Lane Powell PC

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill signaled a bright future for the U.S. hemp industry, authorizing individual states and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to formulate regulatory plans permitting commercial hemp production. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, recently testified that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) is working to finalize regulations in time for the 2020 growing season, with plans to consider proposed state regulations shortly thereafter. The USDA’s timeline creates a big, unanswered…
On March 7, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) introduced into the 116th Congress H.R. 1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019. The Act will, in spite of the federal Controlled Substances Act’s scheduling of marijuana, prohibit the federal banking regulators from taking actions against banks that are providing services to cannabis businesses that are operating legally under state or Indian tribal law or to businesses that provide goods or services to…
This week the Washington state House and Senate passed versions of a new hemp bill drafted in response to federal changes in hemp law. Our Cannabis Team is happy to have participated in drafting language that was incorporated directly into the bill related to requirements for seed sourcing, elimination of a four-mile buffer zone between cannabis and hemp production sites, and CBD. The vote to approve the revised bill was nearly unanimous (95 yeas, zero…
As any farmer knows, planting season waits for no one. Washington state lawmakers are showing they understand this as well. While other states have moved more aggressively to encourage commercial hemp, Washington’s total hemp crop in 2018 was less than 150 acres, all grown by the Confederated Colville tribes northwest of Spokane. Lawmakers in Olympia are determined that 2019 will be better — Hector Castro, Director of Communications for the Washington State Department of Agriculture…
While the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s regulatory oversight, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to oversee foods, drugs or cosmetics that contain hemp or hemp products, the most popular of which is currently CBD. Meanwhile, states, farmers and other interested parties are clamoring for guidance on hemp commercialization, driven by the steadily increasing demand for CBD products among consumers who believe the hemp derivative is an effective treatment…
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which was given federal regulatory authority over hemp by the 2018 Farm Bill, announced last week that it won’t be finalizing its hemp rules in time for the 2019 growing season, and instead is targeting the 2020 season. But many states are driving hard to develop their own regulatory plans in time for their farmers to plant this year. Those states’ efforts were given a boost by the American…
You already know that ERISA sets forth a 180-day time limit for internal administrative appeals of benefit denials. And failure to pursue a timely internal administrative appeal can subject the claimant (in a later federal lawsuit) to the defense of failure to exhaust administrative remedies. But can a claimant save an untimely administrative appeal by arguing the “substantial compliance doctrine”?  No. Here’s the case of Fortier v. Hartford Life and Acc. Ins. Co., __…
In a unanimous decision this month, the Supreme Court limited the scope of civil asset forfeiture, the controversial legal process whereby law enforcement officers can seize property they suspect was involved in illegal activities. In this post, we will discuss how the recent decision in Timbs v. Indiana affects a long-time cannabis industry boogeyman. Civil asset forfeiture is something of a legal oddity – the government brings a civil action against the property itself, leading…
Concerning news out of Idaho, where the U.S. District Court in Idaho delivered some bad news to the owners of the contents of a tractor trailer recently seized by the Idaho State  Police. The trailer contained nearly 7,000 pounds of Cannabis sativa en route from Oregon to Colorado. Seizures of outbound Oregon marijuana are an unfortunate status quo these days — overproduction and cratered prices in Oregon have led to regulatory lamentation over black-market sales…
From time to time you may see ERISA benefit claimants seeking declarations from the Court regarding “future benefits.” But there is that old rule, recently recognized again, that such claims should be dismissed because there is no “live case or controversy.”   To highlight this point, here’s the recent case of  Peer v. Liberty Life Assurance Co.., __ Fed. Appx. __ (11th Cir. February 8, 2019)(“Absent an adverse benefits determination, there is no ripe…