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Anti-Marijuana Group Tries to Save Face by Spinning Marijuana Poll Results


Smart Approaches to Marijuana

A new poll commissioned by the anti-marijuana group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) accidentally revealed how unpopular current marijuana prohibition is in the United States.

The poll asked 1,000 randomly-selected registered voters from across the United States their opinion about the federal government’s current marijuana policy. When the poll’s results revealed that the majority of respondents (83%) were pro-marijuana, SAM took action by spinning the story.

SAM, in an attempt to save face, spun the story by publishing an article titled: “Half of Americans support alternatives to full marijuana legalization: poll.”

In reality, the poll reveals that a vast majority of Americans (83%) support marijuana by disapproving of current federal marijuana prohibition.

Poll results:
– 49% support federal recreational marijuana legalization
– 29% support federal medical marijuana legalization
– 5% support federal marijuana decriminalization
– 16% want to keep current federal marijuana prohibition
– 1% of respondents said they were “unsure”

This poll, and many other polls, are proof that Americans have become pro-marijuana and support federal recreational and/or medical marijuana legalization while disapproving of current federal marijuana prohibition.


Photo: learnaboutsam .org / Featured photo: marijuana .com

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Cool Vape Tricks – From Beginner to More Advanced Tricks


Vape Tricks for Beginners and Professionals

Vape tricks for beginners and more advanced vapers

It’s about time we had some good old fashion fun around here, and what better way than amusing your friends with some pretty cool vape tricks? Sit back as you are about to learn some pretty basic and easy smoke tricks that not only are reasonably easy to learn but also look pretty cool too, which is the important thing!

Yes, we hear you, the smoke rings are the most obvious place to start, as every smoker and vaper can pretty much do this. The fact is though this isn’t true! We do have to learn it though as imagine this, you start showing your friends some pretty cool vape tricks you’ve learnt from this page and then one of your friends says, “Oh I love how they do those smoke rings”, it’s pretty important you can do it right, or your credibility as the world’s greatest vape trickster is on the line! It is quite difficult to master though, so instead of just starting with the most famous vape trick, we’re going to start with easy tricks that anyone can learn, and move on from there. Blowing smoke rings or o’s will be in the more advanced category, where we move onto some pretty amazing vape tricks.

Hopefully, by the time you’ve finished this tutorial, you will have a few cool tricks up your sleeve to impress others, or simply to entertain yourself, so let’s get on with it:


Easy Vape Tricks For Beginners!


The Dragon aka The Dragons Breath Trick

The Dragon Breath Vape Trick

This is one of the simplest tricks that looks pretty cool! The trick is where you blow the vapour simultaneously out of your nose and the sides of your mouth making it look like it’s coming from 4 directions and has a look of a dragon’s breath.

How It’s Done:

You do need a vape pen or mod that creates a lot of vapour, we have a list of the top 5 sub ohm vape tanks, any of these will work really well with this trick.

The important skill you need to perform this trick is to be able to close your mouth whilst opening the sides of your mouth; this is simply done by closing your mouth and trying to smile, hold it there and get ready to blow. That’s the hardest part!

The last part is to simply use the method above and also breath out your nose at the same time, this takes a little practice, the best way is not to blow out to fast, just do it slowly. Voila, you have the breath of the dragon!


The Ghost Hit aka The Ghost Inhale Trick

Ghost Inhale Vape Trick

This is a really popular trick within the vaping community, although when I was a smoker, I never heard of it!

Ghost inhaling, is when you exhale a little vapour, suck it up really quickly leaving a ghost-like vape in its wake. It looks pretty cool trust me and is relatively easy and quick to learn. You do need a good amount of vapor in your mouth to perform this trick, so it’s advised that you have one of the best e cigs you can get hold off.

How It’s Done:

Inhale some vapour straight into your mouth without letting it go to your lungs, hold it there for a few seconds to allow it to settle. Try to push out a small amount of vapour without actually blowing all the vape out. Then open your mouth wider and suck it all up! Here’s a video to see how it’s done:


The Waterfall

This is a real simple vape trick that anyone can perform, it’s not really a trick as to more of a demonstration of how thick vape clouds are. The effect is simply showing the vapour coming out of a bottle or glass and falling onto a table giving the effect of a waterfall.

How It’s Done:

Really simply take a big breath of vapour and slowly exhale all that vapour into a glass or bottle. Let the vapour settle for a second and slowly pour it onto the table. That’s all there is to it, you’ve produced a pretty cool magical waterfall!


The Tornado aka The Table Tornado Trick

The Tornado Vape Trick

This is where you exhale a huge amount of vapour onto a table, once the vapour is settled with your hand you create a mini tornado right in front of you. It looks pretty cool once you get it right and is really easy to do!

How It’s Done:

Again you’re going to need a vape that produces a lot of vapour, so check out the list we linked to earlier for some ideas.

