With medical and recreational marijuana on the rise throughout the nation, many have wondered how it will affect our large military population. After all, as a potential treatment for many debilitating conditions, medical marijuana could benefit veterans and service members.
Before diving in, it is important to reiterate that marijuana is still illegal on the federal level (medical or otherwise), and the military is generally a federal entity. Thus, any marijuana usage is still strictly prohibited by members of the military. However, the debate over whether or not that rule is fair is ongoing, and many are still discussing the possibility of legalization in the near future.
The shortest discussion of the military and marijuana is reserved for those who are active duty. The zero tolerance policy is still in effect for those currently serving, and branches regularly issue drug tests to ensure the rules are being followed.1 But there has been a recent push to change the status quo. In 2016, an active duty marine sought approval to begin treatment with marijuana for several brain injuries he suffered over the course of his seven-year career. The marine has already been prescribed an abundance of prescription pills for his injuries, but wants to pursue marijuana as a safer option.2 Unfortunately the military branches retain a zero tolerance policy for marijuana usage, with no differentiation between recreational and medical use. Service members can still be discharged, court-martialed or endure nonjudicial punishment over possession of marijuana or positive drug tests, but it will be interesting to see opinions and discussions shift over the next few years with marijuana gaining wider acceptance.
There is more of a gray area concerning veterans and their treatment after being discharged or retiring from the military. Marijuana is being explored as a safe, and welcomed treatment solution for many debilitating diseases or conditions, and may be a viable option for many veterans. And since veterans are no longer active, should marijuana still be precluded?
Many say no, and believe veterans should get the treatment they deserve, including access to medical marijuana. There are ongoing studies on whether marijuana is a treatment solution for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which unfortunately affects many retired or discharged service members. Recent polls also show the large majority of Americans, and a large majority of veterans, support medical marijuana. As a result of these studies, a legislative measure was put forth as recently as July of 2017 to allow veterans to use medical marijuana, and this bipartisan effort was the fourth consecutive attempt to pass the amendment.3
The issue gained even more traction when the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, David Shulkin, argued in favor of medical marijuana use, stating, “I believe everything that could help veterans should be debated by Congress and medical experts . . . If there is compelling evidence that is helpful, I hope the people look at this and come up with a right decision, and we will implement that. There may be some evidence this is beginning to be helpful.” 4Shulkin’s statement, released in May of 2017, showed openness from officials in considering alternative treatment options for our veterans.
Past Recreational Use for Applicants
Those who have applied to the military in recent years are familiar with the questions concerning drug use. Traditionally, any history of marijuana use was a disqualifier for many prospects, but there is a growing movement towards relaxing those standards.
The United States Air Force was the first to announce they would no longer be asking potential recruits about past marijuana use.5 It can be inferred that with the growing use of marijuana usage around the nation, disqualifying candidates on that basis would inhibit growth of the Air Force. Other branches appear to allow minor experimentation with marijuana, and take into consideration the amount used, the circumstances, the individual’s lifestyle, and other factors.
However, the Air Force did make clear that testing positive for marijuana after official accession into the branch would be grounds for discharge. Prior substance abuse, dependency, or other disorders may also be an issue. While the exact number of times is a little unclear, it appears that somewhere between the range of 15 to 25 times of marijuana use, or more, may be disqualifying depending on the branch.
Overall, there is still much progress to be made for all types of service members, whether active duty, retired, or prospective applicants. However, the dynamic discussions and debates over the topic show a glimmer of hope for the medical marijuana industry, and it will be a topic sure to be re-addressed in the years to come.
Hawaii, one of the 29 States in the U.S. with laws permitting the sale of medical marijuana, has elected to make its marijuana industry cashless through an app called CanPay. CanPay enables customers to use debit payments to purchase marijuana and marijuana products at dispensaries. Dispensaries set up accounts with Safe Harbor Private Banking, a Colorado-based credit union, and payments made through CanPay are deposited in those accounts. Safe Harbor will be providing banking services to all of Hawaii’s dispensary licensees under this model1.
