Yesterday sparks flew as word was out that the DEA would be making some important announcements relating to the treatment of marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Today, the excitement died down as the DEA issued a 180-page denial (inclusive of attachments; the actual denial is only three pages long) of a petition to
Continue Reading DEA Buzzkill: Marijuana Remains Illegal Under Federal Law

Earlier this month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) issued a decision that presents relevant considerations for those in the fast-growing marijuana industry.  In the decision (In re Morgan Brown), the TTAB affirmed the rejection of a service mark application to register the below HERBAL ACCESS & Design mark in connection with “retail store services featuring herbs” because the TTAB found that the mark was actually being used in connection with the sale of marijuana.


Continue Reading Marijuana Trademark Registration Strategies – July 2016 Update

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

You would have been hard pressed, just a few years ago, to find investments outside of family-office groups. Then Washington and Colorado legalized.

Continue Reading Week in Weed: July 22, 2016

Not everybody has been high on life since Colorado passed Amendment 64 on November 6, 2012, which legalized the sale and distribution of marijuana in Colorado.  Since the passage of Amendment 64, several states have voiced their concerns regarding the inherent conflict between states legalizing medical and/or recreational marijuana, and the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), which lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, and forbids its sale or use.  On March 21, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) exercised its discretion to reject a challenge by Oklahoma and Nebraska to Amendment 64, and other marijuana legalization efforts, alleging that Amendment 64 is preempted by federal law.  In other words, Oklahoma and Nebraska, argued that the Colorado law violates the CSA, and that SCOTUS should adjudicate this case based on “original jurisdiction,” which empowers SCOTUS to hear disputes between the states without first being tried at the District Court and Court of Appeals.
Continue Reading SECOND-HAND SMOKE: How Colorado’s Neighbors Are Fighting Amendment 64

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

The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate will hold an unexpected – and perhaps first-ever – hearing on the potential medical benefits and risks of marijuana use Wednesday,
Continue Reading The Week in Weed: July 15, 2015

Last week, Illinois courts and lawmakers changed the  course of the administration of medical marijuana for state residents with debilitating conditions and diseases. First, on June 28, 2016, Associate Judge Neil H. Cohen of Cook County Chancery Court ruled that the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (“IDPH”), Director Neil D. Shah, illegally denied a Petition to include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) as a debilitating medical condition within the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (“Program”). Plaintiff Daniel Paul Jabs, a veteran of the Iraq War, suffered from PTSD and had symptoms of “‘panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive memories, hyper-sensitivity to light and noise, over reactive startle responses,’ as well as isolation, mood fluctuations, anxiety and insomnia.” After providing the requisite documents at a public hearing before an Advisory Board, the board members unanimously voted to add PTSD and ten other medical conditions as authorized debilitating medical conditions under the Program.
Continue Reading A One-Two Punch: Jabs v. IDPH and SB 10 Passage Changing the Direction of Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Two weeks ago we wrote about the current state of banking marijuana related businesses (MRBs).  In that article we quoted an executive of Fourth Corner Bank as saying “[i]n 2016, $1.2 billion in cash will be transacted by the cannabis industry in Colorado.  That’s all in $20 bills.  At some point somebody will die. Then we will be allowed to
Continue Reading Banking Marijuana Related Business: A Postscript

Lack of access to the banking system remains one of the biggest problems for the cannabis industry.  Despite tremendous growth in the past few years and even more aggressive growth expected in the near future,  it is still difficult for cannabis businesses, what bankers like to call marijuana related businesses (MRB), to establish a banking relationship. As more and more states legalize the use of marijuana, has there been any progress?

First, a little history.  Banks are prohibited from banking MRBs under federal law and risk prosecution for money laundering and aiding drug trafficking.  In February 2014, following the issuance of the Cole Memorandum by the Justice Department, the Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Department of Justice issued concurrent guidance to clarify how financial institutions could serve MRBs consistent with their obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act.  The FinCEN  guidelines state that in determining whether to serve an MRB, a financial institution should conduct due diligence including: determining whether the MRB is properly licensed, reviewing the license application, requesting from state authorities available information about the business, understanding the products and customers of the business, monitoring the business activities, remaining alert for suspicious business activities, and conducting periodic reviews of the business.  A financial institution also should consider whether an MRB implicates one of the priorities of the Cole Memorandum.  Finally, if a financial institution does decide to service an MRB, it would be required to file a Suspicious Activity Report.

Continue Reading Banking Marijuana Related Business: An Update

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at the world of legalized marijuana.  The big news is that Ohio has now officially legalized medical marijuana (medijuana, as we like to call it).  See TBT’s post on that here.  But that’s not the only thing that’s been going on.

Continue Reading The Week in Weed: June 17, 2016

Welcome back to The Week in Weed; here’s your Friday update on all things cannabis.

Long-term marijuana use is not associated with a raft of physical health problems, according to a new study, with one
Continue Reading The Week in Weed: June 3, 2016