The hardest part of this trick is getting the vapour in the middle of the table without it blowing away. Obviously, you can’t really do this trick outside or where there is a breeze and it does take a little practice blowing the right amount of vapour.

Put your head down to the same height of the table and slowly exhale the vape onto the table, alter how hard you exhale until you have a nice stable amount of vapour lingering on the table. Then with your hand, slowly come in from the side as if your going into shake someone’s hand when you’re in the middle of the vape pool lift your hand up as if your high fiving someone from the bottom. That’s it, you have your own little tornado!


French Inhale aka Irish Waterfall Trick

The French Inhale Vape Trmaidth=

This is one trick thast does take a little practise, but once mastered looks really cool. It’s a common trick that many master pretty quickly.

It involves exhaling slowly from your mouth while breathing in from your nose producing, a weird looking vapour running from your mouth up into your nose!

How It’s Done:

As I said this is a relatively easy vape trick to perform once you know the secret! Of course, it’s impossible to blow out your mouth while breathing into your nose so your actually just pushing the vapour our slowly with your mouth. Do this by holding the vapour in your mouth (not your lungs) and slowly close your mouth, then breathing in relatively hard through your nose. The important thing to remember is to have enough breath left after initially breathing the vapour into your mouth.

Note: There is a slight alternative to this known as the Bane. This is exactly the same technique but you smile, showing your teeth whist performing the French inhale. This produced stands of vapour instead of one solid flow. Try it, it’s pretty cool!


Note: There is a slight alternative to this known as the Bane. This is exactly the same technique but you smile, showing your teeth whilst performing the French inhale. This produced stands of vapour instead of one solid flow. Try it, it’s pretty cool!



More Advanced Vape Tricks – For Serious Vapers!

That’s the quick and easy vape tricks out the way, so now let’s get on with the more impressive tricks that take a lot of practice, but when done right is just purely amazing. This is a completely different field from above as it does take a lot of time to master. It’s probably best that you get hold of one of the best box mods or best vape pens for these tricks, as you are going to need a lot more vapor to make the trick look even better.

Most of the more advanced vape tricks are variations or use the blowing o’s or smoke rings along with another trick. We’re going to start with the smoke rings and show you the more advanced smoke tricks you can perform with this.


Blowing O’s aka Smoke or Vape Rings

Blowing O’s or Vape Rings

More than likely you know exactly what this is, you’ve seen your friends do it and it does look pretty cool. It involves vaping a relatively large amount of vapour and blowing O’s or rings, out of your mouth.

How it’s done:

The hardest part of this vape trick is to find a technique that works for you. We’re going to cover the easiest way possible here, hopefully, you can utilize this to achieve your own technique to create the biggest ring possible.

First vape as you would usually if you’re doing a normal vape to the lung. Then you want to exhale a small amount of vape to get rid of the exhale vape from around your mouth.

The second part of this trick is getting your mouth into the right shape, this takes practice and does require you to make some adjustments. Bear in mind everyone’s mouth is different, and therefore the shape of your mouth to perform the perfect O will be different to others too. Generally, it needs to start off as if your yawning but trying to hide your teeth with your lips.

Third is the blowing out of the ring or O, again there are a couple of ways of doing this, like using your tongue and tapping on your cheek, but try to master the cough technique as this will help you with later tricks we look at. This is done by performing a tiny controlled cough like motion with your throat, creating a pulse just large enough to push the vapour through your O lips.

That’s it really, the rest is just practise practise, and of course, practise!


Push & Bend O’s

Pushing vape rings

This is really another step to blowing O’s but does look pretty cool. It involves blowing an O and moving it with your hand which increases in size and moves exactly where you want it to go!

How It’s Done:

You do need to master blowing an O and in this case, it has to be a pretty fast moving O. Have your hand by your face whilst doing this, to avoid any unnecessary breezy when moving into position. Once you’ve blown out your O, follow it with you flat shaped hand, about 2 inches behind, making sure not to break the O. It is this that takes the time after you have perfected your O of course.


Double & Triple O’s

Double and Triple Os Vape trick

You can see we are moving on pretty quickly here, but once you’ve mastered the blowing of the O, the next obvious trick is how to perform the double or even triple O ring.

This is where you have O rings coming from both sides of your mouth and even in the centre.

How it’s Done:

You do have to master blowing O’s or rings before you start this trick and you also need some pretty thick clouds so try to pick a juice that’s relatively higher in VG content, i.e. 70% or more.

The first thing is to place 2 fingers in the centre of your mouth and opening your mouth in the same way as you did when blowing regular O’s.

Secondly, you need to perform a similar technique you mastered earlier when blowing out the O’s, using the cough action, but a lot more scaled down and more rapid. This should be producing double O’s now.

