Lessons From Marijuana Legalization in California

By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal


(972) 369-0577

I recently started doing a podcast.  Since I love talking it’s really been a blast.

My guest yesterday was a lawyer in California named Josh Schneiderman.  Josh works for a 450 lawyer firm with offices around the Southwest named Snell & Wilmer.  He represents businesses and companies in California in the cannabis industry.  By all accounts it is a cutting edge practice.

You can watch the podcast here.

Here are some major takeaways from the discussion:

While cannabis is legal in California, it is still prohibited by the Federal Government

This creates major headaches in far reaching areas you might not anticipate.  For example, if you are trying to patent a particular cannabis product – the Federal Government won’t grant you a patent.  Or, if you need a loan from a federally backed lender – you can forget that too.  Or, if you need bankruptcy protection you can’t get that either.  And the list goes on and on.

Some Banks and Credit Unions Will Take Cannabis Money – But it’s a Challenge

If a bank is going to take cannabis money — usually cash — they have a complex scheme of checks and audits they are responsible for to make sure they aren’t taking black market deposits.  That includes in some cases detailed direct analysis of the grower or retailer of the marijuana which larger and more sophisticated banks are unwilling to do.

The Cannabis Industry is Still Largely Based on Cash

Credit card companies are intimidated and scared by some of the regulatory nightmares and possible liability – so many in the legal cannabis supply chain still operate on cash.  That forces others in the chain to do the same.

These observations were the “tip of the iceberg.”  We discussed much much more including the path Texas seems to be on towards potential legalization and the pitfalls along the way.  I hope you’re able to watch.  It was truly a fascinating discussion!

*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is designated as a Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters.


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