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Tracking Cannabis

Tracking Cannabis

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Will big beverage, Canadian legislation tilt U.S. closer to federal legalization?

Diane Romza-Kutz November 9, 2017

The collaboration between Constellation Brands and Canopy Growth is the first sign that the alcoholic beverage industry has publicly recognized the value that cannabis might bring to companies’ portfolios. READ MORE

Hazy outlook for legislation protecting medical cannabis

Michael Rosenblum Kristin Smith October 18, 2017
cannabis leaf drawn on chalkboard

The fate of crucial federal legislation protecting medical cannabis producers, retailers and consumers from prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice has recently become uncertain due to differences in House and Senate spending legislation. READ MORE

Webinar will examine opportunities and challenges of cannabis in California

Michael Rosenblum October 10, 2017

“The Pot Thickens: Building a Successful Cannabis Business in California” will cover latest industry trends and important considerations such as obtaining permits and licenses, navigating the regulations, and structuring companies to maximize value to investors. READ MORE

Protection against DoJ interference with state medical cannabis programs extended until Dec. 8

Michael Rosenblum Kristin Smith September 18, 2017

With the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment set to expire on Dec. 8, the future of its protections now hinges on the work of the House-Senate conference committee. READ MORE

Cannabis at work: An update for employers


Recent California legislation allows employers to enforce policies prohibiting cannabis use by employees – even if consumption occurs outside of work and does not impair performance. However, cannabis businesses must be careful when drafting such policies. READ MORE

Los Angeles releases proposed commercial cannabis regulations

Michael Rosenblum June 26, 2017

In one of the most significant milestones in the history of marijuana legislation, Los Angeles’ City Council recently released its proposed regulations governing commercial cannabis activity in the city. Simultaneously, the Department of City Planning released a draft ordinance proposing land use and sensitive use requirements for commercial cannabis activity in Los Angeles. READ MORE

Cannabis companies: Think twice about ‘Alternative Public Offerings’


While an Alternative Public Offering structure may offer some benefits to potential cannabis companies or their potential investors, the structures have reputational and other issues that need to be considered. READ MORE

AG Sessions seeks repeal of Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment


On June 12, 2017, a letter written by Attorney General Jeff Sessions was released detailing his opposition to the extension of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. What does this mean for the industry? READ MORE

Interpreting the renewed Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment: A loophole for enforcement?

Cannabis leaf with handcuffs and fingerprints

Congress provided a sense of protection from DOJ enforcement to the medical cannabis industry through an updated version of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. But the industry is still trying to interpret statements from the President and Attorney General that don’t provide any clearer picture about whether the federal government will leave the regulation of cannabis, at least medical cannabis, to the states. READ MORE

Arizona appellate court takes the high road and enforces a commercial lease to operate a medical marijuana dispensary

Jeff Brown May 10, 2017

In a case of first impression in Arizona, the Court of Appeals in Green Cross Medical, Inc. v. Gally (April 18, 2017) held that a lease to operate a medical marijuana dispensary was not void from its inception, either under Arizona law or the federal Controlled Substances Act. READ MORE

Calif. cities lift medical marijuana delivery ban: Is L.A. next?

Michael Rosenblum April 24, 2017

More and more cities in California are allowing the once-banned delivery of medical marijuana directly to consumers. Learn about the latest developments statewide, including in Los Angeles. READ MORE

DEA awards Schedule II classification to synthetic THC drug

cannabis perscription

The DEA has applied a stricter scheduling classification to a new cannabis-containing drug than a similar drug already on the market. What can be read into this decision and how will it affect the future development of cannabis pharmaceuticals? READ MORE

AG's latest remarks signal no outright campaign against cannabis yet


U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to tune his stance on legalized medical and recreational marijuana in public comments. His latest proclamation in mid-March gives hope to the industry on medical use while leaving recreational use susceptible to a crackdown. READ MORE

The end of legalized recreational cannabis under President Trump?

cannabis brownie

Early signs of the Trump administration's stance on legalized cannabis indicates that recreational cannabis might be in the crosshairs. Companies engaged in both medical and recreational cannabis need to move swiftly to insulate medical cannabis business assets from their recreational businesses. READ MORE

