Cannabis Law

Cannabis Law

The rules regarding recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, and hemp differ by each state, county, and municipality. Sometimes these local laws contradict federal law, which broadly prohibits marijuana altogether. Therefore, running any cannabis business requires more than simple compliance with your primary state regulatory agency. For each cannabis business, there are numerous land use considerations, employment issues, business entity choices, and contract obligations.

 

Don’t go it alone. Having an attorney on your side can mean the difference between cannabis business success and failure. Navigate Law Group can help analyze which business entity type (limited liability company, corporation, etc.) is best suited for your operation. We can also help you comply with federal regulators for hemp, state licensing and registration agencies for hemp and marijuana, and municipal and county land use and cannabis regulators. We can assist in negotiating business-to-business contracts, drafting compliant standard operating procedures, and creating employee handbooks that comply with state and federal law. Whether you need an attorney for a single issue or full-service general counsel, we’re here for you.

We help clients in the following areas: 

  • Recreational marijuana licensing, medical marijuana licensing, hemp production and processing registration, administrative hearing representation, regulatory compliance.
  • Eleven states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, including Oregon and Washington.
  • Twenty-five states have completely or partially decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.
  • 100% of states are forbidden from interfering in interstate commerce of hemp.

Keep going full speed ahead without legal questions bogging you down. 

Recreational marijuana licensing

While many jurisdictions have now legalized recreational marijuana use, selling cannabis is still governed by strict regulations. Navigate Law Group can help you wade through these legal requirements by assisting with land use questions, reviewing standard operating procedures, preparing license applications, structuring business entities, and corresponding with applicable regulators. With expert legal representation by your side, you’ll have the freedom to operate with confidence.

Medical marijuana licensing

The regulations governing medical marijuana licensing are different from recreational marijuana licensing. With that in mind, we provide counsel as you deal with the Washington Department of Health and Oregon Health Authority, as well as helping you comply with local land use ordinances.

Hemp production and processing registration

Hemp producers and processors must deal with both federal agencies and local governments as they set up and operate their businesses. Navigate Law Group assists our clients as they register with state governing bodies, as well as maintaining compliance with the US Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and municipal and county ordinances.

Administrative hearing representation

When cannabis retailers do run afoul of federal and municipal regulations, they’ll need qualified representation to ensure they’re allowed to continue operating. Navigate Law Group will review allegations of noncompliance, assist in preparing evidence, present evidence before administrative bodies, and file appeals when necessary.

Regulatory compliance

Compliance isn’t a one-time action. Instead, it’s an ongoing approach to business that’s best supported by qualified legal representation. We can help by providing continual operational reviews to mitigate the risk of noncompliance with local, state, and federal regulators.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a license to produce hemp?

Yes. The 2018 Farm Bill created new requirements for hemp farmers to comply with the US Department of Agriculture and the various state departments of agriculture. Fortunately, both Washington and Oregon have clear guidelines and processes for who must apply and how to do so. Speaking with an attorney about which licenses and registrations are needed is highly recommended.

Is cannabis legal in both WA & OR? How strict are the laws in both states towards cannabis law?

Cannabis is legal in both Washington and Oregon, though a number of restrictions apply. Hemp, which is statutorily defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis, is now federally legal, assuming the producer and handler or processor followed appropriate state and federal regulations. Recreational marijuana, while legal in both states, is federally illegal. The laws surrounding recreational marijuana, its production, its sale, and possession are very complex even in the states that allow it. If you have questions about hemp or recreational marijuana, it is recommended that you contact an attorney.

How to get licensed as a marijuana retail store in WA & OR?

Those wishing to receive a marijuana license must apply to their local regulator. At this time, the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board is not accepting additional licenses. However, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission is still accepting applications, and has in fact streamlined its application process significantly.

Who is OLCC? WHo is ODA? What’s the difference?

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is the regulatory body governing liquor and recreational marijuana in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Agriculture is the regulatory authority for food and agriculture in Oregon. Both regulators are involved in recreational marijuana in Oregon.

How do I start a business selling cannabis?

Starting a business requires a number of critical steps, such as registration with the appropriate secretary of state, filing with the IRS, insurance concerns, sources of funding, etc. However, cannabis businesses also require obtaining proper licensing or registration from applicable regulators, such as the WLCB or the OLCC.

How much is a dispensary license in WA & OR?

The WLCB is not accepting marijuana retail applications at this time. The OLCC charges $4,750 annually for recreational marijuana retail applications and renewals. However, the full cost of any marijuana business is much higher, and depends on a number of factors, including rental amounts, utilities, local business licenses and fees, land use applications, building permits, and fees to professional service providers.

