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A NEW INDUSTRY STANDARD

Highly Specific, Case-by-Case, Municipality-by-Municipality

California has pioneered the legitimization of cannabis industry ever since first legalizing it some 20+ years ago.  Proponents have worked to increase patient-access, educate the public of the benefits of cannabis, and now, are at the final stages of developing a framework which sets out to regulate an industry which has, for decades, been unregulated, untaxed, and largely unchecked by government. 


Industry professionals and local law enforcement agencies have butted heads for years, but 2017 brought wide variation with respect to the enforcement tools deployed, settlements agreed upon, and decisions made at the local level with respect to Prop 64.  Many questions still exist...

  • Which municipalities will ban commercial cannabis licensees from operating within their respective jurisdictions?  
  • How will they do it?  
  • How do such local governments reconcile the array of interests?  
  • Does the locality's current difficulty in, for example, combating social ills like homelessness or drug addiction provide a rational basis for banning the commercial sale of cannabis?  For making such sales criminal offenses?

Whether, and which, of the above, plus others, to ask, at which time(s), before which tribunal, and framed in what form, among other considerations, are crucial in determining how to best achieve your immediate and long-term goals.  


The legal professionals at San Diego Cannabis Lawyers take pride in understanding the several moving parts which relate to the goals and risks of our clients.  By understanding the dynamics which effect their businesses, our clients are capable of making business decisions based on facts; not rumors from City Hall, fear mongering, a local politician's blog, or threats of criminal prosecution.

Green is the New Gold; Dispensaries, Municipalities, Californians, Bracing for Impact-Revisiting the Criminal Element; Federalism, Local Police Power-Constitutional Implications

By James P. Finigan, Cannabis Lawyer

October 28, 2017


The State of California anticipates more than $7 billion, in cash, will exchange hands in the regulated California cannabis market in 2018.  As the California Bureau of Cannabis continues finalizing the regulations under which professionals in the California cannabis industry will begin applying for state licenses, many localities across the state are digging-in their heels, resisting change, and reverting to previously-repealed, or altogether new, police powers and code enforcement mechanisms to combat the un-permitted dispensaries operating within their communities.  Some are resorting to assessing exorbitant civil fines against the property, which ultimately punishes the landlord. This enforcement tool typically has no teeth in curbing the operator's cited behavior, and only penalizes the property owner.  I have talked with many property owners, however, claiming to have only rented to the business for a legitimate purpose and/or that the dispensary otherwise acquired possession of the property under false pretenses. 


Seemingly frustrated that the assessments of the civil fines are proving unsuccessful at shutting down the un-permitted dispensaries, some municipalities are moving backwards down the Cannabis industry's path towards legitimization, and have declared Open Season on dispensaries, including the landlords renting to them, by making it a criminal offense to operate a dispensary within their jurisdiction.  


In one local jurisdiction, the City Council for the City of El Cajon, within the County of San Diego, just recently re-criminalized the commercial sale of cannabis. This comes just two years after they voted to decriminalize it in order to avoid liability related to patients within their City having access to cannabis.  In discussing whether the Council remained concerned with the potential for violating the Constitutional rights of its residents who rely on cannabis, the Council referred them to La Mesa.  Chairman of the Council, Mayor Bill Wells, commented, "We don't have to be a leader on this.  If they need it, they can get it from La Mesa."


The council, however, entirely missed the point in analyzing whether their actions violated the constitutional rights of the residents of its City. While they appear to have attempted to balance the patients need for treatment with the ease by which such patient can obtain cannabis from neighboring municipalities, they failed to even consider whether, and the extent by which, their actions deprived dispensary operators, or the landlords who rent to them, of property without a warrant, and in violation of the U.S. Constitution, 4th Amendment's protections to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. 


The City Council of El Cajon has brandished its Chief Crusader in its War on Cannabis, Mayor West, and his land-use zoning officials with a shiny new toy, and its called, "You're going to jail."  In these uncertain times for the cannabis industry, this attorney is sure of at least one thing in El Cajon.  Unless someone does something, a dispensary operator and/or landlord will be arrested soon. 


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When Results Matter

In an ever-changing world, where certainty is fleeting, and high stakes are on the line, our clients take comfort in knowing that the attorneys at San Diego Cannabis Lawyers understand the driving forces behind the decisions made by local government officials.  Whether at the local or state levels, our proactive approach hones in on the specific conduct the municipalits seeks to regulate, and from there, lawful strategies are formed to avoid, protect against, and advise on such impositions of undue risk, or other display of force, abusing the its local police power under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of California.


