The Cannabis Industry is expected to be worth $50 billion by 2026. California’s medical marijuana laws can be confusing and is important to have an experienced attorney that understands the cannabis industry and relevant law.
We represent a wide variety of individuals seeking advice and representation in the area of medicinal marijuana. Clients and stakeholders include:
- Cannabis cooperatives
- Cannabis cultivators
- Cannabis distributors
- Cannabis manufacturers
- Cannabis retailers
- Investors in cannabis ventures
- Medical Marijuana dispensaries
- Physicians who recommend medical marijuana or cannabis
- Testing labs
Throughout, we provide both regulatory and corporate and transactional legal advice as well as litigation advice to clients in this ever-evolving industry.
Practice Areas Involving Cannabis
Our practice areas include:
- Counseling on corporate formation of companies offering cannabis products
- Corporation formation of MSOs pioneering cannabis clinics in ventures that will involve clinicians
- Drafting M&A documents for acquisition and sale of cannabis ventures
- Licensing of intellectual property (IP) involving cannabis
- Other contract drafting, review, and negotiation in the MMJ industry
- Real estate issues, including land use and zoning, and permits
Complying with the complex laws and regulations governing the cannabis industry is a basic pre-requisite for any business looking to operate in this sector.
Locally, California’s dual licensing system for cannabis operators means there is a lot of bureaucracy to navigate. California’s 540 cities and counties maintains different requirements for security, ownership, criminal history, hiring, odor control, water use, energy use, vertical integration, and many other areas of compliance.
To run your cannabis business, you must ensure that you can run your operation at a particular location. Our attorneys provide in-depth legal counsel to operators in the cannabis industry, from cultivators and manufacturers to transporters, distributors, testing labs and retailers. We will guide you through the complex land-use and zoning considerations involved so that business owners can apply for permittable sites for their facilities.
Telehealth and Cannabis Recommendations
In California, the medical board states that the use of telehealth for cannabis patients is permitted, so long as the telehealth practice is in compliance with Business & Professions Code, Section 2290.5 and used in a manner consistent with the standard of care.
Section 2290.5(e) defines “telehealth” as the mode of delivering health care services and public health via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care while the patient is at the originating site and the health care provider is at the distant site.
On its webpage regarding telehealth, the Medical Board of California emphasizes the following:
- Physicians using telehealth technologies to provide care to patients located in California must be licensed in California.
- Physicians need not reside in California, as long as they have a valid, current California license.
- Physicians are held to the same standard of care, and retain the same responsibilities of providing informed consent, ensuring the privacy of medical information, and any other duties associated with practicing medicine regardless of whether they are practicing via telehealth or face-to-face, in-person visits.
- Information consultations between practitioners, telephone conversation, email or instant messaging (IM), or fax, are not telemedicine in California.
However, every state has its own laws concerning telehealth practices.
In many (if not most) states—with some exceptions—the physician must also be licensed in the state in which the patient is located. Thus, it is not sufficient that the physician is licensed in California, if the patient is located in another state.
As well, some states may require that the physician—or a suitable licensed designee, such as (for example) an NP or PA—conduct an in-person exam of the patient.
Moreover, each state may have different laws, regulations, and policies, concerning therapeutic recommendations involving cannabis.
As well, there is some legal ambiguity regarding the legality of telehealth as it applies to cannabis practices. California law, as noted, has a liberal policy toward telehealth so long as the practice comports with standard of care (and other legal requirements are met); however, California law is much stricter with regard to prescription via telehealth, and favors use of an in-person exam, conducted by the attending physician.
Further, although California’s Compassionate Use Act allows the use of cannabis for medical purposes, there is potential for enforcement in (or from) other states (e.g., the patient’s state) where cannabis is prohibited, or based on the potential for enforcement under Federal law.
And, the prospect of federal enforcement remains, as federal policy and enforcement priorities around cannabis use continually shift.
This is one example of how a cannabis company must take into account the laws that exist in every relevant market, and have a synergistic, detailed legal review of the many facets of law that can inform and guide a foundational business decision.
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