Cannabis industry taps REITs to draw financing

cannabis banks

Facing many hurdles to financing because of current federal law, cannabis businesses have turned to REITs to provide an influx of capital through sale leaseback transactions. READ MORE

Cannabis in animal supplements: A hazy proposition

cannabis dog

Until further guidance comes from the FDA, the cannabis industry should tread carefully in the production and marketing of cannabis-containing animal supplements. Supplement makers should take care to avoid drug-like claims for their products and adhere to strict food safety regulations in the manufacturing process. READ MORE

Election results widen gulf between federal v. state regulation of cannabis

cannabis ballot

On Nov. 8, 2016, voters in eight more states approved legal marijuana use for either medicinal or recreational purposes. As legal cannabis becomes more readily available to Americans, it highlights an increasingly strained divide between state and federal regulation. READ MORE

The silver lining in the DEA’s refusal to reclassify cannabis


Although the DEA announced last week that it would not reschedule cannabis, the decision did come with promising news of enhanced research opportunities that could bolster the cannabis industry's long-term growth. READ MORE

Thompson Coburn takes stage at Cannabis Business Summit

Tracking Cannabis_default blog

Diane Romza-Kutz, Carl Rowley, and Susan Werstak of Thompson Coburn’s cannabis practice attended the 2016 Cannabis Business Summit hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Association in Oakland, Calif., in late June. READ MORE

Thompson Coburn real estate team to speak at Chicago cannabis seminar

Tracking Cannabis_default blog

Session topics will address the current medical cannabis program in Illinois and provide updates on national and local industry developments. READ MORE

UPDATE: Cannabis, pain reduction, and opioid abstinence

Sue Werstak Carl Rowley March 24, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published a new guideline for prescribing opioid pain medication by primary care clinicians for chronic pain in outpatient settings for other than active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care. READ MORE

Weighing risks and benefits: Cannabis use and metabolic syndrome risk

Carl Rowley Sue Werstak March 21, 2016

A new study by Australian researchers published in the journal Psychological Medicine examined the narrower issue of whether frequency of cannabis use was associated with rates of metabolic syndrome among study participants, all of whom had been diagnosed with psychotic illness. READ MORE

Path to recreational cannabis narrowing in California

March 16, 2016

Since California’s failure to legalize the recreational use of cannabis under Proposition 19 in 2010, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have passed laws legalizing the recreational use of the drug and an additional nine states have legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes. READ MORE

Weighing risks and benefits: Cannabis, pain reduction, and opioid abstinence


In a recent study that has been accepted for publication in The Clinical Journal of Pain, researchers assessed the long-term effect of medical cannabis treatment on pain and other outcomes (including sleep problems) in people suffering from chronic pain that was resistant to other treatments (including opioid consumption). READ MORE

Waiting to Exhale: Cannabis industry breathes sigh of relief over extension of Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment

Jeff Brown January 11, 2016

With the extension of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, the right of the states to determine their own laws for medical marijuana use enjoys a shield from federal intervention… at least through Sept. 30, 2016. READ MORE

California marijuana dispensary scores victory against DOJ … but how long will it last?

Jeff Brown November 30, 2015

The Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM), one of California’s oldest lawful marijuana dispensaries, won a major victory against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in October. READ MORE

Top takeaways from the 2015 Las Vegas Marijuana Business Convention

Fredric Roth V November 20, 2015

One overarching concern among all participants at the Conference was that of legal compliance. Every business at the convention has to worry about IRS concerns related to claiming business expenses, the paucity of banks willing to deal with the cannabis industry and accept cannabis-related funds, and the inability to work with credit cards. READ MORE

California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act: What you need to know

November 10, 2015

As the various state agencies look to draft rules and the timeline for implementation, we review the highlights of the new laws. READ MORE

Investing in cannabis? Industry presents unique considerations

Barry Fischer November 9, 2015

In the words of Niels Bohr, “prediction is very difficult, especially about the future,” and prediction in the cannabis industry is made especially difficult due to certain unique issues facing cannabis businesses. READ MORE

Employers and medical marijuana: Are California's anti-drug policies up in smoke?

