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Civil Litigation

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As popular as cannabis has become as a recreational and medicinal agent, that popularity and the nascent nature of the cannabis industry have created a difficult scenario whereby manufacturers and sellers of these products are being sued with increasing frequency. Without a doubt, the legal and regulatory landscape for cannabis is complex. Several dozen states have legalized marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational purposes, but marijuana remains a Schedule I drug at the federal level. The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018…

Welcome to the Global Cannabis Compliance Podcast Series. Because we have received so many requests from readers for more information about the topics we have been covering, we have decided to start a podcast series featuring in-depth discussions with experts. Like the blog, the podcast series will cover all aspects of cannabis compliance including existing laws and proposed legislation in various countries and U.S. states, significant court cases and judicial decisions, enforcement trends, and best practices in compliance. If you…

The cannabis industry operates at a disadvantage vis a vis other industries because Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits business expense deductions for businesses that “traffic” in federally controlled substances, including cannabis. As a result, cannabis companies pay taxes on gross rather than net profits. In the latest defeat for cannabis companies in the Tax Court, Boulder Alternative Care, LLC (“Boulder”), a Colorado dispensary, lost its bid to obtain ordinary business expense deductions for its legal operations (Docket…

The Netherlands’ “coffee” shops are retail stores where the Dutch government tolerates cannabis sales for personal consumption. In our prior post, we explained the basic legal framework around cannabis in the Netherlands. Here, we will discuss how the country has implemented its coffee shop system. Through the Tolerance Policy we previously described, the government allows coffee shops to sell cannabis under strict conditions and will not prosecute them if those conditions are met. In order to open a coffee…

Beginning in 2020, Nevada and New York City will restrict an employer’s ability to screen job applicants for marijuana use. As marijuana legalization spreads across the country, other jurisdictions will likely follow suit. Employers, especially those that recruit in Nevada and NYC, should review their drug testing and hiring practices now to stay compliant. What it means for you Marijuana use by employees is for the first time protected in some jurisdictions, increasing the risk of discrimination claims by applicants…

Patents play an important role in American business by encouraging innovation and investment. The Cannabis industry, which has obtained thousands of patents, is no exception. At least one owner of Cannabis patents has filed a patent infringement action to enforce those patents against a competitor (United Cannabis Corp. v. Pure Hemp Collective, Inc., Case No. 18-cv-01922(WJM-NYW) D. Colo., filed July 30, 2018). Unfortunately, under a long line of authorities going back to The Highwayman’s Case in 1725, the illegality of…

Two recent rulings by the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico (“SCJN”) represent a significant milestone in legal cannabis consumption in Mexico. On October 31, 2018, the First Courtroom of the SCJN, under Minister Norma Lucía Piña Hernández, approved the Amparos en Revisión No. 547/2018 and 548/2018, which declared that the prohibition on recreational cannabis was unconstitutional. These two rulings are binding precedent, which all courts in Mexico must follow when ruling in similar cases. The rulings are ad personam,…

The legalization of medical marijuana in several jurisdictions throughout the US presents employers with the difficult task of reconciling their anti-drug policies with those state statutes authorizing marijuana use for medical purposes. Adding an additional layer of complexity to this already uncertain landscape, is the growing number of states that have also legalized marijuana for recreational use. As state marijuana laws continue to grow and develop, employers must stay attune to how they approach employees’ off-duty marijuana use for both…

By any measure, cannabis has become a major industry, and global financial markets anticipate big profits in the future. The first Canadian regulated, licensed, publicly traded cannabis producer went public on May 24, 2018, and, less than a year later, is already a USD $15 billion company. Another Canadian producer has tripled in market capitalization since its July 2018 IPO and is now valued at nearly USD $7 billion. Governments are also recognizing the potential to generate needed revenue from…