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Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Lawyer

California was one of the first states in the country to legalize medicinal marijuana and one of the first to fully legalize recreational use decades later.  Medicinal use of marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, although the shape and form of marijuana regulations have evolved significantly in the years since.  Marijuana has been shown to alleviate a variety of medical symptoms, including pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, as well as treat some chronic illnesses and conditions such as glaucoma.

If you are interested in setting up a medical marijuana dispensary in Southern California, or if you already have a dispensary and are facing any cannabis or business law issues, the medical marijuana business attorneys at McReynolds Vardanyan, LLP are here to help.  Our medical cannabis legal team is at the cutting-edge of this rapidly-changing industry, keeping on top of all new developments as the laws in California and around the country evolve.  We are uniquely suited to help you get your medicinal marijuana dispensary up and running and to resolve any regulatory, business law, litigation, or cannabis law-related issues that may arise.

Medical Marijuana Licensing

In California, medical marijuana businesses must obtain the proper license in accordance with the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).  There are a variety of different licenses available, depending on the nature of the business and the type of commercial activity the business plans to perform.  There are different licenses for cultivating, manufacturing, testing, selling, distributing, event organizing, and for specialized businesses such as microdistributors.  Each type of business has subcategories requiring a specific license.

Marijuana businesses must obtain a license from the appropriate regulatory authority, which may include one or more of the following:

  • CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing is a division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). CDFA is responsible for licensing cultivators of medicinal and recreational cannabis, as well as tracking distribution chains.
  • The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) is the lead agency regulating commercial cannabis licenses for medical and adult-use cannabis in California. The BCC manages the licensing for retailers, distributors, testing labs, microbusinesses, and temporary cannabis events.
  • The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB), part of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), is involved with licensing and regulating cannabis edible manufacturers for both medical and recreational use.

The medical marijuana lawyers at McReynolds Vardanyan will help you obtain the appropriate licenses, interface with the proper regulatory authorities, and jump through all of the legal hoops necessary to operate your medical marijuana business legally and profitably.

Federal Law and Medical Marijuana

Even though medicinal marijuana is legal in 46 states and that recreational marijuana has been legalized in a dozen states and decriminalized in many others, federal law still outright criminalizes marijuana in all forms and for all purposes (to the extent federal law can apply).  Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under federal law, and distribution technically carries the potential for harsh penalties.

That being said, federal prosecutors very rarely target marijuana distributors operating legally under state law, especially for the distribution of medical marijuana.  Even after the Trump Administration reversed an Obama-era directive ordering the DOJ not to prosecute marijuana operations operating in accordance with state law, federal prosecutors still decline to bring charges against marijuana distributors who follow state law.  Danger from federal prosecution is only likely to arise when a distributor piques the particular interests of federal law enforcement by, for example, distributing across state lines, distributing to minors, using violence or firearms in connection with distribution, or laundering money through marijuana enterprises.

Medical marijuana, banking, and taxes

Although federal prosecutors rarely decide to target marijuana dispensaries, the illegality of cannabis under federal law has other consequences.  Federally-insured banks, which represent the majority of lenders across the country, are technically not permitted to help businesses or individuals commit “crimes.”  As a result, banks are often unwilling to offer services to marijuana distributors, leaving medical and recreational marijuana distributors to hold their proceeds in cash, and creating a variety of accounting headaches.  Additionally, that means that marijuana distributors are likely to pay their taxes in cash to both the state and federal governments.  The IRS charges exorbitant fees to organizations that pay taxes in cash.

A savvy medical marijuana attorney at McReynolds Vardanyan can help you explore your options for banking, accounting, and paying your taxes to keep your business as efficient and cost-effective as possible.  We will work with you to set up systems that work for you rather than against your income and your best interests and that adhere to marijuana, tax, and business laws and regulations.

Get Help From Our Medical Marijuana Business Lawyers

If you are interested in setting up a medical marijuana business in Los Angeles or Southern California, or if you have questions regarding your medical marijuana distribution center or dispensary, call McReynolds Vardanyan, LLP in Glendale at 818-855-2115. Our California medical marijuana lawyers are available 24/7 and are ready to help you step through the legal hoops necessary to get your budding business off the ground effectively, efficiently, and legally.

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