John Viola November 2, 2015

What’s an employer to do when faced with employees using marijuana in or out of the workplace? How should employers respond to employees who use or possess marijuana legally under California law? How does such use or possession affect termination, disability and drug testing issues? READ MORE

Limiting Tort Liability for Cannabis: Failure to Warn Part I – the LivWell Lawsuit

Carl Rowley Sue Werstak October 14, 2015

As the legal cannabis market grows, so will the number of product liability lawsuits against the industry, including cases based upon a failure to warn of real or imagined risks, such as those alleged in the LivWell complaint. Later installments in this series will address the potential scope and bases of cannabis industry liability under failure to warn theories. READ MORE

California Governor sets robust regulatory scheme for medical marijuana in motion with signing of legislation

October 12, 2015

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a group of medical marijuana laws on Oct. 9 that will have a widespread effect on how the entire industry is regulated in the state. The governor approved AB266, along with AB243 and SB643. READ MORE

Limiting tort liability for cannabis: Dram shop-type laws

Carl Rowley September 21, 2015

As more states enact laws legalizing the sale of medical and recreational marijuana, cannabis businesses may start to question whether they could be held liable if customers cause injury or harm to others while using their products. A good reference for the cannabis industry is the dram shop laws that affect purveyors of alcohol. READ MORE

Branding your bud: Why trademarks are tricky for marijuana businesses

Jennifer Visintine August 27, 2015

Brand loyalty builds businesses. That’s why most businesses need successful brands, and, ideally, brands backed by a federal trademark registration. But because of the federal laws affecting marijuana and related products, marijuana growers and distributers don’t have access to the same avenues of brand protection. READ MORE

Despite federal guidance, financial institutions hesitant to bank on cannabis businesses

August 11, 2015

In every state where it is legal, the marijuana industry remains almost entirely a cash business. Consequently, legitimate marijuana businesses are left without the financial resources and protection that banks provide. READ MORE

Assembly Bill 266 provides long-awaited medical marijuana regulatory framework in California

July 9, 2015

California lawmakers and law enforcement groups are eager to compromise over issues that have prevented comprehensive statewide regulation of the industry for the last two decades. READ MORE

Cannabis Conflicts Part II: The problem with state and federal food labeling requirements


Illinois’ “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act” (the “CUMCPPA”) creates an entire regime of laws, regulations and procedures by which individuals and companies are building medical cannabis growing facilities and dispensaries. READ MORE

Cannabis Conflicts Part I: Is it a food, drug or dietary supplement?

Tracking Cannabis_default blog

Some state legislation allows for cannabis-based “edible” products such as cannabis-containing cookies or brownies. Many of these new state laws actually refer to these edible products as food, including Illinois. READ MORE

Welcome to Tracking Cannabis, a legal blog by Thompson Coburn

May 18, 2015
Tracking Cannabis_default blog

Welcome to Tracking Cannabis, Thompson Coburn’s newly launched cannabis blog. Our interdisciplinary cannabis practice group will use this blog to provide updates and insights on the latest developments in the cannabis industry. READ MORE

The cannabis industry: how big will it get?

November 20, 2014

Overall, industry experts are predicting that the size of the national market for legalized cannabis will exceed the November 2010 predictions of Harvard economist (and Cato Institute affiliate) Jeffrey Miron, who previously put the size of the marijuana market at $14 billion. READ MORE

Illinois defines metrics for medical cannabis applicants

August 11, 2014
medical marijuana in a greenhouse

Cannabis industry hopefuls in Illinois are poised to begin the application process after the three state agencies administering Illinois’ medical marijuana law released long-awaited metrics on Aug. 8. READ MORE

Thompson Coburn advises clients on state laws governing the business of cannabis to facilitate compliance with those state laws. Federal laws concerning cannabis currently conflict with state laws in states that have legalized cannabis or possession of cannabis. Although federal enforcement policy may at times defer to these states’ laws and not enforce conflicting federal laws, interested businesses and individuals should be aware that compliance with state law in no way assures compliance with federal law, and there is a risk that conflicting federal laws may be enforced in the future. In addition to this Cannabis-specific note, readers should review Thompson Coburn’s Conditions of Use / Disclaimers page containing other important information.