CanPay presents itself as the first real debit solution for cannabis markets looking to achieve cashless transactions. It would be incorrect however to say that CanPay marks the first time dispensaries have processed debit or credit cards in exchange for marijuana or marijuana products. Many dispensaries have found means of setting up merchant accounts or misleading banks in order to facilitate credit and debit transactions. Creative as these solutions may be, they tend to only last as long as it takes for banks and credit/debit card companies to catch on, at which point the accounts are closed. CanPay alternatively has the endorsement of Safe Harbor Private banking and requires no creative circumnavigation to achieve debit transactions. It is therefore real in the sense that it is secure and transparent2.
CanPay is currently available in seven states and anticipates expansion into others. For licensees across the 29 states with medical programs, CanPay stands as an attractive up-and-coming means of surmounting state banks’ unwillingness to open and maintain accounts on the industry’s behalf. If local banks won’t facilitate the industry, it seems Safe Harbor and other banks partnered with CanPay are able and willing to take on the risk from afar, upon state regulators’ approval—and dispensaries choosing to open accounts with these banks can expect the same quality and legitimacy as they would with any other federally insured bank.
Safe Harbor currently banks more than one billion dollars in cannabis funds and stays compliant with the Federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) requirement that banks servicing marijuana businesses must file quarterly suspicious activity reports (SAR) pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act. Typically, suspicious activity reports are the vehicle by which FinCEN reviews accounts and orders that they be shut down; however, so long as banks facilitating the marijuana industry continue to submit these reports and stay in compliance with the guidelines FinCEN announced following the issuance of the Cole Memo, they have FinCEN’s blessing—for now. All banks partnered with CanPay follow these guidelines, but as any professional in the marijuana industry will tell you: no bank can guarantee the federal government will be as tolerant of marijuana business banking tomorrow as it is today3.
CanPay and Nevada
CanPay likely won’t be available in Nevada any time soon. This is because CanPay requires dispensaries to have an account with one of the banks with which it is partnered in order to deposit funds from debit transactions. This is not limited to Safe Harbor alone, and includes banks in Washington and Oregon. Despite the array of banks available to accommodate CanPay, few Nevada marijuana businesses have sought relationships with these banks in particular.
Second, Nevada’s cannabis industry is strictly regulated, and any prospect of allowing purchases made through the app would have to be approved by the Nevada Department of Taxation, which oversees Nevada’s marijuana program. Though no concerted efforts by Nevada’s cannabis industry have been made pushing for CanPay to be allowed and accommodated, if such an effort was made, the Department of Taxation might find its features unpalatable. Sending proceeds from sales out of state could make collecting taxes on transactions difficult, for example. Not to mention it might make tax evasion easier altogether.
Finally, Hawaii integrated CanPay into its cannabis industry as a joint effort between CanPay, Safe Harbor and its State Department of Health at the beginning of statewide medical sales. Nevada has already established the infrastructure for its industry and is relatively entrenched in its way of doing things, so it is unlikely that Nevada will experience a government push to mirror Hawaii’s cashless system.
Nevertheless, CanPay is undoubtedly a pioneer in the Cannabis industry’s push for cashless transactions. While the outlook for CanPay’s availability may be hazy at the moment, there was once a time when medical and recreational marijuana sales shared similar discouraging prospects in Nevada. As far as cashless marijuana sales go in general however, rest assured that in Nevada, the relevant question is not will we ever have cashless transactions, but rather when cashless transactions will be available.
2017 has brought a lot of changes to the cannabis industry in Nevada. With the opening of dispensaries and the legalization of recreational use, the focus has now shifted to where dispensary customers will be allowed to use their legally purchased cannabis products. The issue has recently become a hot topic between lawmakers and advocates . Nevada state law currently prohibits using marijuana in a “public place”, which most local jurisdictions have interpreted as including any place open to the public. Due to this interpretation, local governments have not been able to issue any business licenses to cannabis friendly businesses. Therefore, the only place that customers have been able to consume their products has been in a private residence. This is obviously a huge problem for visitors to Nevada. Thankfully, there seems to be a resolution to this issue on the horizon.
