Serving Cannabis Businesses and Cannabis Entrepreneurs Nationwide
Cannabis Enforcement Actions Attorneys
The opportunities for cannabis business owners in the multi-billion-dollar cannabis industry in the U.S. are significant—but so are the risks.
Business owners who already hold a cannabis occupational license and entrepreneurs looking to enter the industry must be mindful of the tight regulations and the severe penalties that apply for noncompliance.
As the number of businesses around the country increases, so does the number of enforcement actions. Federal and state agencies frequently conduct investigations and take action against business owners who do not observe the rules.
If you find yourself in this difficult position, do not be tempted to make the situation worse. Take legal advice from experienced cannabis business attorneys who understand the enforcement process and can mitigate the consequences for your business.
At Cannabis Law Solutions, our cannabis business attorneys will help you protect your business from legal and disciplinary action taken by state licensing authorities and other state enforcement agencies.
State and federal enforcement
Rapid market expansion in the cannabis industry coupled with still-developing policies at the state and federal level and unparalleled consumer demand all add up to considerable challenges and opportunities for business owners in the sector.
The authorities are keen to keep a tight handle on the cannabis industry and have introduced stringent measures to enforce the regulations in most states where cannabis has been legalized.
Our cannabis business attorneys help protect your business from the harsh consequences of state and federal enforcement. Experienced regulatory and business attorneys can advise investors, owners and operators on how to tackle investigations and complaints made against the business.
The government can call upon a large team of enforcement and regulatory attorneys. It is only right that if you are accused of violating regulations that you are given a fair chance to respond.
Whether you face a licensing violation or something more serious, our experienced team can provide legal guidance to prevent the most serious consequences for you and your business.
Action against unlicensed cannabis industry operators
With the industry so heavily regulated, most state agencies are quick to take action against any unlicensed operators attempting to reap profits from the cannabis industry.
Black and “gray” cannabis operators still exist in most states. In fact, some estimates say that for every licensed business there is an unlicensed one.
Most of the relevant state and local agencies are endeavoring to ensure that fully authorized and licensed operators are not working at a disadvantage because of unlicensed operators.
Typical enforcement actions against illegal cannabis enterprises include filing criminal misdemeanor charges against any operators and shutting down all illegal businesses from growers to extraction labs and delivery companies.
Some unlicensed operators have been subject to considerable fines and jail time and we should expect this trend to continue as more crackdowns against illegal operators are conducted across the U.S.
Action against licensed cannabis industry operators
Potential enforcement actions against licensed cannabis industry operators are many and varied. They could include any of the following:
Failure to comply with any rule or regulation under state law
Conduct constituting grounds for denial of a license
Intentional violations of worker protection laws
Failure to comply with local ordinance regulating commercial cannabis
Sales to underage people
Intentional sales of medical cannabis to people without the necessary doctor’s recommendation
Failure to maintain safe conditions for inspection by the licensing authority
Failure to comply with any operating procedure submitted to licensing authority
Failure to comply with license conditions
Regulatory compliance and enforcement services
Prevention is better than a cure for cannabis industry businesses.
If you can develop an effective compliance program, you will minimize the risk of potentially harmful federal and state enforcement actions that impact your business.
We provide consultation and advice in the following areas to help you protect your cannabis-related business from the day that you commence operations:
Developing and implementing an effective compliance program
Handling day-to-day compliance issues
Implementing transaction structures in compliance with applicable state and local regulations
Analyzing current or proposed business relationships for compliance
Addressing self-identified compliance violations
Additionally, we can represent you in regulatory enforcement actions that go to hearings. We will provide advice if you need to complete surveys, undergo inspections or face penalties.
Get help with defending against cannabis enforcement actions
Whether you are growing, manufacturing, retailing, or otherwise part of the burgeoning cannabis industry, enforcement actions against your business can be costly.
Our cannabis business attorneys can help you tackle the process and defend your business from potentially harsh penalties.
For informed legal advice, call 866-329-0729 for a consultation with a knowledgeable cannabis attorney at Cannabis Law Solutions.
How will our cannabis and psychedelic business services help you
Cannabis & psychedelics business entity formation
Whether you are looking to form a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, our experienced business lawyers can discuss the pros and cons of both and help you incorporate your business with the optimal structure to achieve your goals.
Cannabis & psychedelics business licenses
If you want to run a cannabis or psychedelics business, you will need a valid business license issued by your state authority as well as local permits. Eligibility criteria are likely to be stringent and we can help you navigate the often-complex license application process.
Cannabis & psychedelics corporate documentation
Whether you need to prepare for a license application, transfer of business ownership, change of corporate structure, transfer business location or another business process, we can help you identify and draft the documentation you need to operate legally in your state.
Cannabis & psychedelics administrative law
State authorities watch licensed and unlicensed cannabis and psychedelics businesses closely. If you violate regulations, you could face an administrative penalty. Our attorneys can provide representation or help you prepare for an administrative hearing, settlement conference or appeal.
Cannabis & psychedelics disputes and litigation
Whether you have a dispute with another business, a legal issue with one of your partners or a licensing or administrative issue, you may need legal assistance to help resolve it. We are adept at alternative dispute resolution methods as well as civil litigation.
Cannabis & psychedelics regulatory compliance
As the cannabis and psychedelics industries emerge in states around the U.S., they are more heavily regulated than most other industries. We can help your business navigate the red tape and plan to stay on the right side of the regulatory authorities in whichever state you are based.
McKenzie and her firm were definitely awesome. She was conscientious of my money, and made efforts to let me help to decrease the expense of my case. I was not confident about my chances of success before hiring her, but once I did, I slept so much better. Definitely the best choice (and I met with a few!)
