Jurisdiction: California

California Authorities Ramp Up Efforts to Reduce Illegal Cannabis Growing Operations

Two recent articles from the Los Angeles Times suggest that authorities in California have increased their efforts (and perhaps their effectiveness) in curbing illegal cannabis grown in the state. According to one article, 345 state law enforcement raids this year resulted in the seizure of almost 1 million marijuana plants from unlicensed growers.

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It’s Complicated: Tax Revenue From Recreational Marijuana Remains Difficult to Estimate

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” The Works of Benjamin Franklin, 1817. That idiom remains true today, and with the legalization of recreational marijuana markets, it was widely accepted that the taxes would allow state and local governments to plug budgetary shortfalls.

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The Marijuana Job Market Is Lit

The cannabis-related job market continues to expand according to a PoliticoPro report (subscription required) that analyzed data from Indeed.com, an employment search engine. In May 2016, cannabis job postings accounted for 231 per million total job postings. By May 2019, that number has increased nearly four-fold to 915 postings per million.

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Back in Session: A Look at California’s Latest Cannabis Bills

Though it still feels like summer in balmy Los Angeles, school is back in session and so is the California legislature. From banking reform to labeling, state legislators are set to mull over at least five bills directly impacting the $2.5 billion legal cannabis industry in California, now ranked the fifth largest economy in the world.

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Illicit Market Continues to Stifle California’s Legal Cannabis Market

It’s been nearly two years since California legalized recreational marijuana, and despite promises to curtail the illegal market, California’s black market continues to thrive. In 2018, according to estimates, about 78% of all marijuana sales in California occurred on the black market. That number (and the associated lost revenue for legal marijuana-related businesses and the California treasury) is frightening.

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Shifting Landscape: Marijuana Employment Law Starting to Trend in Favor of Employees

Marijuana-related employment lawsuits are on the rise as more workers who have been fired or denied a job over their marijuana use are utilizing litigation to challenge the decisions. This, in turn, is forcing employers to formulate new strategies to balance the risk of litigation against the possibility of impaired employees hurting someone on the job, damaging the business, or possibly even worse.

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California Senate Passes Bill to Jump Start Cannabis Banking

California is done waiting on the federal government. As the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (“SAFE Banking Act”) remains stymied in the U.S. Senate, California is proceeding with its own banking reform. Specifically, the California Senate recently passed Senate Bill 51 (the “Cannabis Limited Charter Banking and Credit Union Law”), which would allow private banks and credit unions to apply for charters that would explicitly permit them to handle cannabis transactions.

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