Marijuana Use May Be Allowed Within a Cannabis Lounge
An opinion recently released by the Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau recently stated that businesses “may establish and operate a lounge or other facility or special event” where patrons can use marijuana “in compliance with state law.” The Counsel’s opinion, dated September 10, stressed the law’s language restricting marijuana usage in public places, but ultimately determined that as long as the businesses remain restricted (i.e. not open to the public) to persons over the age of 21 and not exposed to public view, cannabis lounges are not contrary to state law and may be allowable.
Businesses May Be Opening Their Doors to Marijuana Consumption
This means that businesses such as cafes, lounges, or even yoga studios, and special events such as festivals, conferences, and concerts may soon open their doors to marijuana consumption on their grounds. Locals may be able to walk to their destination and enjoy smoking in a social atmosphere outside of their home. Cannabis lounges would also be especially beneficial to the tourism industry, considering the Nevada gaming industry has unequivocally banned the use of cannabis on gaming properties, including hotels attached to casinos such as the Strip. Cannabis lounges and other such establishments would provide a refuge for tourists and visitors to legally consume their purchases in a safe, regulated location.
Counties and Towns May Impose Restrictions
However, the opinion emphasizes the discretion local governments will have over the issue. The Counsel stated counties and towns “may impose restrictions and otherwise regulate such businesses so long as the regulations or other restrictions do not violate state law.” This means that localities can restrict permits, impose taxes, and heavily regulate the industry if they so choose. Areas of the valley (such as Henderson) will likely show concern over the location and advertisements of pot lounges, especially near schools, public parks and other locations likely to be viewed by children.
A Huge Step for the Cannabis Industry in Nevada
County Commissions are expected to meet soon to iron out the details. But overall, despite some limitations, this is a huge step for the cannabis industry in Nevada. Aside from the obvious consumer benefits, businesses will also be able to profit from the permissible pot lounges. The expansive changes will allow Nevadans to form hundreds of new businesses catering to marijuana consumption. Anything from cannabis friendly lounges to arcades and yoga studios are possible. However, these new businesses will need to start off on the right foot. Choosing the right type of business entity, preparing proper governing documents, and securing the appropriate business licenses are critical. New businesses will also have to ensure that they are properly licensed and insured.
Interested in Forming a Business in the Marijuana Industry?
If you are interested in forming a Nevada LLC or Corporation in the Nevada marijuana industry, it is important to talk to an experienced cannabis attorney to discuss your options. The attorneys at Connor & Connor PLLC are experienced corporate attorneys who focus their practice on cannabis businesses. If you are thinking about jumping into this new industry, call the attorneys at Connor & Connor PLLC to schedule a consultation.
Marijuana is a popular drug; in fact, it is the most commonly used “illegal” drug in the world. While most people are aware that consuming marijuana has intoxicating effects, not many people know why. Everyone has heard of getting high, stoned, baked, etc. But what chemicals actually produce this feeling? When it comes to marijuana there is a common misunderstanding pertaining to what actually gets you high. With the progression of the times and marijuana becoming legal for medicinal purposes in about half of the United States and legal recreationally in a number of states such as Nevada, it is important to understand the scientific intricacies of cannabis.
How the Chemicals in Marijuana Affect Your Body
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are both natural elements found in the cannabis plant, and although these elements are chemically similar, their impact on the consumer is much different. To to put it simply, THC is psychoactive and CBD is not. The reason for the dissimilarity relating to these elements’ interaction with the user’s body is due to cannabinoid 1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system. THC binds well with the cannabinoid 1 receptor, while CBD doesn’t stick as effectively. Because the THC molecule fits perfectly into cannabinoid receptor, the cannabinoid activates and directly stimulates the body, causing the intoxicating effect of marijuana. Whereas CBD actually blocks the high associated with THC and has a plethora of medicinal purposes.
