Dale Schafer Law News – 6/25/22

#cannabis – “EDGAR at Part 86 requires that Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) receiving federal funds or financial assistance must develop and implement a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees.5 Some of the requirements of this program involve the annual reporting of: standards of conduct; a description of sanctions for violating federal, state and local law and campus policy; a description of the health risks associated with Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) use; a description of treatment options; and a biennial review of the program’s effectiveness and the consistency of the enforcement of sanctions.6

Appendix A to the announcement of the Regulations describes the controlled substances covered by this Act. Included on the list of substances are methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, PCP, LSD, fentanyl, fentanyl analogue and marijuana. The major category of marijuana is broken down further to include hashish and hashish oil in varying quantities.7

IHEs are required to certify that they have an AOD prevention program in order to remain eligible for certain forms of federal funding and assistance. This certification is included commonly in the “Representations and Certifications” section of an application or proposal.8

There also exist certain requirements to demonstrate compliance with the Regulations. On request, IHEs must provide a copy of their biennial report to the U.S. Department of Education or its representative. The Secretary of Education, or their designee, may review the report and supporting documentation as necessary and, where an IHE is noncompliant, may take action ranging from providing technical assistance to help the campus come into compliance to terminating all forms of federal financial assistance. IHEs may also be subject to related requirements under state and federal law and judicial rulings.9″

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/general-counsel-s-corner-cannabis-and-6190609/

#californiacannabis – “Several items within Anderson’s 16-point proposition would ensure cannabis businesses located in unincorporated communities answer to the same requirements as those located within the city of San Diego, such as increasing the setback of cannabis facilities near sensitive land uses like childcare centers and schools from 600 feet to 1,000 feet. Billboards would also have a minimum 1,000 foot setback from sensitive use locations and the list of what constitutes sensitive use spaces would expand to include locations frequently accessed by children and young adults such as public libraries and parks….

Nearly half the measures would require the county department of Planning and Development Services to conduct community research and return to the board within a year with options for direction.

Among those items: design related sections of the plan include limiting how many cannabis businesses can be placed in each community based on geography and population size. The plan called for a design guideline checklist with criteria which “could prohibit such designs that include, but are not limited to, bright colors and misleading facility names” while preserving community character.”

https://thealpinesun.com/county-rolls-new-measures-into-cannabis-permitting-program/

#californiacannabis – “Santee’s proposed tax measure includes a 6 percent rate for retail, 3 percent for distribution, 4 percent for manufacturing and 2 percent for testing labs. Additionally, the measure could feature up to a $10 per square foot rate for commercial cultivation. Both medicinal and recreational cannabis would be allowed.”

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/communities/east-county/santee/story/2022-06-25/santee-continues-to-discuss-allowing-cannabis-businesses-in-city

El Dorado County took a look at this issue and determined that a small (10,000 SQ ft) cultivation premise uses approximately the same amount of water as a single family residence.

#cannabisindustry – “A team of researchers affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley and with the State of California, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board decided to test that question. They assessed irrigation patterns among licensed cannabis farms in northern California.

Their research has confirmed that licensed outdoor marijuana farms do not put undue strain on limited water resources, according to data published in the Journal of Environmental Management. In fact, it only consumes a fraction of the water used by other commercial crops.”

https://www.theleafonline.com/c/cultivation-2/2022/06/cannabis-less-water-than-others-2021/

Dale Schafer Law News – 6/24/23

#cannabispolitics – “After a dip during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, federal law enforcement agents and their partners arrested 25% more people for cannabis-related crimes in 2021, during the first year of the Biden Administration.

But while a post-pandemic bump in arrests would have been fair to expect, the biggest jump in cannabis arrests in a decade was not. The nation’s oldest cannabis reform organization NORML noted the 6,606 marijuana-related arrests in 2021 represented the most since the 8,500 arrested in 2011.

