Cannabis Law Perspectives

Legal insights into california's cannabis industry

Labor Peace Agreement Requirement for Cannabis Operations in California as required by AB 1291
Labor & Employment
Ken Stratton

Getting “Real” About Labor Peace Agreements: Assembly Bill No. 1291 And Its Implications

Earlier this month, Governor Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill No. 1291 (“A.B. 1291”), which amends Section 26051.5 of California’s Business & Professions Code to strengthen California’s pro-union requirements for cannabis companies. Specifically, the new law, which will go into effect on January 1, 2020, rewrites the express union organizing commitments cannabis companies must make as part of their state

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U.S. Supreme Court through its decision in Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela confirms that arbitration agreements should be taken seriously.
Disputes & Litigation
Ken Stratton

Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela Confirms (Yet Again) That Arbitration Agreements Should Be Taken Seriously

Recently the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision in Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela, 587 U.S. ____ (2019), reported at 2019 WL 1780275, a case with at least three striking lessons: Lesson #1 Because arbitration agreements are formed by contract through mutual consent, parties negotiating arbitration agreements should pay very careful attention to the specific words used in the contract.

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Section 26065 of MAUCRSA (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 26065), which provides simply that employees “engaged in the cultivation of cannabis under this division shall be subject to Wage Order No. 4-2001 of the Industrial Welfare Commission.
Labor & Employment
Ken Stratton

Cannabis Cultivator Beware: A Wage & Hour Trap for the Unwary

Sometimes California’s cannabis laws can be surprising, even to the experts. Our firm came across one example of this recently: Section 26065 of MAUCRSA (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 26065), which provides simply that employees “engaged in the cultivation of cannabis under this division shall be subject to Wage Order No. 4-2001 of the Industrial Welfare Commission.” A Brief

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Mediation and Other Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Cannabis Businesses
Disputes & Litigation
Ken Stratton

Mediation and Other Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Perspective for Cannabis Businesses

Recently I attended an informative program on mediation hosted by the San Francisco Bar Association (the “BASF”). In this blog, I share a handful of the panelists’ excellent observations and offer up a few thoughts of my own about the value of well-managed alternative dispute resolution, especially mediation, to cannabis operators. What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”)? As you probably

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This blog grapples with a common misunderstanding about hemp and hemp-derived CBD in the United States, specifically the belief that everyone is now freely permitted to cultivate and sell hemp and products containing hemp-derived CBD.
Regulatory Compliance
Ken Stratton

Hemp in the U.S. – Not Quite a Genie Unleashed

This blog grapples with a common misunderstanding about hemp and hemp-derived CBD in the United States, specifically the belief that everyone is now freely permitted to cultivate and sell hemp and products containing hemp-derived CBD. In truth, the hemp genie remains confined by some very significant regulations and restrictions, some of which we summarize below and some of which we

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“Gram Shop” Laws For Cannabis Businesses in California
Disputes & Litigation
Ken Stratton

“Gram Shop” Laws – What They Are and Why We Need Them in California

Consumer product companies typically reduce their product liability risk by focusing on product design, safety testing, and quality control. If a product is well made (for example, if it is not defective or adulterated), then its seller generally knows no one is likely going to sue for injury or harm arising out of the product’s use.   However, this is

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A Wage & Hour Primer for HR Managers of California Cannabis Businesses
Labor & Employment
Ken Stratton

A Wage & Hour Primer for HR Managers of Cannabis Businesses

We are offering the following observations so that HR managers in the cannabis field can better understand some of the rules that govern wage and hour requirements here in California. These rules are important because failure to follow them can expose employers (the operating cannabis companies) and sometimes their executives to significant civil fines and penalties and, in the case

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Will “Cannabis” Companies Slowly Become “Life Science” Companies?
Corporate & Transactional
Ken Stratton

Will Cannabis Companies Slowly Become Life Science Companies? : A Perspective from a “Life Science – Cannabis” Attorney

People from the cannabis field will often ask me how practicing “cannabis law” compares to my time spent practicing “FDA” (a/k/a life science) law at two publicly traded biotechs and a global medical device manufacturer. Given the many similarities between the two industries, cannabis and life science, but with one industry firmly established on the national scene and the other

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Disputes & Litigation
Ken Stratton

The Cannabis RICO Cases – Where Are They Now?

If you’ve been keeping up with cannabis litigation recently, you’ve probably noticed a growing number of cases brought against cannabis cultivators and dispensaries by angry neighbors alleging violations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the federal anti-racketeering laws. This blog provides an update on the current status of these “cannabis RICO” cases, along with a prediction for

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Phantom Stock For Cannabis Businesses
Corporate & Transactional
Ken Stratton

Phantom Stock – Why Private Cannabis Companies Should Take Note

Privately held cannabis companies might want to give serious consideration to awarding their employees “phantom stock” rather than equity options. Working so close to Silicon Valley and its “option holder” millionaires, can make it easy for California entrepreneurs to forget the many challenges private companies face when awarding equity options to employees. Obviously, private companies lack a public market for

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