailer isn't able/won't supply this information what recourse do end users have?

I guess I'm asking what the relevant EU authority is that I can report a suspects fraudulent seller to? And for what can I report them if I suspect so?

  • It's worth noting that CBD flower in the EU is now sold as a non consumable. Either as a souvenir, an aromatic item or some other. But it always states it's not for combustion or consumption. So I guess heavy metal analysis isn't relevant to health requirements.

Thanks for the help :)

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Justin here: Currently, CBD is considered a novel food, per my understanding, which is a heavily regulated category. I think the EU is largely allowing its members states to determine hemp policy, similar to how each U.S. state is free to determine testing policies.

As we only practice in the U.S., the only issue we usually deal with is importing and re-labeling of EU products that are otherwise compliant.

As for fraudulent sellers, it should fall under standard product law, but again, as we don't represent European businesses, I haven't the faintest idea who that could be. The European Industrial Hemp Association likely has some decent information on reporting bad actors.

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Justin here:

We have seen some issues with the European CBD market, especially as it relates to flower coming from other countries (China, usually). States and countries with more robust testing protocols will generally provide safer flower, but I always recommend my clients test every batch in and every batch after processing. It adds a bit of expense, but is usually well-worth it.

The prime example I give is this, a friend of a colleague came to him touting this GREAT flower he received from China that was testing very high CBD. He was excited because of a certificate of analysis came along with the flower. His friend recommended he get it tested. Not only was the CBD almost non-existent, it was also high in heavy metals and pesticides.

In short: Vet your grower, know their processes from end to end, and trust, but verify.

GoodOlBluesBrother1 karma

Thanks for the quick reply and info. I didn't know European CBD flower was coming from China. I always thought it was all Italian, Austrian or Swiss grown.

Almost all CoAs I've seen are from labs in Italy.

Only one retailer that I contacted CoAs had heavy metals listed. It seems most (growers?) only pay for the basic THC test to ensure it meets (most countries) 0.2% legal limit.

The problem I'm encountering more often than not is that all EU CBD flower retail suppliers I've contacted don't like talking about CoAs and especially things like heavy metals. I'm not sure if this is down to a lack of knowledge of such matters or because they are trying to hide the true nature of their product. It's a very difficult subject to navigate.

I guess if I had a follow up question on the EU market it would be, who's responsibility is it to ensure product safety and accurate/honest testing is done - grower, wholesaler or retailer?

Thanks for the answers :)

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Justin here: If it is your product, you should be responsible for the safety of the product. If someone has a lawsuit, they will sue the manufacturer of the product first and foremost. In addition, taking responsibility will be necessary to meet the requirements of other jurisdictions when you try to export the product, so its good to get your own COA on the hemp, so you can meet the highest common denominator in terms of labeling and QR code requirements.

If you're supplier is not providing proper COAs, then they are likely not a supplier you want to deal with.

GoodOlBluesBrother2 karma

Thanks again. Great info. This is just a guess but from what I've experienced it seems like a lot produce is provided with CoAs which are not relevant to the produce, and are just used as a means to get the product approved for sale/export. Which would imply the relevant authorities who check such things are not able to determine which CoAs go with which product. Just a hunch though.

One last question, sorry. With regards heavy metals, do you know where can I find any information on what are regarded as safe levels? Just seeing them tested for on a CoA gave me cause for concern, but later investigation showed that they are present in almost all soil grown consumables. But still I can't find information relating to safe levels in cannabis.

Thanks :)

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That we can't tell you. Unfortunately, as lawyers, we all flunked chemistry. Generally the "safe levels" are set at the federal government level.

Captain_Stairs0 karma

Will it take national legalization in the US to trademark cannabis strains?

Another problem is the indica/sativa/hybrid description on products. I work in the industry and ultimately companies can label a strain as any of those because its legal. This system isn't helpful for anyone. Is there any push to change this labeling to something helpful?

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Neil: The United States Patent and Trademark Office specifically prohibits any trademark protection for varietals and cultivars, regardless of whether it is legal or not.

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Justin here: With regard to trademarks, state trademarks are usually okay in legal states. Federally, the USPTO looks to overall legality of the product, but we generally have ways to protect brands that can work around those issues raised by the Cannabis itself.

With regard to labeling, some states do require Cannabinoid profiles or extreme registration of cultivars to include not only profiles, but effects (I'm looking at you, Canada!). We see a lot more of that in states coming online with hemp and CBD, oddly enough. However, there's enough data out there on most strains that with google and a bit of time, you can find the specifics on anything you are contemplating using.

Morolan0 karma

Do federal raids still happen? Isn't cannabis still illegal in the US? How do the state's legalize it while having the federal government say it's illegal?

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Justin here: This question is really two parts. The first is federal illegality and raids. Cannabis is still very much federally illegal. However, raids tend to only occur with true illicit market actors.

We live in a federalist system, that means that each state is essentially a little petri dish performing some of its own experiments in isolation. The federal government only gets to regulate all of the states when they can say that it affects interstate commerce. This is how a lot of "police power" laws end up occurring.

That said, when states started legalizing, there was a LOT of back and forth with the federal government about whether or how this could be done. It went so far that Washington's governor allowed a medicinal marijuana bill to pass but refused to issue any regulations for fear of federal enforcement against people in state government.

This resulted in the now-famous Cole Memo, which gave the states a road map for operating state-based marijuana programs. The Trump Administration, under drug hawk Jeff Sessions, repealed the Cole Memo. However, as a practical matter, it has continued with business as usual.

Morolan1 karma

Thanks!

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Alan here: There is also the Rohracher-Blumenauer amendment that prohibits the use is DOJ funds from interfering with state legal medical marijuana activities.