As 2020 comes to a close, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (the “BCC” or the “Bureau”) has announced updates to the operation of the agency
Because Great Lawyers Should Do Good
Our team at Rogoway Law Group supplements our normal practice with a diverse and significant pro bono practice helping businesses and individuals on meaningful policy issues.
We are committed to serving the common good through working with trade associations and local governments to implement sensible cannabis policies, providing meaningful educational opportunities, improving flawed social equity programs, advocacy for drug policy reform, and ensuring safe access to medicine. These efforts go back to the firm’s founding and are integral to our fabric.
Developing Industry Associations and Improving Local Regulations
We are big proponents of business communities and industry associations that advocate for sensible reform in cannabis regulations. To this effect we provided pro bono legal assistance to help form the Cannabis Business Association of Sonoma County (CBASC) and the Cannabis Business Association of Mendocino County (CBAMC). As members and pro bono legal counsel for the Long Beach Collective Association (LBCA), we have been involved in various initiatives championed by them, including the successful push for Tax Modernization in Long Beach.
Our attorneys devote their time and expertise to these cannabis industry associations on a continuing basis.
Enhancing Vocational Training for the Cannabis Industry
A qualified and well-trained workforce is a prerequisite for a successful and thriving industry. Unfortunately, there were no dedicated vocational training programs for the cannabis industry in the United States.
Working with Long Beach City College and the Long Beach Collective Association (LBCA) we created a unique and first of a kind 8-week vocational training program focused solely on the cannabis industry. The course, taught by industry experts in collaboration with our managing attorney, gave students an insight into the full spectrum of career possibilities in the legal cannabis industry. Students in this pioneering course, many of whom are also qualified social equity applicants, learned about everything from manufacturing cannabis to California Cannabis Track-and-Trace (CCTT).
Most social equity programs do not currently engage in meaningful vocational training with social equity applicants. We look forward to helping more students gain their footing in the industry with future iterations of this course at LBCC.
Helping Social Equity Candidates Get A Fair Shot in A Flawed Equity Program
The war on drugs has been an abysmal failure which has disproportionately impacted communities of color. This disproportionate impact is realized through increased incidences of law enforcement contacts and higher rates of incarceration for black and brown communities. To rectify this decades of injustice, many cities across California have adopted social equity programs to ensure that the benefits realized through cannabis legalization reach disadvantaged individuals. Though well-intentioned, many social equity programs unknowingly set up applicants for failure or predation.
Working with the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Office of Cannabis, our team of attorneys provides pro bono legal assistance to equity candidates in the city, to rectify problems with non-equity business partners, and ensure that they aren’t taken advantage of in business relationships.
Designing Social Equity Programs That Actually Deliver
Municipal social equity programs generally focus on providing the benefits of the program to the individual applicants.
While ensuring benefits to the individual applicant is important, we believe that equity programs should focus on benefits delivered to disadvantaged communities, and directed towards addressing the root causes of poverty through education, nutrition, infrastructure, and wellness.
As members of the Long Beach Collective Association, we have worked with fellow members, and submitted a policy paper to the City of Long Beach as they work to build and implement a successful social equity program. You can review the policy paper submitted by the Long Beach Collective Association here.
Simplifying Industry Compliance
California’s legal cannabis industry is a quagmire of regulations and deadlines that can even encumber the most well-intentioned operators who want to maintain full compliance.
In our effort to aid cannabis businesses in maintaining compliance and avoiding enforcement actions, we have created compliance posters for each of the three primary state-wide cannabis regulatory bodies. These posters bear a full-list of compliance deadlines and triggers, and an be requested by anyone free of charge. We also have made available an indexed and easily navigable version of laws from all three primary regulatory agencies, also available without charge.
Fighting for safe and legal access to medicine
In a landmark ruling in 2018, we were able to help Brooke Adams–a kindergartner diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy–secure access to life-saving rescue medication while on school grounds. Alleging that a school nurse administering the medication to Brooke in the event of a seizure was a violation of both state and federal law, the School District had offered Brooke an individualized educational program that included only one hour of home-based schooling each day.
There are still many others like Brooke who are unable to access effective and affordable cannabis-based medicine because of federal laws and other outdated regulations. We continue taking similar pro bono matters so we can assist in the provision of justice to those who need it most.
SHARING THE VIBRANT HISTORY AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS WITH THE BROADER COMMUNITY
Born out of an urgent need to respond to the suffering caused by the AIDS epidemic, the modern movement for legalization of cannabis has its roots in Northern California. We think it is important to remember the tireless grassroots activism and advocacy that resulted in California legalizing medical marijuana in a groundbreaking first for the nation. Even this milestone was the culmination of decades of grassroots activism that began in the 1960s when cannabis first emerged as a defining element in the culture war.
To share the inspiring legacy of our industry with the broader community, we created an interactive timeline for the Museum of Sonoma County’s exhibit–Grass Roots: Cannabis from Prohibition to Prescription– dedicated to exploring the history of cannabis in Northern California. From the crucial contributions of figures like Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary, to the work of visionary organizations like Americans for Safe Access, visitors to the museum discovered the rich history of cannabis activism and advocacy in California. You can experience an archived version of this timeline here.
Recent Cannabis and hemp Law Perspectives
Fresno County Superior Court Judge Rules Against 25 Local Governments Seeking to Block Legal Cannabis Delivery
Note: This piece was first published in Americans For Safe Access‘ Newsletter, sent to subscribers in California on November 23, 2020. This week California patients received
Voters in Oregon approved Measure 109, an initiative to make psilocybin therapy legal and accessible across the state of Oregon, with a double-digit margin. A