This followed Joe Biden’s February 2021 promise he would pursue decriminalization and mass expungements for people with prior cannabis convictions. A month after that promise, word got out that some staff may have been a little too honest with Joe about their past marijuana use, dozens of young White House staffers were asked to resign. So the hopes of cannabis policy reformers were squashed quickly, but the new soaring arrest numbers are certainly salt in the wound.”

https://www.laweekly.com/federal-cannabis-arrests-jump-25-under-biden/

#cannabispolitics – “A former councilman from the city of Adelanto has been convicted of taking a $10,000 bribe to help a cannabis business open and hiring someone to burn down his restaurant for an insurance payout.

After a six-day trial, Jermaine Wright, 46, was found guilty Wednesday by a federal jury of one count of bribery of programs receiving federal funds and one count of attempted arson of a building affecting interstate commerce, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California…..

Wright is scheduled to be sentenced in September. He faces up to 30 years in federal prison.”

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-23/former-adelanto-councilman-found-guilty-of-taking-bribe

Dale Schafer Law News – 6/24/23

#cannabispolitics – “After a dip during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, federal law enforcement agents and their partners arrested 25% more people for cannabis-related crimes in 2021, during the first year of the Biden Administration.

But while a post-pandemic bump in arrests would have been fair to expect, the biggest jump in cannabis arrests in a decade was not. The nation’s oldest cannabis reform organization NORML noted the 6,606 marijuana-related arrests in 2021 represented the most since the 8,500 arrested in 2011.

This followed Joe Biden’s February 2021 promise he would pursue decriminalization and mass expungements for people with prior cannabis convictions. A month after that promise, word got out that some staff may have been a little too honest with Joe about their past marijuana use, dozens of young White House staffers were asked to resign. So the hopes of cannabis policy reformers were squashed quickly, but the new soaring arrest numbers are certainly salt in the wound.”

https://www.laweekly.com/federal-cannabis-arrests-jump-25-under-biden/

#cannabispolitics – “A former councilman from the city of Adelanto has been convicted of taking a $10,000 bribe to help a cannabis business open and hiring someone to burn down his restaurant for an insurance payout.

After a six-day trial, Jermaine Wright, 46, was found guilty Wednesday by a federal jury of one count of bribery of programs receiving federal funds and one count of attempted arson of a building affecting interstate commerce, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California…..

Wright is scheduled to be sentenced in September. He faces up to 30 years in federal prison.”

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-23/former-adelanto-councilman-found-guilty-of-taking-bribe

Dale Schafer Law News – 6/23/22

#californiacannabis – ““There’s two challenges. One is on the regulatory side, and that has a lot to do with smoking, but also public health concerns. And then the other one really is what is the business model? How does it work? Because you have to pay rent on that space. I think that’s the key challenge for lounges,” Dominic Corva, co-director of the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research at Cal Poly Humboldt, said.

The regulatory challenge Corva referred to is about California anti-indoor smoking regulation meant to protect employees from working in smoke-filled environments, though the regulations were initially targeted at cigarette smoke….

“There aren’t any rules and regulations that directly regulate cannabis consumption indoors, so you have to follow those tobacco laws until the state adopts indoor cannabis consumption laws. What we have to adhere to is just making sure that we don’t violate any of the indoor consumption laws,” Ray Markland, High Tides’ manager, said. “The actual space (for smoking) has to be a separate confined space, we have to have a complaint HVAC system, that system has a minimum number of air changes per hour, we have to make sure that we monitor and keep track of the data from that so that way our employees aren’t subjected to having to work in that environment.”….

While not all areas are receptive to the idea of cannabis lounges — 57% of California’s cities and counties have outright banned all types of cannabis businesses — Corva noted that Humboldt County’s culture and world-famous legacy of cannabis cultivation, legal and illegal, mean that cannabis consumption locally lacks the stigma frequently associated with other parts of California.”

https://www.times-standard.com/2022/06/22/eureka-on-site-cannabis-lounges-navigate-challenging-laws-health-concerns/

#cannabisindustry – Federal Protection – “The text released on Tuesday didn’t include the sweeping protections, however. Instead, it simply maintained an existing rider preventing the Justice Department from using its appropriated federal funds to interfere in the implementation of state medical cannabis programs only, not extending those protections to all state marijuana programs including recreational laws….

That more limited language has been annually renewed in federal law each year since 2014.”

