Navigating the Regulatory Process

California Legalization 2018: Navigating the Regulatory Process

With the kick off of California’s first legal adult use cannabis sales on Jan. 1, comes a lot of confusion. While the state just issued emergency draft regulations on Nov. 16, Los Angeles and San Francisco are among the many cities still struggling to adopt local rules for cannabis shops and growers. Without local regulations, there could be limited options in places for consumers eager to ring in 2018 with a legal marijuana purchase.

California is currently in the midst of a grand legal transition that is normalizing all forms of cannabis for industrial, medicinal, and recreational uses. Essentially, this means that numerous challenges exist for cannabis industry stakeholders and regulators alike. For medicinal cannabis cultivators that have supplied California dispensaries, the task is daunting. As the laws have undergone numerous changes since 2015, even lawyers are struggling to keep pace with the constantly shifting landscape. From entity formation to paying sales tax and finding a bank to track and trace systems, it can unfortunately make returning to the black market seem that much more desirable - despite the consequences.

Before a cultivator considers scuttling the regulatory process for a return to the black market, however, consider a likely potential outcome: federal prison. Those who are not up for stomaching the regulatory process would be better off contemplating a different line of work.

For those who are ready to roll up their sleeves and work within the evolving legal system, Hoban Law Group - a full-service firm, is here to help! We are able to assist clients in the cannabis industry to structure enterprises both legally and strategically for compliance and economic sustainability purposes. This process will not be easy and sacrifices will need to be made, but for every sacrifice there will be an opportunity in the burgeoning California cannabis economy.

Patrick Goggin is a Senior Attorney at Hoban Law Group. Mr. Goggin began working on medical cannabis regulation in San Francisco in 2005 when the City commenced its regulation of dispensaries. Since then, he has represented clients throughout Northern California on compliance issues and permitting of all facets of medical cannabis activity. He served on San Francisco’s Medical Cannabis Task Force from 2010-11. Patrick can be reached at 650-238-9119.