California’s medical marijuana industry had been gaining momentum for two decades. Now, with the legalization of recreational cannabis, the marijuana industry is set to reach new heights. But if you want to get into the cannabis game, you first need a sound strategy. The barriers to entry are high, and recreational marijuana business face a complex regulatory landscape – not to mention the threat of prosecution from the federal authorities.
With a California marijuana business lawyer by your side, you can give your growing, distributing, manufacturing, or retail business the keys to success. Call McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 to find out how we can help you.
Free consultation for criminal defense cases only. Cannabis business consultation requires a fee.
Legalization of Cannabis Businesses in California
In November of 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. Passed into law as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), this initiative does the following:
- Legalizes possession by adults 21 and over to possess one ounce of cannabis
- Authorizes adults over 21 to grow up to six plants
- Reduces most marijuana-related state criminal offenses to misdemeanors
- Creates a regulatory framework for the cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, and sale of recreational cannabis
If you’re interested in opening a recreational cannabis business, your first step should be to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable California cannabis attorney who can explain to you the ins and outs of how to get your business up and running.
How Can a Cannabis Business Attorney Help?
Few businesses are as difficult to start as a recreational cannabis business in California. The success of your venture will depend on several interrelated factors, including:
- Licensing – Depending on the kind of business you intend to start, you will need a different license. In some cases, such as for dispensaries and growers, there may be several license types to choose from depending on the scope of your business. No California cannabis licenses will be issued until early 2018, but you should learn about what license you will need and prepare for the application process now.
- Permitting – To operate your business, and as a condition for apply for a state license, you may also need permission from your city, town, or county. Usually, this authorization takes the form of a Conditional Use Permit, or CUP.
- Zoning – Most local jurisdictions have limited the places where cannabis business can operate. Usually, such businesses are not allowed in residential zones. In some cases, they are restricted to industrial zones. Understanding your municipality’s zoning laws is essential to successfully starting your cannabis business.
- Incorporation – Your cannabis business can take many forms depending on how many investors you have and how you want to shield yourself from liabilities: sole proprietorship, limited partnership (LP), general partnership (GP), limited liability partnership (LLP), or a corporation.
- Legal and regulatory compliance – Medical marijuana businesses can operate without drawing the attention of the federal authorities. In the case of recreational businesses, on the other hand, raids, asset forfeitures, and criminal prosecutions are a real possibility that you should plan for now. If you’re a cultivator, you need to ensure that your business complies with local, state, and even federal law pertaining to land use and water quality.
How Can I Get the Most Out of My Cannabis Business Consultation?
Before meeting with your lawyer, you should have a clear idea of what your business will look like. Come to the consultation prepared with a business plan that includes the following:
- The specific location, or at least the municipality where you want to operate
- The type of business you want to operate (cultivation, distribution, testing, transport, or retail)
- How much capital you have, or can access
- How many partners or investors you will have
- The number of employees you intend to hire
- Your criminal record and those of your partners and potential employees
- If you are cultivating, the details about the size of the crop you will grow, the methods you will use, and the location of your plots
Once you have these details in order, you are ready to consult with a lawyer about how to set your business on the path to success.
At McElfresh Law, we are committed to giving San Diego area recreational cannabis businesses the best chances at overcoming their legal and administrative hurdles. Local, California, and federal laws relating to cannabis are evolving fast, and we are closely following these developments to better serve our clients. If you want to start a San Diego recreational marijuana business, call us today at (858) 756-7107 for a consultation.
This website is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. Free consultation for criminal defense cases only. Cannabis business consultation requires a fee.