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/state-marijuana-protections-not-included-in-justice-department-funding-bill-despite-lawmakers-pleas/

Dale Schafer Law News – 6/23/22

#californiacannabis – ““There’s two challenges. One is on the regulatory side, and that has a lot to do with smoking, but also public health concerns. And then the other one really is what is the business model? How does it work? Because you have to pay rent on that space. I think that’s the key challenge for lounges,” Dominic Corva, co-director of the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research at Cal Poly Humboldt, said.

The regulatory challenge Corva referred to is about California anti-indoor smoking regulation meant to protect employees from working in smoke-filled environments, though the regulations were initially targeted at cigarette smoke….

“There aren’t any rules and regulations that directly regulate cannabis consumption indoors, so you have to follow those tobacco laws until the state adopts indoor cannabis consumption laws. What we have to adhere to is just making sure that we don’t violate any of the indoor consumption laws,” Ray Markland, High Tides’ manager, said. “The actual space (for smoking) has to be a separate confined space, we have to have a complaint HVAC system, that system has a minimum number of air changes per hour, we have to make sure that we monitor and keep track of the data from that so that way our employees aren’t subjected to having to work in that environment.”….

While not all areas are receptive to the idea of cannabis lounges — 57% of California’s cities and counties have outright banned all types of cannabis businesses — Corva noted that Humboldt County’s culture and world-famous legacy of cannabis cultivation, legal and illegal, mean that cannabis consumption locally lacks the stigma frequently associated with other parts of California.”

https://www.times-standard.com/2022/06/22/eureka-on-site-cannabis-lounges-navigate-challenging-laws-health-concerns/

#cannabisindustry – Federal Protection – “The text released on Tuesday didn’t include the sweeping protections, however. Instead, it simply maintained an existing rider preventing the Justice Department from using its appropriated federal funds to interfere in the implementation of state medical cannabis programs only, not extending those protections to all state marijuana programs including recreational laws….

That more limited language has been annually renewed in federal law each year since 2014.”

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/state-marijuana-protections-not-included-in-justice-department-funding-bill-despite-lawmakers-pleas/

Dale Schafer Law News – 6/22/22

#cannabisindustry – “Federal anti-money laundering (AML) laws – including the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and its implementing regulations – are the primary impediment to banks serving the cannabis industry. These laws establish various recordkeeping and reporting requirements for national banks, federal savings associations, and agencies of foreign banks. Under the BSA, a financial institution must file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) when it knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that a transaction involves funds derived from illegal activity. This would seemingly include any transaction involving funds derived from manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing cannabis, which is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Nevertheless, federal regulators have set up an informal framework for banking cannabis through a series of guidance memoranda, which attempt to clarify when a bank must file a SAR regarding its cannabis customers. The first such memorandum came in 2013 when the Department of Justice issued the “Cole Memo.” In response to the Cole Memo and the growing number of states legalizing cannabis under state law, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidance that sought to “clarif[y] how financial institutions can provide services to marijuana-related businesses consistent with their BSA obligations” (FinCEN Guidance) in 2014.

The FinCEN Guidance requires that a financial institution engaging a cannabis-related business conduct substantial and, importantly, continuing due diligence to determine whether that business is (1) complying with state law, (2) interfering with any of the eight priorities listed in the Cole Memo, or (3) otherwise engaging in “suspicious activity,” including a list of “red flags” enumerated in the Guidance. Depending on what the institution uncovers in its due diligence, it must then file one of three cannabis-specific SARs and continue filing SARs throughout its relationship with the cannabis-related business.

Because the FinCEN Guidance is an informal guidance document that lacks the force of law, it does not immunize a financial institution from federal prosecution for banking cannabis. But many financial institutions have relied on it to provide banking services to cannabis companies. Indeed, 518 banks and 188 credit unions were providing such services as of December 2021. While those numbers seem substantial, many financial institutions have remained on the sidelines. As the American Bankers Association has explained, “without congressional action,” the “majority of financial institutions will not take the legal, regulatory, or reputational risk associated with banking cannabis-related businesses…”

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/cannabis-banking-will-safe-banking-act-finally-pass

Courtesy of the Dana Point Times

#californiacannabis – “In response to a citizen initiative currently being circulated that looks to repeal Dana Point’s prohibition against cannabis retail operations, roughly two dozen people gathered on Monday night, June 20, to attend a town hall discussion regarding the impact of marijuana on the community.