Thirdly, slightly open your fingers on your lips to produce a third hole in the centre of your mouth and adjust your airflow to suit. This should now be producing triple O’s.

It does mean playing around with your cough, to perfect and takes even more time to perfect than blowing O’s.


JellyFish Vape Trick

The JellyFish Vape Trick

Ok, now you’re ready for what we think is the coolest vape trick, the JellyFish. This is where you blow a large O ring and follow through the centre with just the right amount of vapour to produce a perfectly looking JellyFish floating around your room!

How It’s Done

So you thought mastering the O was difficult, well be prepared to practise just the same amount of time again to perfect your JellyFish!

This trick involves three of the tricks you have already learnt previously, ie:

  1. Blowing O’s
  2. Pushing O’s
  3. Ghost hit

The first thing you want to do is blow a nice big O and start following it at the same pace the O is moving.

With your hand slowly push the O until it’s reached the required size, whilst doing this take another drag from your vape mod.

Slowly get behind the O with your mouth and perform the Ghost hit without actually drawing it back into your mouth. This is the bit that takes the practise as you can distort the O with any movement from your arms or face.


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How to Read a Cannabis Patent


Previous posts have discussed cannabis patents, here, and here, and here. Today I explain the basics of how to read a patent. Why would you want to do such a thing? If you are in the cannabis business, you may own a patent, or be threatened of infringing one. The tips below will give you a good start on understanding what a patent means.

Today I focus on utility patents, which are about 90% of all patents. (The other major category is design patents.) Utility patents can cover such things as cannabis plants, or methods of making cannabis plants. Utility patents have four basic parts: introductory material, drawings, the specification, and the claims. To read and understand a patent, you should be be familiar with each of them.patent marijuana cannabisUnsurprisingly, the introductory material is at the beginning of the patent (shown above). It starts out with the patent number, the date the patent was issued, the inventor(s), and the assignee — if there is one. It also provides the filing date of the patent, which is usually several years before the issue date. The next important part is the “references cited,” a list of prior art that the patent examiner looked at. There is also a short “abstract,” a sort of summary of the invention, often followed one or two pictures of the invention. While the abstract and the opening pictures can give a good idea of what is to come, they do not define the invention. More on that later.

Next are a series of stylized line drawings or charts. While making patent figures is an art, the figures are not intended to be artistic. Rather, they are there to help the reader understand what the invention is, and perhaps how it is used. Like the abstract, the figures do not define the invention. In fact, some of the figures may not refer to the invention at all.

Following the figures is one or more pages of text in 8 point type, set out in two columns separated by a narrow column of numbers. This is generally referred to as the “specification,” or “spec” (although technically the specification also includes the figures and the claims). The specification usually gives the background of the invention, a summary of the invention, often a brief description of the drawings, and then a “detailed description of the invention.” This sets out the nitty gritty technical details of the patent, usually making reference to the various drawings by number. Although the specification gives this detailed description, once again, it does not define the invention.

Finally, tucked away at the very back of the patent, shyly hiding behind the specification, are one or more patent claims. The claims are numbered, and always start with “What is claimed” or “I claim” or “we claim” or similar language. What, you may ask, do these puny claims do? Well, they define what has been invented, that is, what is covered by the patent. They are the equivalent of the deed to your house, which describes, in somewhat technical terms, exactly where your property begins and ends.

So how do you make sense of all of this? I suggest that you start with the introductory material. Then turn to the claims. Keep in mind that in order to infringe a patent claim, whatever is accused of infringing must have every single thing listed in the claims.  If the claim is for a hybrid cannabis plant, which produces a female flower comprising CBD content of >3% and a terpene profile of alpha phellandrene, a plant that has only 2% CBD won’t infringe.

Next, look at the drawings and the specification. I usually print out an extra copy of the drawings and have them open when I read them. Once you have done that, you can go back to the claims with a better understanding. Often, claims only contain part of what is in the specification. But the claims are the key to knowing what the patent is about.

Most importantly, have fun! You could be reading the tax code.


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California’s Plan for Changes in Federal CBD Law


marijuana CBD california
When it comes to CBD, California is thinking ahead.

Earlier this month, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 710, which will amend certain sections of the Business and Professions Code and the Health and Safety Code to account for any future changes in federal law regarding cannabidiol (CBD). The purpose of this bill is to ensure that patients are able to obtain access to CBD as a medical treatment as soon as federal law makes it available.

Under existing California state law, and pursuant to the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, controlled substances are placed into one of five designated schedules, with the most restrictive limitations placed on controlled substances in Schedule I, and the least restrictive limitations placed on controlled substances in Schedule V. Cannabis, despite the passage of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), is still on Schedule I in California. Because CBD is a compound contained in cannabis, it is likewise designated as Schedule I.

