Are California Cities Intentionally Misinterpreting Landmark Cannabis Legislation and More

In the days of the Armada, a fleet of warships, the scuttlebutt was the rumor or gossip that would spread throughout the ship. Today, Armada Law Corp presents The Scuttlebutt, a daily summery of news articles that people within the cannabis, hemp and plant medicine industries are chatting about along with links to the full articles.

In today’s news:

Are California Cities Intentionally Misinterpreting Landmark Cannabis Legislation?

Local jurisdictions must have ordinances by 2024 allowing medical cannabis delivery, but some bureaucracies are sticking to “outside-in” models.

#californiacannabis – “Under current law governing the state’s adult-use and medical cannabis markets, cities and counties can prohibit cannabis businesses, like retail, from operating within their jurisdictions, and most of them do. As of February 2023, there were 302 cities and counties in California (or 56% of local jurisdictions) that banned all cannabis business types, according to the state’s Department of Cannabis Control.

And while state law allows cannabis delivery operators to deliver to any jurisdiction within California, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Rosemary McGuire ruled in late 2020 that state law does not preempt local ordinances restricting or prohibiting such deliveries, “whether the ordinance bans all commercial deliveries, bans cannabis deliveries by non-local businesses, requires local licenses for delivery, or regulates local delivery in some other way.”

McGuire’s order calling into question the state’s “outside-in” rule has been enough for many cities to keep cannabis delivery bans codified ever since.

However, jurisdictions that have incorporated this type of prohibition will soon have to change their ways to allow medical cannabis delivery under the Medicinal Cannabis Patients’ Right of Access Act (Senate Bill 1186) that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed last year. The act requires localities that currently ban such access to adopt new zoning regulations by Jan. 1, 2024.

In other words, all California cities and counties must allow medical non-storefront cannabis retail businesses (delivery) by this date or face potential lawsuits, according to Lauren Mendelsohn, a senior associate attorney at the Sonoma County, Calif.-based Law Offices of Omar Figueroa. Her law firm helps write local ordinances and advises local leaders on creating regulations that are compliant with state law.”

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Connecticut collected $3.5 million in excise tax revenue from cannabis in second quarter of 2023

#cannabisinduatry – “The U.S. Census Bureau has released a state by state breakdown of excise taxes collected from the sale of cannabis. According to that data, Connecticut netted about $3.5 million in cannabis taxes during the second quarter of 2023.

That puts Connecticut fifth from the bottom of all states and territories with legal cannabis sales, ahead of Mississippi, Washington D.C., Rhode Island and Vermont. The tally includes only revenue from excise taxes, not sales tax.

At the top of the Census Bureau’s list for cannabis excise tax collections were states with much larger populations, including California, which made $152.2 million during the second quarter of 2023, followed by Illinois, Colorado, and Michigan.”

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Harvard launches new Study of Psychedelics in Society and Culture

#psychedelics – ““We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring students, faculty, and researchers together around the important issue of how psychedelics impact our society,” said Robin Kelsey, Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography and dean of arts and humanities. “Harvard is uniquely poised to become the most exciting place to debate, discuss, and innovate in this area.”

The $16 million gift will include an endowed professorship with a broad focus on human health and flourishing, as well as research support across the University. It comes at a time when interest in psychedelics has risen in recent years among the scientific and academic communities, driven by findings that they may help treat disorders such as PTSD, depression, and addiction when used in conjunction with therapy. In 2021, the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at HLS established its Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR) to examine the ethical, legal, and social implications of psychedelics in research, commerce, and therapeutics. In addition, the Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR) at HDS examines psychedelics as they relate to altered states of consciousness, the relationship of mind and matter, and the global history of spirituality and religion.”

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California Governor Approves 3 New Cannabis Bills

#californiacannabis – “Newsom announced on Friday that he had signed into law the Democrat-backed bills A.B. 993 and S.B. 833, as well as A.B. 1448, which was sponsored by a Republican lawmaker. The Democratic governor did not issue a signing message upon approving the legislation.

Asseembly Bill 993, which passed both chambers of the California Legislature unanimously, expands a preexisting task force meant to improve state and local entities’ communication and cooperation when it comes to enforcing cannabis policy.

The bill, authored by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, will add two representatives to the task force, one from the state’s Civil Rights Department and one from the state’s Department of Industrial Relations.

Senate Bill 833, sponsored by Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, would make it easier for regulators with the state Department of Cannabis Control to let cultivators change their license type, allowing growers the flexibility to adjust their production capacity as needed. The bill unanimously passed both legislative chambers.

The last bill approved by the governor on Friday was A.B. 1448, sponsored by Assemblyman Greg Wallis, R-Palm Springs; it clarifies that local prosecutors who bring civil actions against unlicensed cannabis operators will get the first taste of any penalties disbursed.

Specifically, the bill, which also received unanimous approval from both chambers, requires that any civil penalties awarded will first be used to reimburse the local office that brought the action for its costs. Fifty percent of the remainder will go to the local county or municipality, with the remaining 50% directed to the state’s general fund, according to the bill.”

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Tentative Deal In Pot Biz Battle Not Enforceable, Judge Says

#cannabislawsuit – “A tentative agreement reached in a battle in Missouri federal court between two directors of a cannabis venture is not enforceable because formal settlement documents were never drafted, a magistrate judge has ruled.

In an order Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia L. Cohen denied Daniel Altmann and Botannis Labs Mo. Corp. Inc.’s motion to enforce a settlement with Matthew D. Wolf in connection with a suit Wolf filed last year, saying a term sheet prepared by a mediator “was not intended to be a final agreement.””

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What the end of 280E might mean for cannabis business taxes

#cannabistaxes – “The law firm is advising the cannabis industry of several key tax implications of rescheduling:

  • Past taxes paid under 280E are unlikely to be refunded.
  • Unpaid past taxes due under 280E would probably still be owed.
  • If rescheduling is completed sometime in 2024, it’s possible that 280E taxation on the marijuana industry could end retroactive to Jan. 1, 2024.

However, as the marijuana industry knows all too well, the exact timing of government policy reform such as rescheduling can be unpredictable.

“It’s hard to say when this is going to happen,” Ostrander cautioned.

“Don’t assume that this is going to happen next year.””

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