Just before the close of the Colorado legislature’s 2024 session, lawmakers approved a bill aimed at streamlining several deficiencies in the state’s regulation of marijuana businesses. While not all the bill’s intended fixes were passed, certain provisions will facilitate significant changes for businesses, including for licensing processes, contaminant testing protocols, reporting obligations, compliance procedures, and operations management practices. Several notable changes are discussed below.Continue Reading Key Regulatory Changes in Colorado’s Marijuana Industry – What Businesses Need to Know

A recent lawsuit in Alabama, challenging the award of medical cannabis licenses by regulators, underscores the potential pitfalls in licensing regimes where applicants are selected based on specific enumerated factors. Below, we examine the Alabama lawsuit in greater detail and consider the alternative policy of utilizing a lottery system to award licenses.Continue Reading Awarding Medical Cannabis Licenses: Takeaways From Recent Alabama Lawsuit

Recent developments in the Massachusetts cannabis industry, significant legislative changes, and legal actions have spotlighted the contentious issue of so-called community impact fees. These fees, which are intended to offset municipal costs associated with hosting cannabis businesses, have sparked debate regarding their fairness and implementation.Continue Reading Massachusetts Cannabis Firms Contest Alleged Misdocumentation of Community Impact Fees

In January, we published an article in this newsletter on the state of cannabis taxation, including a discussion of the crippling impact of Internal Revenue Code §280E (IRC §280E) on the industry. Since that article was published, the industry has been shaken and encouraged by the news that Trulieve Cannabis Corp. received refunds totaling $113 million from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To date, Trulieve has refused to divulge the specific basis for the refunds, citing competitive, trade-secret, and pending litigation reasons. In an article in Cannabis Business Times posted on February 29, however, it was reported that Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers responded “yes” to a question on X (formerly Twitter) on whether the refund was related to IRC §280E.[1] In addition to Trulieve, another cannabis business, Ascend Wellness Holdings, has also reported it has amended federal tax returns for several years and is expecting to receive refunds.[2] Before jumping into the speculation as to what the specific basis of the refunds are, it is helpful to briefly review IRC §280E.Continue Reading Tax Refunds for Cannabis Businesses? What Is the Story?

The various forms of information reporting required by the Internal Revenue Code form the backbone of both voluntary compliance with tax laws and the starting point for audits by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). One form that is particularly relevant in the cannabis space is IRS Form 8300, which implements the law that requires a business to report transactions involving cash payments of more than $10,000.Continue Reading Preparing for IRS Cash Transaction Reporting in the Cannabis Industry

Attorneys general (AG) from 20 states and the District of Columbia have submitted a letter to Congress requesting that federal lawmakers close the “loophole” created by the 2018 Farm Bill that is widely understood to prohibit state regulation of intoxicating hemp products, including delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products.Continue Reading 21 State AGs Call on Congress to Regulate Intoxicating Hemp Products

In the grand experiment of American democracy, it is often said that states serve as laboratories, testing policies that challenge the status quo without risking the stability of the whole. Oregon, known in recent years for its pioneering drug decriminalization laws, is at a crossroads that marks the end of a significant experiment. State legislators recently passed a bill aiming to recriminalize the possession of small amounts of certain substances, a move now awaiting Democratic Governor Tina Kotek’s approval. Last week, the governor announced that she plans to sign the bill. The move toward recriminalization highlights a broader conversation on the re-evaluation of drug policy, public health, and social justice in a post war-on-drugs environment in the U.S.Continue Reading Reassessing Oregon’s Drug Policy: A Shift Toward Recriminalization

A Colorado manufacturer of cannabis-infused edible products is suing the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) of the Colorado Department of Revenue (CDOR) to challenge the validity of recent revisions to its inventory tracking regulations.Continue Reading Colorado Cannabis Company Challenges Recent Revisions to the State’s Marijuana Tracking Regulations

On February 28, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill No. 698, which would legalize sales of recreational marijuana at retail in the Commonwealth. It now heads to the desk of Governor Glenn Youngkin, where its future is uncertain. In this blog post, we highlight key provisions of the proposed framework related to licensing, taxes, testing, and labeling.Continue Reading Recreational Marijuana Regime Passes Virginia General Assembly

Introduction

On February 1, Senior U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado denied Mackie A. Barch (Mackie) and Trellis Holdings Maryland, Inc. (Trellis and together with Mackie, defendants) motion to vacate the original judgment entered into on September 7, 2022, awarding $6.4 million to David J. Bartch (plaintiff) as a result of defendants’ breach of contract. In reaching his ruling, Judge Jackson was unpersuaded by defendants’ argument that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this matter because the plaintiff’s injury is not redressable by a federal court because marijuana is illegal under federal law, and federal courts therefore cannot adjudicate marijuana cases. Judge Jackson further went on to specify that the conduct at the center of this dispute (defendants’ agreement to return plaintiff’s ownership interest upon the successful licensing of Doctor’s Orders Maryland (DOMD)) would not have “affected the amount of cannabis that the company [DOMD] cultivated or distributed” in violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The decision to ultimately defend and extend Article III jurisdiction in cases arising out of cannabis business disputes is an interesting shift that highlights the sway of public opinion to the side of the legalization of marijuana on the federal level.Continue Reading Federal Courts and Cannabis Disputes: A New Perspective From Bartch v. Barch