THC stimulates the brain and releases dopamine, which leads to feelings of euphoria. THC can cause sedation, psychomotor impairment, and alter thought processes. Due to the some of the unwanted side effects from THC such as anxiety, increased heart rate, and impaired motor skills, THC has gotten the label of being the bad cannabinoid. However, it has medical applications as well. THC is effective in treating side effects from chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma, just to name a few. While THC does have some medical benefits, the primary function of THC is producing characteristics that we classify as the “high,” CBD outperforms THC medically.
CBD reduces the effects of THC on the body. Namely, it reduces anxiety and serves as an antipsychotic. Further, CBD is used to treat inflammation, pain, epilepsy, infections, intestinal issues, and much more. Essentially, CBD is relaxation without the feeling of intoxication. However, due to the non-psychoactive effects of CBD, historically, marijuana growers were not focused on producing a plant with high levels of CBD. Recently, there has been a CBD movement in America as our understanding of the benefits of CBD constantly increase. The therapeutic value of CBD is almost unbelievable. For decades, outdated laws have banned a plant that produces what may become one of the most important medicines for modern disease.
The Future of Medicinal Marijuana
As marijuana steadily becomes more accepted legally and socially, more refined studies and research emerge. However, strict federal restrictions on marijuana restrict full exploration into the benefits of CBD. There is tremendous potential for medical marijuana to become a major source of relief for thousands of people suffering from numerous issues. Medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries are required to disclose the composition of the marijuana that they grow and sell. With the increase in the accuracy from seed to sale, due to strict regulations, there could be a future where marijuana can solve more problems than ever imagined. However, until we overcome all legal and political obstacles, we may never know the full potential of utilizing marijuana as medicine.
Existing law imposes a 2% tax upon each wholesale sale of marijuana by a cultivation facility. SB 487 increases the tax on wholesale marijuana for medical use by a cultivation facility to 15%. Because SB 487 changes the tax on medical marijuana to align with the 15% wholesale tax on recreational marijuana cultivators, businesses do not have to separate medical and recreational plants. Further, this bill abolishes the tax on sales by a facility for the production of edible marijuana products or marijuana-infused products.
What Does SB 487 Do?
Essentially, this bill removes the 2% excise tax at each stage (Cultivation → (2%)Production → (2%)Distribution → (2%) Consumer) and imposes a flat 15% wholesale tax on cultivators. Additionally, it imposes an excise tax of 10% on retail marijuana store sales.
Where Will the Revenue from Marijuana Go?
The bill originally proposed that the revenue from recreational marijuana sales go to Nevada’s public education fund. However, the revenue will go to the state’s rainy day fund. This way no programs or funding would be reliant upon revenue that is prediction based, at this point. Additionally, lawmakers would have limited access to the funds until 2019, so there will be almost two years of untouched revenues to analyze before lawmakers decide how to allocate the revenue. This bill also deems $5,000,000 from the excise taxes each fiscal year to be sufficient to cover the costs of local governments for regulating the sale of any type of marijuana.
How Will SB 487 Affect Medical Marijuana Registration Certificates?
This bill allows the Department of Taxation to accept applications for medical marijuana registration certificates if: 1) if the application is accompanied by a letter from the incorporated city endorsing the issuance of the certificate; and 2) the applicant already holds a medical marijuana establishment registration certificate, unless no medical marijuana establishment certificate has been issued to a medical marijuana dispensary located in the incorporated city (on or before December 31, 2018). The Department shall issue one medical cultivation and one medical production certificate in each county. The Department is limited to 10 days per year to accept applications to operate medical marijuana establishments.
Each cultivation, production, and dispensary facility must submit a report to the Department that includes certain data, reported separately for each month.
These provisions became effective July 1, 2017.
SB344 was recently passed in Nevada. In general, the contents of the bill covers packaging, labeling, and advertising requirements for medical and recreational marijuana with a focus on edible packaging and other miscellaneous dispensary and production requirements. The main emphasis of the bill is to make edible marijuana products less attractive to children. Specifically, all marijuana products must clearly state that they are marijuana products in bold type, say “keep out of reach of children,” and cannot be packaged in anyway that might be appealing to children.