Reactively, as each case presents itself, our team of industry experts and legal professionals are equipped with the experience and tools to guage any risks faced by your business.  Accurately guaging and assigning risk is key to developing effective business strategies.  Once armed with that knowledge, our clients may elect a legal strategy which is both designed to achieve your goals, and commensurately tailored to your account for the risks.  


I have seen seemingly risk-averse landlords and dispensary operators take on undue risk because they simply were unaware of their level of exposure and potential for liability; conversely, others have succumbed to implementing drastic and sometimes unreasonable precautionary measures out of fear for "Ghost Risks," which in fact, do not exist; and which, in many cases, are nothing more than municipal shakedowns for cash.πŸ’°


When results matter, call the industry's leading attorneys at San Diego Cannabis Lawyers. 


(619) 616-3837  

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Chips Don't Fall Where They May, They Are Deliberately, Methodically & Strategically Placed

Local governments have been under heavy criticism for lax zoning and permitting regulations following the 1996 legalization of medical marijuana in California, and have recently reacted by passing various regulations meant to address the situation.


The legal professionals at San Diego Cannabis Lawyers help landlords and operators achieve their goals, obtain local compliance, and, setting them apart from the rest, possess first-hand knowledge of the dynamics (many hidden) impacting each of our client's unique placement amidst the municipal players, their code enforcement officers, and by each local municipality's organizational structure, the mechanism most-effective to protect your rights and property interests.  Our experience and knowledge makes us a simply indispensable; an truly irreplaceable part of any comprehensive plan in positioning for commercial cannabis in California in 2018 and beyond. 


Apply for the state license at the earliest possible time - January 2, 2018.  


As a pioneer in the industry, The way you position yourself and your property interests at the onset ma have everlasting impacts.  Not only will the position you take have a lasting effect on your business' profitability, but on a macro level where industry norms are formed, regulatory gaps discovered, and fundamental rights and issue of statutory construction will provide the framework for expanding City if Riverside to a post-Prop 64 era in California. 


Lawsuits will be litigated, orders issued, and decisions rendered, and by the end of 2018, many of the lines drawn initially in sand will harden, and authoritative constitutional, land use, zoning laws will have been weighed against liberty and property interests, and by the end of 2018, there will be winners and losers.  


Will that line in the sand expand your rights and interests in property?  Don't leave yourself wondering how your competitors solidified their market positions; you only get to make a first impression once...


"California, there is someone I have been wanting to introduce you to since 1996, the Commercial Cannabis Industry."


Local Compliance Required for License to Sell Cannabis in the State of California 


When it comes to complying with San Diego area zoning and permitting laws there is practically no room for error. In fact, your business should be compliant with such regulations from its very inception to avoid some of the most severe consequences of violating such regulations, including and up to being forced out of business; or worse, ending up in jail.


If you are operating a locally-noncompliant  dispensary, or are unsure how to comply with local zoning and permitting regulations, contact our offices immediately at (619) 616-3837.


Don't delay!  The legal landscape is changing almost daily.  Protect what is yours today or risk losing it tomorrow. 


San Diego Cannabis Lawyers 

Regulatory Gaps and Why They Matter

SAN DIEGO – November 16, 2017, the state cannabis authority published more than 200 pages of emergency regulations.  


Lawyers, local politicians, dispensary operators, landlords, cannabis patients, and adult recreational cannabis users alike are scrambling to not only figure out what the State of California, Bureau of Cannabis Control, a Division of the Department of Public Health, included in the regulation, but almost as important (if not more!), may be in what is missing...


 It’s only human to make mistakes. The goal is to learn from those mistakes so that  the same consequences are not suffered the next time around.   Undertaking building of an entire regulatory scheme that is intended to span the entire state of California In and in this tree that is driven supported by only cash, and the winch anticipates $5 to $7 billion  in gross revenue, this attorney has received several inquiries into whether something is or is not legal next year.

  e estimates at as high as 45%, many cannabis industry professionals question whether there will be any room for profit     



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The new emergency regulations have been published. Now is time to act.  No matter your level of involvement or interest in the Cannabis industry, now is the time to protect the law you passed, and enforce your rights to benefit from your efforts!

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