Because of this designation, the prescription, furnishing, possession, sale, and use of CBD is restricted by existing law. AB 710 would, if one of certain specified changes in federal law regarding CBD occurs, deem a physician, pharmacist, or other authorized healing arts licensee who prescribes, furnishes, or dispenses a product composed of CBD in accordance with federal law, to be in compliance with state law governing those acts. And upon the effective date of a change in federal law regarding CBD, the prescription, furnishing, dispensing, transfer, transportation, possession, or use of CBD products in accordance with federal law would be for a legitimate medical purpose, and therefore authorized pursuant to state law.

Currently, the cultivation, processing, and sale of medicinal and adult-use cannabis in California, including CBD, is regulated by the MAUCRSA. AB 710 would expressly exclude from regulation under the MAUCRSA any medicinal product composed of CBD that has been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and either placed on a schedule of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) other than Schedule I, or exempted from one or more provisions of the MAUCRSA.

AB 710 is short and sweet:

SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares that both children and adults with epilepsy are in desperate need of new treatment options and that cannabidiol has shown potential as an effective treatments option. If federal laws prohibiting the prescription of medications composed of cannabidiol are repealed or if an exception from the general prohibition is enacted permitting the prescription of drugs composed of cannabidiol, patients should have rapid access to this treatment option. The availability of this new prescription medication is intended to augment, not to restrict or otherwise amend, other cannabinoid treatment modalities currently available under state law.”

The legislation will add the following Section 26002 to the Business and Professions Code:

“This division shall not apply to any product containing cannabidiol that has been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration that has either been placed on a schedule of the federal Controlled Substances Act other than Schedule I or has been exempted from one or more provisions of that act, and that is intended for prescribed use for the treatment of a medical condition.”

And the following Section 11150.2 will be added to the Health and Safety Code:

“(a) Notwithstanding any other law, if cannabidiol is excluded from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act and placed on a schedule of the act other than Schedule I, or if a product composed of cannabidiol is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration and either placed on a schedule of the act other than Schedule I, or exempted from one or more provisions of the act, so as to permit a physician, pharmacist, or other authorized healing arts licensee acting within his or her scope of practice, to prescribe, furnish, or dispense that product, the physician, pharmacist, or other authorized healing arts licensee who prescribes, furnishes, or dispenses that product in accordance with federal law shall be deemed to be in compliance with state law governing those acts.

(b) For purposes of this chapter, upon the effective date of one of the changes in federal law described in subdivision (a), notwithstanding any other state law, a product composed of cannabidiol may be prescribed, furnished, dispensed, transferred, transported, possessed, or used in accordance with federal law and is authorized pursuant to state law.”

This legislation obviously won’t mean much unless and until federal law regarding CBD changes. But AB 710 signals that the California legislature is taking this issue seriously, and is prepared to pivot on a moment’s notice to ensure that patients have unfettered access to CBD once those federal laws do finally change.

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Los Angeles Priority Dispensary Applicants: No Changes Allowed


california marijuana cannabis L.A.
Prop M priority applicants need to sit tight — for now.

We’ve received a lot of questions from existing City of L.A. dispensaries regarding whether or not they can make any corporate entity, location, or “ownership” changes before submitting their Prop M Priority Applications to the Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) pursuant to the Prop M ordinances. With MAUCRSA allowing for for-profit operations, many Prop. D dispensaries now desire to  leave behind the old “cooperative/collective” model and many want to leave their current locations for better digs. However, the DCR has made clear (at least to us based on our communications with them) that it likely will not honor or recognize those Prop. D dispensaries wanting to amend their business tax registration certificates (“BTRCs”) to reflect new corporate entities, “owners”, managers, or locations. Here is the rundown on key issues:

  1. Converting to a For-Profit: MAUCRSA provides that commercial cannabis businesses can organize as for-profit companies. The issue Prop. D dispensaries are facing is that their past BTRCs (certain ones of which are necessary for priority processing under Measure M) will not match their new for-profit entities where most Prop. D dispensaries are already some form of non-profit. The DCR has relayed that it will most likely not accept your application if the new entity does not match entity listed on the relevant BTRC, and that it’s best wait until after City licensure to convert to a for-profit company.
  2. Moving Locations: At this point, pretty much all cannabis businesses, especially retailers and deliveries, are hoping to capitalize on California’s robust tourist market and are seeking to open shops in high-traffic, popular areas. However, for Prop. D dispensaries, they’re likely going to have to wait on that real estate grab because of the BTRC issue–if you relocate before filing your Measure M application, and your new location fails to match the location listed on your old BTRCs, the DCR isn’t likely to recognize your City license application as valid. So, waiting to re-locate is probably wisest according to our communications with the DCR.
  3. Ownership Changes: Lots of existing Prop. D dispensaries have had massive “ownership” and management disputes over their storefronts. Even more are looking to take on new owners or “sell” all of the business to new buyers looking to cash in on L.A. cannabis. However, just like changing entities and re-location, any changes to ownership that don’t match up with past BTRCs or manager disclosures probably won’t be recognized by the DCR.

