The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission announced yesterday that it will hire a diversity consultant to examine what steps it could take to improve racial diversity in the state’s medical marijuana industry.  The announcement comes after a losing applicant for a medical marijuana license filed a lawsuit against the Commission alleging that its selection process for coveted marijuana growing licenses ignored a statutory mandate to consider the racial diversity of the applicants. The complaint alleges that the Commission was “derelict in its legislatively mandated duty to ‘actively seek to achieve racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity when licensing medical cannabis growers.’”

Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus has also criticized the lack of racial diversity in the Commission’s licensing process.  Of the 30 business that were cleared for growing and process licenses in 2016, minorities held leadership positions in only two.
Continue Reading Racial Diversity in the Spotlight for Cannabis Industry

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

But the margins — in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada — are so small that the races are still
Continue Reading The Week in Weed: October 7, 2016

As state laws regarding medical and recreational marijuana evolve, lawyers face a variety of ethical issues relating both to counseling clients in marijuana related businesses (MRBs)and to financing or participating in MRBs.

The ethical dilemma stems from the fact that while state laws continue to expand the legality of marijuana, its use and possession in any form is still against federal law.  Most state ethical rules contain a rule similar to Rule 1.2(d) of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Model Rules) which states:

A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client in, conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of a proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, meaning, or application of the law.

The dilemma created by Rule 1.2(d) is that it does not make a distinction between state and federal law.
Continue Reading Lawyers Beware: Navigating the Legal Ethics of Counseling or Participating in the Marijuana Industry

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Some more good news for cannabis entrepreneurs in Maine and Nevada: The latest polls in both states show a majority of voters support adult-use legalization
Continue Reading The Week in Weed: September 30, 2016

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Ohio’s Supreme Court affirmed that lawyers in the state will be allowed to serve medical cannabis business clients, much to the relief
Continue Reading The Week in Weed: September 23, 2016

Earlier this month a major US bank told the Alaska Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office that it can no longer accept credit card payments for licensing fees.  This followed on the heels of the closing of several business accounts of marijuana related businesses (MRBs) by Alaska banks and the closing of personal accounts maintained by people with ties to marijuana
Continue Reading Banking MRBs–Cash Is Still King….Mostly

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Ohio’s Supreme Court Wednesday proposed rewriting its ethics rules to allow lawyers to help medical marijuana companies, a change that would be welcomed
Continue Reading The Week in Weed: September 2, 2016

On August 16, in the case of United States v. McIntosh[1], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, reversed decisions from the District Court for the Northern District of California denying the appellants’ request for  relief against the Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) in connection with indictments brought against them for violation of the Controlled Substances Act.  The Court held that the appellants had standing to seek relief under a rider to the Consolidated Appropriations Act[2] prohibiting the DOJ from spending funds to prevent states’ implementation of their medical marijuana laws (“§ 542”).
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Limits DOJ Prosecution of Persons Complying with State Marijuana Laws

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

The Justice Department can’t interfere with states’ medical pot laws.

Note: we’re preparing a blog post on this topic – keep watching this space!


Continue Reading The Week in Weed: August 19

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

The Drug Enforcement Agency will announce Thursday that marijuana will remain a schedule 1 drug, which declares it has “no medical use or purpose,” according to a
Continue Reading The Week in Weed: August 12