Paul Wyatt, a former councilmember, moderated the panel that featured multiple speakers, including Foundry Treatment Center CEO Ben Cort, Family Medicine and Addiction Specialist Dr. Daniel Headrick and Scott Chipman, leader of San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods….

The petition has until Aug. 12 to gather signatures from 10% of registered voters and receive verification by the Orange County Registrar of Voters to qualify for the upcoming General Election.”

https://www.danapointtimes.com/town-hall-on-proposed-cannabis-ballot-measure-hits-on-impacts-to-the-community/

#cannabisindustry – “The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up a pair of cases concerning workers’ compensation for medical marijuana.

This comes about a month after the Justice Department encouraged the high court to reject the cannabis cases, in part because it argued that broader marijuana policy choices were better left up to Congress or the executive branch.

The new decision—denying certiorari—means that fewer than four justices felt the legal challenges merited consideration by the high court. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a majority agrees with lower court rulings in the disputes, however.”

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/u-s-supreme-court-denies-medical-marijuana-workers-compensation-cases/

Dale Schafer Law News – 6/21/22

#cannabisindustry – “The analysis determined that “medical cannabis legalization has reduced auto insurance premiums by $1.5 billion in all states that have currently legalized, with the potential to reduce premiums by an additional $900 million if the remaining states were to legalize”—a combined total of $2.4 billion in potential payment reductions for drivers under nationwide medical cannabis access.

“Because auto insurance premiums are directly tied to property damage and health outcomes, we find evidence of a positive social impact of medical cannabis on auto safety,” the study said.”

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/medical-marijuana-legalization-linked-to-reduced-drunk-driving-and-safer-roads-study-on-auto-insurance-data-suggests/

Dale Schafer Law News – 6/14/22

#cannabispolitics – “In an email with the subject line “Employee Obligations Regarding a Drug-free Workplace” that was sent out on Thursday and obtained by Marijuana Moment, EPA’s acting assistant administrator in the Office of Mission Support said that the agency wanted to reiterate the federal cannabis ban in light of updated guidance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)…..

“Despite changes in state laws and social norms, the use of marijuana is illegal under Federal law, even when obtained through prescription or when used in a jurisdiction where such use is permitted,” it says.

EPA said that employees who use marijuana off-duty or on-duty marijuana could be subject to “disciplinary action, a negative suitability determination, and may be determined ineligible for access to classified information or to hold a sensitive position, as applicable.”

Additionally, the agency said that employees who work in “designated security positions” or who are “directly investing in stocks or business ventures pertaining to marijuana growers or retailers” could lose their ability to access sensitive materials or be rendered ineligible for such roles.”

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/epa-warns-workers-theyre-banned-from-using-marijuana-or-investing-in-the-industry-in-new-memo/

#californiacannabis – Sacramento – “Researchers assessed the impact of licensed cannabis businesses in the city of Sacramento.

Consistent with prior studies, investigators reported that homes in close proximity to marijuana outlets experienced a greater rise in value than did other residences in the city. Authors also rebuffed the allegation that marijuana retailers were associated with any elevated risk of criminal activity. Between 2018 and 2021, fewer than one percent of all robberies and burglaries reported to the Sacramento Police Department were associated with cannabis business, the report found.”

https://norml.org/blog/2022/06/13/analysis-cannabis-retailers-drive-economic-growth-are-not-magnets-for-crime/

Dale Schafer Law News – 6/14/22

#cannabispolitics – “In an email with the subject line “Employee Obligations Regarding a Drug-free Workplace” that was sent out on Thursday and obtained by Marijuana Moment, EPA’s acting assistant administrator in the Office of Mission Support said that the agency wanted to reiterate the federal cannabis ban in light of updated guidance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)…..

“Despite changes in state laws and social norms, the use of marijuana is illegal under Federal law, even when obtained through prescription or when used in a jurisdiction where such use is permitted,” it says.