Fear not, though: all of the above changes will be doable eventually, just probably not before the March 4th filing deadline for existing dispensaries.

We should note that the City has not made clear whether businesses will be able to make the foregoing changes while waiting for their actual City license (post receipt of Temporary Approval), after they are granted the City license, or upon renewal of that license. In turn, where City and state commercial cannabis licenses are not transferable, if existing L.A. dispensaries want to apply for their state temporary and/or annual licenses as for-profits with new owners, at new locations, they’re going to have to wait on the City of L.A. to acknowledge those moves, or they’ll face jumping through the same administrative hoops with the state.

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Augvape V200 Mod Review


7.4 Final Score

If your a petrol head then your more than likely going to love this design, for the rest of us the V200 from Augvape is a simple to use with basic features mod that surprisingly performs really well. Runs on 2 x18650 batteries and can achieve power up to 200W. No temperature control or other clever features, but a well built reliable mod.

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The Augvape V200 mod

In-depth Augvape V200 Mod Review

This is probably a brand you haven’t heard of, but don’t dismiss them yet, they have just released a new, easy to use 200W dual battery mod that’s based on the design of a car engine, the Honda VTec, so let’s get on with the review to see if this competes as one of the best vape mods on the market, or just another brand trying to make it in the competitive niche.

Colors of the Augvape v200


The aesthetics are based on the Honda VTec car engine and for those enthusiasts out there I’m sure they are going to love it. For us, though it seemed like a love or hate relationship, the red looks striking from a distance whilst the black is a little more subtle.

The firing button and only button is well hidden in the middle of the mod above the screen, it’s easy to use and find and does the job just fine. For those who are used to using your fingers those, be prepared, the only way of firing this mod comfortably is by using your thumb!

The screen is nice and detailed giving you information like current wattage, the resistance of your tank coil, voltage and firing time, it also features 2 battery indicators for both 18650 batteries installed.

Features of the Augvape v200 box mod


The V200 has 3 simple modes; normal which is your regular wattage mode, BP or bypass mode which makes them mod work as unregulated and volt mode, which to be honest is so similar to wattage mode it need not exist, but according to the manufacturer this mode gives you quicker ramp-up time, a lot shorter than other 200W mods, but if this is true we really didn’t notice a significant difference.

To change the mode you click the firing button 3 times and the mode on the screen is highlighted, using the wheel (or engine oil cap) on the mod you can flick between the 3 modes. This wheel is also used to adjust the wattage when you’re out of the menu screen.

A couple more features include the ability to lock the wattage by clicking the firing button and adjusting the fire button up, and clicking the fire button and the wheel down reduced the brightness of the screen.

That is literally it, no more features, it’s that simple! No temperature control, no preset modes, just a simple wattage mod. But does this mean it falls short of the best e cig in its category, well let’s find out!

Side profile of the Augvape v200 mod

The box of the Augvape v200 mod


We weren’t really expecting much from this mod, but it does perform really well. The wattage is achieved really quickly and the accuracy of the resistance indicator is very good indeed. Along with the simplicity of this mod make it really quite pleasurable to use.

A simple to use and yet reliable mod, a pretty much back to basics mod with a cool engine like design.


The Negatives

There really isn’t too much to say about the negatives, for some these negatives are actually positives for others. But here goes:

  1. There is only wattage and bypass mode (plus voltage mode, which is pretty much the same as wattage mode). For those temperature control lovers, this mod is one to miss.
  2. If you hate the engine heads out there then this design really isn’t for you. Based on a car engine this mod is for car enthusiasts only!

Saying all that though considering the negatives the price is reasonably competitive, top tip for you though, check out our vape deals page as this and other mods like it are often on sale!

To Conclude

If you’re an engine buff, then you’re probably going to love the Augvape V200, not only does it look cool but the simplicity and easy to work controls make this a great mod to use. Everything appears to be solid making feel and look a quality mod.

The accuracy of wattage mode is as good as any other mod on the market, so if you’re after a slightly different looking mod, and don’t care for all the gimmicks other mods provide, then this is a great mod to buy.

We took a look around to find the best deals on the AugVape V200 and here’s what we found:

Augvape V200 Mod Deals


*$62.99 – Coupon “dna10” – Augvape V200 Mod – Get This Deal!

$68.90 – Augvape V200 Mod – Get This Deal!

$69.90 – Augvape V200 Mod – Get This Deal!

$69.99 – Augvape V200 Mod – Get This Deal!


* Recommended based on shipping time and price!

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Employee Handbooks for Cannabis Businesses


employment cannabis marijuana
One of the most important books your cannabis company can have is an employee handbook.

