illegal

California Counties Expand Use of Satellite Images to Identify Illegal Grow Sites

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors may direct staff at tonight’s meeting to determine whether satellite technology can help the county identify illegal grow sites. County staff states that the technology will cut enforcement costs and increase tax revenues.

Mendocino County is closing the first phase of its cannabis cultivation licensing process on October 4, 2019. During this phase, the county is allocating permits to those persons or entities that offer proof that cannabis was cultivated on the proposed site prior to January 1, 2016.

The Mendocino Cannabis Association is against the county’s plan to use satellite technology. The MCA suggests that the county should instead extend the permitting deadline and upgrade its cannabis licensing technology. The association also believes that shutting down illegal grow sites will negatively impact the county as violators will sell or abandon their properties.

Mendocino County is among a number of California counties that are using satellite technology to enforce cannabis code compliance including El Dorado County, which recently issued an RFP for the services. Humboldt County was the first to use satellite imagery as a means of identifying the estimated 15,000 illegal grow sites that existed in the county at the time of legalization.

Humboldt currently uses the technology to monitor the county’s 4,000 square miles of rugged terrain for environmental issues and unpermitted cannabis cultivation. During the pilot year, county staff identified 600 illegal cultivation sites remotely and issued violation notices. Since then, the county has brought in $2 million dollars in fines.

California counties are embracing innovative solutions to combat large areas of coverage that are often include rugged terrain. It still remains to be seen how this technology will be deployed after hemp cultivation becomes more prevalent. Humboldt County may again offer a solution that distinguishes hemp from cannabis crops. Humbold should consider addressing this issue when it finalizes its hemp cultivation rules in the near future.

California Announces Educational Campaign Targeted at Illegal Cannabis Industry

The California Bureau of Cannabis Control announced an educational campaign that is focused on moving consumers away from the growing illegal cannabis market. The campaign called #Get weedwise educates consumers and unlicensed cannabis businesses on the dangers associated with the illegal market.

The consumer campaign educates health conscious consumers about the importance of buying tested products from a licensed retailer in order to avoid products contaminated with foreign objects, fecal matter or heavy metals. The campaign is also asking consumers to provide regulators with information about illegal cannabis activity.

The campaign also reminds illegal cannabis businesses about the risks associated with engaging in unlicensed sales activities including the confiscation of products and cash.

Los Angeles Cannabis Regulator Wants City to Adopt Rules to Shut Down Illegal Cannabis Businesses

The city of Los Angeles wants to shutter all unlicensed cannabis businesses. The Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) submitted a memo to the City Council on December 27, 2018 recommending certain measures to combat the hundreds of unlicensed cannabis businesses. The DCR approved these enforcement strategies during its November 29, 2018 meeting.

The DCR has recommended that the Los Angeles City Council adopt regulations to permit city officials to:

  • Cut off utility and power services to illegal cannabis businesses;

  • Bring enforcement actions against employees of unlicensed cannabis businesses;

  • Barricade, lock, or fence unlicensed businesses that fail to comply with a cease and desist orders

  • Permit Building and Safety Inspectors to perform non-criminal enforcement of illegal cannabis businesses;

  • Require licensed businesses to display a placard so that the public can identify a licensed cannabis business;

  • Force an eviction process by sending a cease and desist order to landlords; and

  • Notify business partners, creditors, banks etc. that the cannabis business is illegal.

The recommendations are the result of the City Council’s request in July 2018 for the city’s agencies to draft a report on enforcement operations including cannabis enforcement data and cost of operations. The report dated November 9, 2018 indicated that the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) executed 143 search warrants on unlicensed businesses, and made 435 arrests over the past year. The LAPD also confiscated 67 firearms, over $600,000 in money and 34,852 pounds of cannabis. The arrests did little to stop the reopening of the unlicensed businesses. The LAPD indicated that additional enforcement efforts are needed as the misdemeanor charges for most violations is not adequate.

The recommendations define the jurisdictional responsibility in Los Angeles for enforcing cannabis licensing requirements. The LAPD is responsible for significant criminal activity or complaints. The DCR is responsible for developing enforcement strategies that will close unlicensed cannabis businesses.

Los Angeles Prioritizes the Shuttering of Unlicensed Cannabis Businesses

The city of Los Angeles wants to shutter all unlicensed cannabis businesses. Unlicensed cannabis businesses are not paying taxes or following cannabis regulations. This raises public safety concerns. In July of this year, the City Council directed the city’s agencies to draft a report on enforcement operations including cannabis enforcement data and cost of operations. In the report dated November 9, 2018, the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) indicated that, over the past year, it executed 143 search warrants on unlicensed businesses, and made 435 arrests. The LAPD confiscated 67 firearms, over $600,000 in money and 34,852 pounds of cannabis. The arrests did little to stop the reopening of the unlicensed businesses. The LAPD indicated that additional enforcement efforts are needed as the misdemeanor charges for most violations is not adequate.

Los Angeles is defining the jurisdictional responsibility for enforcing cannabis licensing requirements. The LAPD is responsible for significant criminal activity or complaints. The Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) is responsible for developing enforcement strategies that will close unlicensed cannabis businesses. At a November 29, 2018 meeting, the Cannabis Regulation Commission voted to recommend that the Los Angeles adopt regulations to permit city officials to:

  • Cut off utility and power services to illegal cannabis businesses;

  • Bring enforcement actions against employees of unlicensed cannabis businesses;

  • Barricade, lock, or fence unlicensed businesses that fail to comply with a cease and desist orders

  • Permit Building and Safety Inspectors to perform non-criminal enforcement of illegal cannabis businesses;

  • Require licensed businesses to display a placard so that the public can identify a licensed cannabis business;

  • Force an eviction process by sending a cease and desist order to landlords; and

  • Notify business partners, creditors, banks etc. that the cannabis business is illegal.

These creative enforcement strategies rely on local ordinances to prevent illegal businesses from obtaining a brick-and-mortar storefront. The bigger challenge will be addressing transient business models such as delivery services.

POSSESSING CBD OIL IN OHIO IS ILLEGAL

Only medical marijuana dispensaries can sell CBD oil in Ohio.  Under Ohio law, CBD oil falls under the definition of marijuana, and is subject to the same regulations.  Medical marijuana dispensaries will need to comply with the known  source requirements, understand the active ingredients, and ensure that the product is tested.  Testing can only be performed by laboratories that are licensed by the Ohio Department of Commerce.  

Ohio announced the approval of 56 medical dispensaries in June.  However, the medical dispensaries must show the state that they can operate before receiving a certificate to engage in business.  Until that time, possession of CBD oil or marijuana is illegal.,