Which Marijuana Products Will SB344 Prohibit?
For example, there can be no cartoons, toys, mascots, or any type of design that resembles a current children’s product on the packaging, which additionally, must be packaged in opaque child resistant packaging. Further, there can be no lollipops, ice cream, or fruit snacks available for sale because of the increased likelihood that a child would get their hands on these types of products.
How SB344 Keeps Marijuana Products Away From Children
The bill then goes into other specific details that entail health requirements such as separate hand washing stations and disclosures that marijuana could be dangerous to children, and have a greater effect on people who are pregnant, using alcohol, or other prescription drugs. Additionally, the bill gives dosage limits for all products containing THC. The bill requires dispensaries to make storage containers available for purchase; again, this is to help prevent children from accessing any type of marijuana product.
What is the Point of SB344?
The main point of SB344 is to set clear safety requirements for the use of marijuana, specifically, to protect children from getting their hands on marijuana products that will now be more readily available. These provisions were supposed to become effective October 1, 2020. However, the Department of Taxation is set to implement the more important safety regulations of this bill to coincide with the July 1st early start date.
Within the last year, Nevada has acquired two professional sports teams and legalized the recreational use of marijuana. While the reaction to the new sports market has been mostly positive, the same does not apply regarding the legalization of marijuana. Let’s take a look at the history of marijuana in Nevada.
Marijuana in Nevada
Marijuana has long been a controversial topic for Nevadans. It was first banned in 1923 as part of a nationwide effort to limit the use of Cannabis during the prohibition era.
Nearly 75 years later, in 1998, the Nevada Medical Marijuana act (Question 9) passed with a 59% approval. However, the initiative required approval in consecutive elections because it was an amendment to the state constitution. The legislation passed for a second time in 2000, with 65% of the vote. The Nevada Medical Marijuana act provided that patients may possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis as well as an amount of edible or infused products which are the “equivalent” of 2 ½ ounces of usable marijuana and grow a maximum of 12 usable cannabis plants. Cannabis was being tested and used to treat conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Cancer, Auto Immune Diseases, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. The approval of using Marijuana to treat these conditions was a major step forward, both medically and socially. While it was apparent that Nevadans understood the medical benefits of marijuana, the Nevada Medical Marijuana act failed to address how one would legally obtain medical cannabis.
History of Recreational Marijuana in Nevada
In 2002, Question 9 went before the voters with a proposal to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis, but was defeated at the polls. Legalized marijuana appeared on the ballot again in 2006 as the “Nevada Regulation of Marijuana Initiative.” The act posed the question of whether the Nevada Revised Statutes would be amended to allow and regulate the sale, use and possession of one ounce or less of marijuana by persons at least 21 years of age, and impose regulations on marijuana retailers. It also questioned whether criminal penalties for causing death or substantial bodily harm when driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol would be considered. However, the initiative received only 44% of the vote, thus it failed.
Medical Marijuana Approval
In 2013, more than a decade after voters approved the Nevada medical marijuana act, the Nevada Legislature finally allowed for the sale of and regulated access to medical cannabis. The Nevada Senate approved a bill, which allowed the licensing of non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries and made it legal to sell, grow, test, and tax marijuana.
The first medical marijuana facility in Nevada opened in Sparks on July 31, 2015. There are now more than 190 operating medical marijuana facilities in the state. In November 2016, Nevada voters narrowly approved the “Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana” making it one of eight states to have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. The measure legalized possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. However, the initiative did not include provisions for regulation beyond taxation, such as licensing retailers.
Recreational Marijuana Early Start Program
As of May 2017, Nevada has approved the “Early Start Program” which will allow for operational medical marijuana facilities in good standing to apply for a recreational license. On July 1st, eligible Nevada dispensaries can begin selling to adults 21 and over. The tax revenues from marijuana sales will be enormous for Nevada’s economy. Additionally, Governor Sandoval plans on applying the revenue from marijuana taxes to fund public education.