The cannabis industry continues to grow. Each year we see additional states legalize recreational marijuana. Along with more legalized weed, comes more cannabis employees. And more employees means more employment litigation.

We recently hosted a litigation webinar where I spoke about employment litigation and ways to protect your marijuana business. One of the tools I mentioned was documentation. When it comes to that, one of the most important documents your cannabis business can have is an employee handbook. This is true whether you have one employee or 100.

An employee handbook plays many roles. This post will discuss some of the more important reasons to have a comprehensive employee handbook.

Communication and Orientation

An employee handbook serves as an important communication tool between employees and employers. A well drafted employee handbook will contain a mission statement, along with the values, goals, and expectations of the company and its employees. This communicates a sense of belonging to employees and provides them with an understanding of the goal they are working towards achieving.

The handbook will also communicate the benefits to which employees are entitled as cannabis business workers (free pot is not one of them). A good handbook will explain to employees can question about company benefits. This will save you time as an employer because you won’t have to answer the same questions over and over.

Guidelines and Expectations

One important aspect of an employee handbook is that it creates a uniform set of rules for employees. Employees need to know what is expected of them and when. Employee handbooks should cover everything from attendance requirements to dress requirements and drug use policies. Handbooks should also lay out discipline that can be expected if these policies are violated.

Employee handbooks should provide guidance to employees when problems arise. The employee will know who to talk to and, if properly drafted, supervisors will know how to handle situations.

Legal Protection for Employers

The most important aspect—at least from a lawyer’s point of view—is the legal protections a well drafted employee handbook can provide. In most states, employer employee relationships are “at will”, meaning the relationship can be terminated at any point by either party, as long as there is no discrimination at play. An employee handbook makes it clear that the relationship is “at will” and that other agreements cannot change that relationship.

Employee handbooks also provide the basis for defense in a harassment claim. As previously discussed,  a valid defense to harassment claims if proof of an anti-harassment policy and a complaint procedure. Employee handbooks should outline both a policy and a complaint procedure.

Handbooks also provide protection in wrongful termination cases. Wrongful termination is a broad term used to describe cases brought by former employees against employers alleging the employee was terminated for some illegal reason—for example, discrimination. An employee handbook laying out attendance requirements can be used to show that an employee was terminated for violating a clear policy rather than for other, illegal, reasons. If an employer does not have a clear policy, it will be hard to prove the employee violated any such policy.

Employee handbooks can also serve as means to inform employees of required information. Both state and federal laws require employees be informed of their rights under certain acts such as Family Medical Leave Act. Every employee handbook should have an acknowledgement page to be signed by the employee, proving they were provided with the information.

Employee handbooks are not “one size fits all.” Each cannabis business is unique and has a different mission and goal. Further, employment laws are state specific and at times, location specific. There are many drawbacks to pulling a generic employee handbook from the web. A specialist familiar with the state and local laws should draft or review handbook, or the handbook could become a liability rather than an asset.

Handbooks should also be reviewed and revised at least once every two years. Many states, including California and Oregon, have seen an uptick in state employment regulations offering more protections to employees as of late. Laws change quickly and it could mean your employee handbook is out of date and non-compliant if it is not updated frequently.

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Cannabis Equity Programs: Updates from Oakland and San Francisco


As most everyone now knows California’s statewide licensing and regulatory regime for medical and adult-use cannabis businesses took effect on January 1st of this year. However what readers of our Canna Law Blog know is that every jurisdiction is free to decide whether to regulate or prohibit cannabis businesses within their border. It’s the state’s deference to cities and counties that make our California Cannabis Countdown series so popular. Not only are local jurisdictions regulating what types of cannabis businesses they’ll allow, but also WHO is eligible for a cannabis license.

california cannabis marijuana
Oakland and San Francisco are trying to even the balance.

In many of California’s major metropolises local legislators have made it a priority to enact social equity programs. The goal behind many of these social equity programs is clear: the war on drugs disproportionally affected communities of color and as a just society we need to right that wrong. In the Bay Area both Oakland and San Francisco have enacted legislation that stresses the importance of social equity programs.

We previously covered Oakland’s regulatory regime here but as a quick refresher Oakland’s ordinance requires that half of all cannabis businesses permits are issued to equity applicants. Oakland defines an equity applicant as an individual that:

  • Is an Oakland resident; and
  • Has an annual income at or less than 80% of Oakland’s average median income;
  • and either
  • Was arrested after November 05, 1996 and has a cannabis conviction in Oakland, or;
  • Has lived for 10 of the last 20 years in a number of police beats

After equity applicants, Oakland’s licensing regime gives priority to general applicants that are equity incubators. In order to serve as an equity incubator a general applicant must provide the following:

  • Providing free rent for a minimum of three years;
  • Provide a minimum of 1,000 square feet to the equity applicant; and
  • Provide the equity applicant with all required security measures.