EPA said that employees who use marijuana off-duty or on-duty marijuana could be subject to “disciplinary action, a negative suitability determination, and may be determined ineligible for access to classified information or to hold a sensitive position, as applicable.”

Additionally, the agency said that employees who work in “designated security positions” or who are “directly investing in stocks or business ventures pertaining to marijuana growers or retailers” could lose their ability to access sensitive materials or be rendered ineligible for such roles.”

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/epa-warns-workers-theyre-banned-from-using-marijuana-or-investing-in-the-industry-in-new-memo/

#californiacannabis – Sacramento – “Researchers assessed the impact of licensed cannabis businesses in the city of Sacramento.

Consistent with prior studies, investigators reported that homes in close proximity to marijuana outlets experienced a greater rise in value than did other residences in the city. Authors also rebuffed the allegation that marijuana retailers were associated with any elevated risk of criminal activity. Between 2018 and 2021, fewer than one percent of all robberies and burglaries reported to the Sacramento Police Department were associated with cannabis business, the report found.”

https://norml.org/blog/2022/06/13/analysis-cannabis-retailers-drive-economic-growth-are-not-magnets-for-crime/

Dale Schafer Law News – 6/11/22

#californiacannabis – “The county is sponsoring Assembly Bill 2728, introduced by Assemblymember Thurston Smith, and Senate Bill 1426, introduced by Senator Anna Caballero, to tackle these concerns.

AB-2728 would increase the fines for illegal cultivation to $1,000 for each day of violation, and $2,500 for each acre-foot of water diverted (and if that measurement isn’t specified, $500 per plant). These stipulations would only take place in a “critically dry year immediately preceded by two or more consecutive below normal, dry, or critical dry years” in the event that the California state governor has issued a state of emergency. “Our state is dealing with an unprecedented number of illegal cannabis grows, particularly in the rural desert communities that I represent in the legislature. Because of this, our laws need to require compliance and ensure that illegal activity is punished,” said Smith about the bill. Most recently, AB-2728 was referred to a committee on June 1.

SB-1426 would punish “unauthorized tapping into a water conveyance or storage infrastructure or digging or extracting groundwater from an unpermitted well.” “Illegal cannabis farming is killing wildlife and wreaking environmental damage across the state,” Caballero said in a San Bernardino press release in March. “This bill will help stop the pollution of our groundwater supply and the theft of water, which are all the more important during an ongoing multi-year drought.” Currently, as of May 19 the bill is “Held in committee and under submission” for the time being.”

https://hightimes.com/news/california-drought-prompts-legislation-to-increase-fines-for-water-pollution-for-illegal-grows/

#cannabispolitics – “Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Dave Joyce (R-OH) first publicly disclosed that there were discussions about crafting a bipartisan cannabis package at an International Cannabis Bar Association conference on Thursday, with Joyce revealing a recent meeting he had about the idea with Schumer.

Perlmutter, sponsor of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, said that his legislation to safeguard financial institutions that work with state-legal marijuana businesses would be part of the package under consideration, but he also said at the time that members are interested in including Joyce’s Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act to incentive state and local governments to expunge prior marijuana records, as well as proposals to provide veterans with access to medical cannabis and expand marijuana research.

But those four issues—banking, expungements, research and veterans—noted earlier by Law360, are only part of what’s on the table, sources who have been involved in the negotiations but requested anonymity, told Marijuana Moment on Friday. They stressed, however, that a deal has not yet been reached and talks are tentative at this point.”

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-details-on-congressional-marijuana-omnibus-bill-emerge-as-lawmakers-work-for-60-senate-votes/

#californiacannabis – “DCC says water-conscious growers and other cannabis licensees impacted by California’s ongoing drought emergency should seek disaster relief.

According to DCC, licensees can submit a Form DCC-8108 to disasterrelief@cannabis.ca.gov to request disaster relief and a temporary exemption from regulations.

DCC says eligible licensees may receive licensing if they cannot comply with California’s drought emergency.

To receive relief, DCC says licensees may need to follow specific guidelines.”

https://candidchronicle.com/dcc-urges-licensees-to-seek-disaster-relief-for-coming-drought/