After almost a century of prohibition and controversy, Nevada legislation will finally lift the ban on the recreational use of marijuana. Nevada lawmakers are optimistic that the implementation of the new cannabis laws will prove to be profitable.
Last November, Nevadans voted yes on Question 2 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The ballot required the state to begin sales by January 1, 2018, but recently the Nevada Tax Commission approved temporary regulations that would allow businesses launch as early as July 1, 2017. The “early start” program’s proponents cite that there is a discrepancy in the new law because it is currently legal to possess marijuana, but not to purchase or sell marijuana. This has lead to an increase in sales by local black market dealers. Additionally, Nevada is depending on the estimated $70 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales to help fund public education, which we desperately need.
Who Will Be Allowed to Sell Marijuana for Recreational Use?
The only businesses eligible to participate in the early start program for recreational sale must already be established as medical marijuana facilities. The application period will begin in the middle of May and conclude at the end of the month. There will also be another short (5 day) application period that will take place later in the year. Nearly all of Nevada’s current 190 marijuana license holders are in good standing and are eligible to apply for a recreational license.
How Dispensaries Apply for a License
Applicants must pay a one-time, nonrefundable application fee of $5,000 plus a license fee of $20,000 for a retail store, $30,000 for a cultivation facility, $10,000 for a production and manufacturing facility, $15,000 for a testing facility and $15,000 for a marijuana distributor. Additionally, for the first 18 months of applications, only registered medical marijuana businesses can be accepted. Licenses that are issued during the early start period will only be valid until 90 after January 1, 2018.
What Does This Mean for Nevada?
The recreational marijuana industry is a huge opportunity, primarily for Las Vegas, to grow. In addition to the millions of dollars in tax revenue that the sale of recreational marijuana will provide, it will also increase tourism, as Nevada is now one of only eight states to have legal recreational marijuana use. New businesses mean more businesses, more businesses means more jobs, and more jobs means more money for the economy. Further, the regulation of the recreational marijuana industry will allow users easy access to medically tested and approved products while limiting the expansion of the black market which could lead to a reduction in drug related violence. It is an exciting time to be living in the entertainment capital of the world.
Recreational marijuana is now legal in Nevada, but expect plenty of catches, especially at first.
On November 8, 2016, Nevadans approved “Question 2” on their ballot by a margin of nine percent, effectively removing criminal penalties for possession of certain moderate amounts of marijuana and marijuana-derived concentrates. Yet, the legal ramifications of this development are far from cut-and-dry.
For one, Nevadans who do not currently have a prescription card for medical marijuana have no legal way to buy recreational marijuana at the moment. This issue and many others will make marijuana laws complicated for those who enjoy recreational smoking, especially in the immediate future.
To help clear some things up and make it easier for aspiring recreational marijuana users to know their rights, consider the following four important points about the New Nevada marijuana law.
You Can Only Possess a Certain Amount of Marijuana at a Time
The current cap is on an ounce of cured marijuana plant products or an eighth of an ounce of marijuana concentrate, like hash oil or “shatter.” Anyone found with amounts in excess of these limits on their person or within their private property may be subject to criminal penalties.
Only those 21 and older can legally possess marijuana.
You Can’t Buy Marijuana at Dispensaries Without an MMJ Card (Yet)
On January 1, 2017, the criminal penalties for holding certain amounts of marijuana products (see above) were relaxed. However, no one can legally sell you marijuana unless you have a prescription card. Legislators set themselves a deadline of January 1, 2018 to have regulations in place that should allow dispensaries to expand their clientele to non-MMJ card holders.
Many experts estimate that you could be able to buy marijuana recreationally by summer 2017.
Once medical dispensaries have their operations opened to all marijuana users, the state will then open the door to give licenses for dispensaries that did not exist before the new marijuana law went into effect. Expect a long process for regulations to be drafted and finalized, though.
You Cannot Grow Your Own Marijuana Unless You Live in a Rural Area
The new law permits growing your own marijuana only if you live more than 25 miles away from a marijuana dispensary. So, unless you live in rural areas, you are going to have to wait for regulations to allow medical dispensaries to expand their clientele.