Oakland has also realized that just providing priority processing to equity applicants alone is not enough to combat a history of disproportionate targeting of communities of color for criminal law enforcement. Oakland will also be hosting cannabis summits, orientations, and bootcamps for equity applicants. They’ve also created an online portal for equity applicants to connect with incubation partners.

San Francisco, like Oakland, has also created an equity program but has also taken the extra step by placing restrictions on who can apply for a cannabis business license. In 2018, San Francisco’s Office of Cannabis (“Office”) will only issue cannabis licenses to applicants that meet one of following criteria:

  • Qualify as an equity applicant or equity incubator;
  • Previously possess a valid medical dispensary permit under Article 33 of the Health Code;
  • Were issued a temporary cannabis business permit by the Office of Cannabis (which required you to register with the Office and show proof of operation prior to September 26, 2017);
  • Demonstrate compliance with the Compassion Use Act of 1996 (a/k/a Prop 215) and were shut down by federal prosecution or threat of federal prosecution;
  • Applied and received approval for a medical cannabis dispensary from the Planning Commission; or
  • Registered with the Office as pre-existing non-conforming operator.

On top of restricting the individuals that can obtain a license in 2018, San Francisco is placing an emphasis on social equity by granting equity applicants and equity incubators with priority processing in the permitting process. San Francisco’s equity applicant definition and incubator requirements differ from Oakland’s. In San Francisco an equity applicant is defined as someone that meets at least three of the following six conditions:

  • Meet certain household income limits (income limit varies depending on the number of people in your household);
  • Have been arrested from 1971 to 2016 for a cannabis offense;
  • Had a parent, sibling, or child arrested from 1971 to 2016 for a cannabis offense;
  • Lost housing in San Francisco after 1995 through eviction, foreclosure, or subsidy cancellation;
  • Attended school in the San Francisco Unified School District for a total of five years from 1971 to 2016; or
  • For a total of 5 years from 1971 to 2016, have lived in San Francisco census tracts where at least 17% of the households had incomes at or below the federal poverty level.

On top of those requirements there are also certain ownership interests and corporate positions that an equity applicant must hold in the cannabis business. If you want to operate a cannabis business in San Francisco in 2018 and don’t meet any of the criteria previously mentioned (prior operator or equity applicant) you’ll have to act as an equity incubator, which requires ALL of the following for three years:

  • Have local residents perform 30% of all work hours;
  • Have half your employees meet three of the six conditions for equity applicants; and
  • Provide a community investment plan with businesses and residents within 500 feet of your location.

And at least one of the following conditions:

  • Submit a plan to the Office of Cannabis for providing guidance to equity applicants running a new cannabis business; or
  • Provide an equity applicant with rent-free commercial space and use of security services for three years. The rent-free space has to equal or exceed 800 square feet or be at least 10% of the incubator’s space.

Both Oakland and San Francisco will be issuing progress reports on the status of their respective social equity programs and it will be interesting to see how many cannabis permits end up being issued. These are noble and necessary programs and we hope that they succeed. We’ll be sure to keep you posted.

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Alcohol Sales Drop 15% in States with Medical Marijuana Laws


Two U.S. universities and one in South America have completed a joint study that found a reduction in the U.S. alcohol consumption in relation to the increase of medical marijuana laws in a majority of states. The findings were presented by Michele Baggio (University of Connecticut – Storrs), Alberto Chong (Georgia State University – Atlanta and Universidad del Pacifico – Lima) and Sungoh Kwon (University of Connecticut –Storrs) and add validity to what some believe proves to be true about the relationship between alcohol (wine specifically) and marijuana consumption.

The researchers used data from Nielsen Retail Scanner alcohol sales from 90 different alcohol chain stores including grocery, convenience, drug, and mass distribution retailers for a 9-year period, according to Forbes. Data was examined from figures collected between 2006-2015. This method was chosen because the researchers thought that asking consumers wouldn’t provide reliable information, since a lot people simply don’t divulge the whole truth about consumption habits.

In the time examined, counties in legal medical marijuana states displayed a near 15% drop in monthly alcohol sales.

The conclusion of the study indicates that marijuana and alcohol may be substitutes for each other. This means that they share an almost exact audience. If it’s true, then it suggests that introducing legal marijuana where alcohol consumption is legal may result in decreased alcohol sales.

Medical marijuana is available to only a small percentage of total marijuana users, but this study may be a sign of what the alcohol industry might expect in states that adopt recreational marijuana laws.

Another portion of the study looked to determine whether marijuana law reform promises a replacement of alcohol consumption completely. A definitive answer isn’t available. However, in a recent webinar regarding the state of the wine industry, host Rob McMillan, president of Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division, was joined by two guests involved in the wine industry and they stated that they see no evidence and don’t believe that marijuana will be a major substitute for wine. McMillan mentioned that beer is more likely than wine to see sales numbers drop. His reasoning: wine compliments a meal, marijuana doesn’t.