These guys rock!!! Met with McKenzie about an issue I needed some help on. She was honest, professional and gave great direction that was easy to follow and solved the problem! Legal Solutions of New Mexico conduct themselves unlike any other lawyers I’ve ever seen – starting with their website, all the way through to the personal attention they provide! They are direct and get the job done while keeping their clients interests at heart. 10/10 would recommend to anyone needing legal help.
“One of the best for sure”
McKenzie St.Denis is THE best! She’s very thorough and listens to you. She gives the best recommendation based on YOUR needs and wants. She genuinely has the clients best interest at heart—no doubt. I definitely recommend her as she has integrity—super sharp! One of the best for sure. Thank you so much, McKenzie!!!
Opening a successful and legal marijuana dispensary begins with hiring a knowledgeable cannabis attorney and learning all that you can about this industry and the applicable laws. The next step is to set up a corporate business structure and create a retail business plan, which an attorney can also help you with. You will also need to research potential locations for your business to find out where licensing is legal.
Next, obtain the necessary licensing to operate your cannabis business and ensure that your operational infrastructure follows all laws and regulations. If you are not growing or producing your products yourself, you will need to contract with cultivators and product manufacturers to supply your business.
Before you begin the process of applying for a cannabis license, you need to establish a business from which to apply. The state will not consider an application from an individual; instead, the applicant must be a business entity in good standing with the state.
Your business will begin when you choose a legal entity and file the appropriate paperwork with the Secretary of State. After that, you will file with the IRS and obtain a taxpayer identification number.
You would start with articles of incorporation and include other key corporate provisions in the bylaws that state how your company will be governed. If your business is a partnership or limited liability company, you will need an operating agreement. Depending on your line of business, you may also need other licenses to operate.
In addition, you will also need other corporate documents that the Department of Health will want to see when they are considering your cannabis application. Of importance here, your application would ask you to provide:
Your articles of incorporation
Certificate of good standing
An attorney can help you both choose the appropriate business entity and draft and file any necessary documentation. When you are seeking to enter the cannabis field, it is important to get your business formation process right to make the best possible impression on the Department of Health. Doing so will allow you to devote as much time as possible to your cannabis-related business arrangements.
As a precursor to even being able to apply for state approval of your cannabis business, you must have a properly formed business entity. As a result, the first documentation you must file is the documentation establishing your business.
Next, you will need to obtain a tax identification number by registering with the IRS. In addition, the licensing application also asks you to provide your current state business license registration.
Beyond your general business licenses, you would also need specific permission to operate a cannabis business. This involves a very strict registration process where the state will closely scrutinize your application. You can expect the state to review each of the licenses that they request since it wants to be sure that your business complies with laws before they are granted the right to operate in the cannabis industry.
Compliance means making sure that you follow the myriad of laws that apply to your state’s cannabis businesses. Further, the regulatory landscape is fast-changing as the state gains more experience overseeing the businesses.
What this means for you is that knowledge is one of the most important things that you can have. Not only do you need an expert in the current laws, but you also need to be able to anticipate future changes in the law. This means that each business needs an expert who understands the laws and can advise them as to the best means of following them.
Also, compliance also means that you have sound policies and procedures in place that govern your business. The Department of Health is already looking at your policies when they evaluate your initial application. However, they reserve the right to audit and inspect your business to verify that you are complying with the law. You should always be ready for an inspection by documenting how you are following the regulations.
The best way to show compliance is by keeping your paperwork organized and conducting your own internal audits. The Department is interested primarily in your safety procedures, so you should be ready to show how you are following your own procedures. Further, you should always reevaluate your own policies to see if there are any weaknesses or changes that can be made to strengthen them.
The major thing that the Department of Health is interested in is the safety of both the product and the operation. As a baseline, the state wants to know who all of the owners are and the people who will be working in the operation.
While there are common documents among all the application classes that the Department is seeking, there are also special requirements for each of the categories.
For example, when the Department is evaluating a manufacturing application, it will pay close attention to measures that your business takes to ensure proper hygiene and testing methods. The Department also will pay attention to the manufacturer’s procurement practice and the security of its inventory.
With regard to laboratory submissions, the focus is partially on the testing processes and equipment that the business will use. The Department wants technical, scientific details of the exact tests and the quality control that the laboratory will use for testing. The emphasis is on ensuring product safety.
For courier businesses, the Department will scrutinize the safety and security of the delivery process, including the vehicles and the delivery routes that are used. The emphasis is on the safety of qualified patients, primary caregivers, and courier staff in light of the product being delivered. In addition, since there is interaction with patients, the Department wants to see how the applicant plans on protecting patient privacy.
Cannabis legalization often works in a series of steps. Broadly speaking, cannabis policy reform occurs in the following stages:
Prohibition: Criminal penalties apply for the possession or use of cannabis.
Decriminalization: Low-level criminal penalties are removed for cannabis usage (e.g., personal possession) and criminal penalties may be replaced with civil fines.
Medical legalization: Full medical legalization with commercial licensing and testing may come straight away or in a series of stages.
Legalization: State laws are changed to make any cannabis activity a crime no longer. Cannabis must be removed from the Controlled Substances Act and new rules added for the legal commercial cultivation, distribution, testing, and sales of cannabis.
Oregon and Colorado states have decriminalized the use, sale, and possession of psilocybin, which is the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” and has been shown to have great value in treating certain medical conditions, like depression, anxiety and life-threatening cancers.
Besides these states, the cities of Oakland and Santa Cruz in California as well as Washington, D.C., Somerville, Cambridge and Northampton (Massachusetts) have all decriminalized psilocybin.
It should be noted that all psychedelics are illegal in the United States under federal law and drugs like MDMA, DMT, ketamine, LSD and psilocybin are Schedule 1 controlled substances. This means they are viewed as having no medical purpose and no legitimate commercial application