What are the business license requirements for a cannabis business?

License requirements vary depending on each license. State regulatory bodies, such as the OLCC, impose restrictions on security requirements, licensing, etc. Local land use officials may impose additional requirements, such as maintaining a certain distance from residentially zoned properties. Building departments and fire marshals have their own requirements as well, including capacity and storage of dangerous materials (for marijuana processors). It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney to understand which requirements apply to your license and location.

Who can sell recreational cannabis in WA & OR?

Only marijuana retailers, licensed by the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board or the Oregon Liquor Control Commission may sell recreational marijuana in their respective states.

I rent my place. Can I still grow?

A leased space may be sufficient for a recreational marijuana producer license, assuming that the location and its features satisfy state law.

Is selling homegrown weed legal in Oregon/Washington?

No.

Is it legal to sell cannabis online?

Advertising online is legal under state law, subject to a series of restrictions. For example, advertising in a way that is directed to minors is illegal. Oregon allows licensed recreational marijuana retailers with a home delivery endorsement to deliver marijuana to authorized purchasers. However, all sales of recreational marijuana must be completed within the state in order to comply with state law.

Do I need a license to sell CBD?

If CBD is derived from recreational marijuana, a license is required for its production, processing, wholesaling, and sale. If CBD is derived from hemp, a registration with the Oregon (or Washington) Department of Agriculture is required for producers and handlers. CBD sales on their own do not require a license as long as the product complies with state and federal law.

Can I sell cannabis on Amazon, eBay, or other marketplaces?

While certain hemp-derived CBD sales may occur on online marketplaces, recreational marijuana may not be sold through such marketplaces.

Do I need a license to produce recreational marijuana? What if I want to grow medical or recreational marijuana for my own home use?

Recreational marijuana, whether produced commercially or for home use, is illegal under federal law. Nonetheless, both Oregon and Washington have a licensing process for commercially produced recreational marijuana, and both states provide for growing certain types of marijuana for home use, subject to significant restrictions. For example, medical marijuana for home use may be available in Washington, but recreational marijuana is not. To qualify for growing medical marijuana in Washington, a grower must meet the requirements specified in Washington's medical marijuana laws. Conversely, in Oregon, you may grow up to four household recreational marijuana plants, but they may not be sold commercially. In both cases, additional fact-specific restrictions apply, so it is recommended to speak with an attorney before you begin planting.

What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana from a legal perspective?

State and federal law distinguish hemp and recreational marijuana a little differently, but generally, hemp contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. Anything beyond that amount is considered marijuana, is illegal under federal law, and requires specific licensing under state law.

What are all the different kinds of marijuana/hemp related license in WA/OR? How do I know which license I need to either start a hemp farm or sell cannabis products?

Recreational marijuana licenses exist for producers, wholesalers, processors, retailers, laboratories, and researchers. Additional endorsements, such as endorsements to deliver recreational marijuana in Oregon, may apply to each. Different hemp registrations exist for production and processing. Moreover, further licensing may be required for food items. Knowing which license type is necessary requires knowing which industry you’re in, as well as a careful analysis of applicable law. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney to understand which license is needed.

Can I sell CBD interstate?

Because of the recent changes in the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD derived from hemp is no longer listed under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. However, CBD derived from recreational marijuana, even if it is legal in the state of Washington or Oregon, is not legal under federal law because it is still considered “marijuana” rather than “hemp.” Interstate commerce of recreational marijuana-derived CBD is illegal. Talk to an attorney if you are concerned about the legality of the product you’re transferring in or out of the state.

I have worked with multiple members of the Navigate Team and have referred multiple people to them. They have done an amazing job and I can’t thank them enough. From family law, employement law, defense law and any general laws questions they are the best. Amber Rush, Eli Marchbanks and Colin McHugh envisioned a better way to provide law advice and have done it. Thank you all.
– Bryce Davidson

Our Cannabis Law Attorney

 

Trevor J. Cartales

Trevor J. Cartales

Attorney/Co-Owner

​Business Law | Alcohol Law | Cannabis Law | Consumer Protection | Civil Litigation | Land Use Law | Entertainment Law

I have used Navigate Law Group on several occasions and referred many people to them. They are very smart, diligent, hard working and ………….THEY CARE! They listen to you and they care about your case and the cost. Navigate found a way to reduce overhead and increase efficiency without sacrificing quality all with a goal treating you like family. If you want attorneys with a heart this is who you call.
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Cannabis Law Blog

 

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