McMillan may have a point, but other factors needs to be considered too: after using marijuana, some people tend to consume more food or drink. That being said, it isn’t far-fetched to imagine that rather than decreasing alcohol sales, nationwide marijuana legalization might increase sales.

The wine and marijuana industries are at pivotal points of discovery.

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CBD Beauty and Skincare Products in California’s Shifting Regulatory Landscape


marijuana CBD cannabis
CBD and skin care: it’s complicated.

As I read this week’s Forbes article titled, “Cannabis Could Be The Most Profitable Ingredient In Skincare, If The U.S. Government Allows It,” it felt like déjà vu. Legislators, law enforcement, lawyers, and cannabis business owners have been going in circles for years now trying to figure out how, exactly, CBD products fit within the current state and federal regulatory structure. But despite the potential legal ramifications of violating the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), CBD companies, particularly those manufacturing beauty and skincare products, are cropping up everywhere and expanding rapidly.

We wrote a few months ago about Target, which pulled a line of CBD products from its website after a BuzzFeed article calling out the sales. And even Forbes, which stated that “A Sephora executive who asked to remain anonymous confirmed the beauty giant has plans to launch at least one CBD-based skincare brand this year,” was unable to reach anyone at Sephora for comment. These large companies have legal counsel who are undoubtedly cautioning them against venturing into the realm of cannabis and CBD; such high-profile sales of CBD products would be an easy target for federal enforcement.

Because we’ve been getting so many inquiries on this topic in California and elsewhere from companies that are unsure whether or not they need a manufacturing license to make these products and a retail license to sell them, and because this is obviously still a hot topic in the media, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (“DEA”) stance on the subject, as well as the scenarios under which CBD products are arguably legal under federal law.

Currently, the DEA’s stance is that CBD as well as other cannabinoids derived from cannabis are Schedule I substances under the CSA, regardless of their source. In 2016, the DEA clarified that “marihuana extract,” which is an extract “containing one or more cannabinoids derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis,” is marijuana, and therefore a Schedule I controlled substance. The DEA’s use of the word “any” means that this interpretation applies to any derivative of the cannabis plant, including CBD and any of the other cannabinoids found in cannabis. This definition is extremely broad, and according to the DEA, makes derivatives of the cannabis plant that were formerly thought to be legal, illegal.

As we’ve discussed before, there are three scenarios in which cannabis extracts are arguably legal under federal law. The first scenario is when extracts are derived from the “mature stalk” of the cannabis plant, because the CSA’s definition of marijuana “does not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.” 21 USC §802(16). The DEA has clarified that the rule does not apply to portions of the plant specifically exempt from the CSA’s definition of marijuana, but there is debate as to whether products that contain any meaningful amount of CBD can be derived from the mature stalks.

Another scenario is when extracts are derived from an industrial hemp plant lawfully grown in compliance with Section 7606 of the 2014 US Farm Bill (“The Farm Bill”). The Farm Bill allows states to enact pilot programs for hemp research purposes. Hemp that is cultivated in compliance with a state’s pilot program is legal pursuant to the Farm Bill, although the sale of any products derived from this research is not explicitly allowed.

The third scenario is when products are derived from imported hemp. In the early 2000’s, two cases out of the Ninth Circuit, Hemp Indus. Ass’n v. DEA, 357 F.3d 1012 (9th Cir. Cal. 2004) and Hemp Indus. Ass’n v. DEA, 333 F.3d 1082 (9th Cir. 2003) clarified that the DEA could not regulate hemp products merely because they contained trace amounts of THC. This was because some portions of the cannabis plant are explicitly outside the scope of the CSA, and the DEA was not permitted to expand the scope of the CSA to encompass all parts the cannabis plant. At the time of the ruling, it was illegal to grow hemp so it only applied to hemp imported from outside the USA. Some now argue that the holding could apply to hemp grown pursuant to the Farm Bill although, as stated above, commercial sales of these products is not explicitly allowed.

The Hemp Industries Association has sued the DEA over the “marijuana extract” rule, and that case is still pending. Until it’s decided, we’re left with a legal quagmire of rules interpretations that leave businesses selling CBD products in a precarious legal position. And of course, if you’re hoping to sell to cannabis dispensaries in any regulated state, including California, you’ll have to be licensed by that state, and you’ll only be able to sell to other licensees. Given the recent shift in federal enforcement priorities, we wouldn’t be surprised to see an uptick in enforcement action against companies selling CBD skincare and beauty products, particularly in interstate commerce and outside the ambit of state regulatory systems. But that’s a legal and business risk that many are clearly still willing to take.