For those who do live far away from a dispensary: the law allows up to six plants per person or 12 plants total per residence. And, naturally, selling the yield from these plants without a commercial license would be a felony. You can, however, give marijuana away as a gift to someone over 21 as long as they do not end up possessing more than the total legal limit.
You Cannot Drive Intoxicated or Smoke in Public
Driving while under the effects of marijuana, which can last up to a few hours, is still illegal and can potentially affect the outcome of criminal cases or insurance settlements if you are caught driving with a high concentration of THC in your system.
Smoking marijuana in public is likewise banned and can incur up to $600 in criminal fines. You also cannot smoke in a moving vehicle, even if you will not be driving.
Some expect smoking “cafes” to expand the ability to smoke in public to certain designated businesses, similar to a hookah lounge.
Nevada Marijuana Laws Are Only Going to Get More Complicated
Believe it or not, decriminalization does not automatically make life easier for marijuana users. Just as legal alcohol use can create many legal gray areas, those who use marijuana recreationally may find themselves subject to criminal or civil consequences if they do not maintain awareness of their rights and limitations.
If you face consequences for your marijuana use, never hesitate to exercise your rights. Consider appointing a knowledgeable Nevada marijuana law attorney to represent your case so that you can assert your side of the story and protect your legal rights as a citizen. Contact us now for a free consultation.
Transferring ownership of a business license and business holdings almost always presents challenges to both the buyer and seller. When adding medical marijuana operations, one of the most heavily regulated industries in the state, into the mix, those challenges can become infinitely more complicated.
Luckily, these buyers and sellers can look to the services of an experienced medical marijuana business attorney to guide their sale and potentially smooth over any hitches they would have faced. More often than not, these parties will require that attorney’s representation throughout the entire process in order to satisfy and convince local hearings boards in regards to their intended activities.
Because of these potential obstacles, marijuana business license transfers could face any of the following complications before the sale is finalized:
Convincing Approval Committees
Most likely in an effort to appease local communities, the Nevada State Legislature baked in a tremendous amount of power for local cities and counties when it comes to approval of marijuana licenses, including their transferal.
For example, we wrote in a previous post that an existing medical marijuana business can only move to a new location if “it can be shown that the new location is more suitable than the previous location” to the satisfaction of the local approval committee.
Furthermore, cities like North Las Vegas utilize language in their regulatory ordinances stating that the laws will be construed to “protect the public over medical marijuana business interests.”
Therefore, in this one example we have two extremely subjective criteria for a business owner to get approval for transferring just their location, let alone transferring their license in the process. Questions can arise, like: does the new location have to be “more suitable” to the public, the business or both? If the city feels that an MME’s activity is not in the public’s interest, what sort of burden of proof does the business have to satisfy in order to get approval?
Since each individual committee has immense final decision power and each decision will involve a host of unique subjective factors, every attempted approval should be guided with the assistance of a medical marijuana business lawyer in order to ease the process.
When medical marijuana business owners request to transfer ownership, the new recipient of the license must undergo the same application process as the initial owner’s. Nevada state laws also provide that a local board may “deem a medical marijuana establishment in compliance with all local governmental ordinances or rules, regardless of any ranking of the establishment established by the Division.”
In this situation where a local board holds the power to interpret laws, challenges the initial application did not endure could arise. Suddenly, the meaning of past decisions could be called into question, and the new owner could face challenges given their unique standing.
For instance, SB 276 limits a group, person or entity to ownership of one marijuana establishment registration license in the area. Therefore, if a privately held company had a large stakeholder that separately held an individual license in the same area, could the local approval committee interpret this as one person owning multiple establishments?
Legal questions like these are infinitely complex and subject to the extent of debate allowed on the matter. As more of these debates occur, case law and precedent could introduce further complexities.
You can navigate these difficulties with the assistance of a Nevada medical marijuana business attorney, who will lend clarity and represent your case to the best of their ability.
Anyone attempting to buy or sell a medical marijuana license in Nevada can contact Connor & Connor for representation and answers to their pressing questions.