Uproot Blog

Observations of the cannabis industry

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Yet another cannabis company lost its bid to be taxed in a reasonable and rational manner – that is, like any other state-legal, highly-regulated, licensed business instead of like an illegal drug dealer.  Tax Court Case  In Northern California Small Business Assistants, Inc., v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (October 23, 2019), the company argued, among other things, that the taxes under 280E are so excessive as to constitute a violation of the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on excessive…
Hot Hemp What is Hot Hemp?  To be legal, your hemp has to test at or below 0.3% THC.  So what if your hemp crop comes in over the limit?  Now you’ve got “hot hemp”. Which means you just grew a field of illegal marijuana.  Why did this happen?  What can you do about it? Why does your hemp have too much THC?  As you probably know, hemp is simply a variant of Cannabis that…
Social Consumption What do we talk about when we talk about social consumption?  It can mean many different things.  Often, people are imagining an Amsterdam-style cafe where patrons can order small amounts of cannabis, and consume the cannabis on the premises, perhaps with some coffee or food.  This is not a revolutionary idea – this is just a bar that serves weed instead of booze.  Despite the outward simplicity of the concept, social consumption has…
Advertising Weed in Massachusetts? Make Sure You Know The Rules: 1. Your logo cannot contain medical, marijuana, paraphernalia, or colloquial references. 2. At least 85% of your audience must be age 21+.  Fun Fact: California requires that the audience be 71.6% over 21, and all the other adult-use states only require 70%. 3. Advertising must contain numerous health and safety warnings as dictated by the regulations. 4. No claims of being safe, or of medical/therapeutic benefits. 5. No cartoons, mascots,…
What is Appellation?  An appellation is a certified designation identifying the geographical origin of a product and the culture underlying it’s production.  Appellation designations offer protection and promotion for regional and local businesses, by preventing misappropriation and misuse of regional names, and they promote consumer confidence in local products by establishing criteria and processes for certification.  Many countries have well-established appellation systems for products like wine (Champagne), cheese (Gruyere), and even meats, fruit and vegetables.…
 Mass Court Says Smell of Pot Is Not Probable Cause of Crime  A week ago, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued an opinion in Commonwealth v. Long addressing whether the smell of unburnt marijuana is probable cause for a search warrant.  Police had discovered an illicit grow in a warehouse in Amherst after executing a search warrant based, in part, on the smell of fresh cannabis wafting from the building.  The defendant ended up losing the…
Event Licenses permit the sale and consumption of cannabis at a public event like a concert, conference, or festival.  Instead of smuggling your stash into an event and sneaking off like a criminal to smoke, you can stand in line to buy an overpriced pre-roll or edible and openly consume it (behind a fence).  Events selling cannabis are a big step forward for legitimization, education, and increasing brand awareness.  These licenses should compliment brick-and-mortar social…
Regulatory violations can be a serious problem for licensed businesses.  Even a seemingly “technical” violation can result in major headache and substantial fines and penalties.  Regulated businesses must maintain constant vigilance to ensure compliance.  In January, 2019, CCC investigators made an unannounced visit to Cultivate’s dispensary in Leicester because of some irregularities in the seed-to-sale tracking system.  The Commission found three violations: (1) Investigators found retail products that were improperly labelled.  Those products did not…
Pesticides Prohibited in MA  During prohibition, many growers used who-knows-what to keep their plants free of bugs and mold.  Regulating the use of dangerous chemicals on cannabis in the interest of public health is clearly an important issue.        Massachusetts, through the authority of MDAR (Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources), has arguably gone to the extreme end of this issue as the state prohibits all pesticides on cannabis.  Yep, all pesticides are prohibited.  This includes…
CBD is Legal!  A year ago, hemp and CBD were schedule 1 drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.  The 2018 Farm Bill descheduled them.  Does that mean there are no restrictions or regulations on growing or selling hemp products?  Nope.  Now that it’s legal, various other agencies get involved and get to regulate it.  And if it’s something that you’re ingesting, a food, dietary supplement, or drug (like that CBD cookie you picked up at…