Sean Hocking, Author at Green Market Report - Page 2 of 2

Sean HockingSean HockingAugust 27, 2019


If you wish to re-publish this story please do so with the following accreditation
AUTHOR:   aBIZinaBOX Inc. and Jordan S. Zoot, CPA

On August 19, 2019, the Supreme Court of California issued a unanimous opinion in Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. (“UMMP”) v. City of San Diego. Except for the parties and the limited number of individuals who follow litigation involving environmental law, this case has moved through the California court system with little notice.

The real party in interest in the case is the California Coastal Commission. The City of San Diego was not particularly interested in the case even though its zoning actions relating to cannabis were the genesis for the lawsuit. The issue in this case involves the reconciliation of language in two sections of the California Environmental Quality Act (California Public Resources Code (“PRC”) §§21000 et seq. (“CEQA”)).

We decided to write a note on this case because the legal landscape relating to the interplay between CEQA and cannabis law in California has changed dramatically while this case was pending. It seemed to us an opinion by the California Supreme Court reversing a determination by San Diego relating to the impact of CEQA on the licensing of medical cannabis dispensaries must be significant for California’s cannabis industry. We were correct! The premise for writing this article was accurate. We find, however, we have far more questions than answers.

The California Supreme Court summarized the UMMP case as follows:

“In 2014, the City of San Diego (City) adopted an ordinance authorizing the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries and regulating their location and operation. The central provisions of this ordinance amended various City zoning regulations to specify where the newly established dispensaries may be located. Because the City found that adoption of the ordinance did not constitute a project for purposes of CEQA, it did not conduct any environmental review. Petitioner Union of Medical Marijuana Patients (UMMP) challenged the City’s failure to conduct CEQA review in a petition for writ of mandate, which was denied by the trial court.”

The key word in the California Supreme Court’s explanation of the case before the Court is “project.” CEQA broadly defines “project[1]” and then relieves those who are responsible for developing a “project” from the necessity of the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report through a Negative Declaration. CEQA is an issue for California’s cannabis industry, and the significance of this case extends far beyond California’s cannabis industry, because “project” has a far broader meaning for the purposes of CEQA than the common meaning of the word.

All our readers will agree that building a coliseum or a shopping center is a project. The rehabilitation of a building may or may not be a project in the minds of most of our readers. Most of our readers would agree that whether or not the rehabilitation of a building is a project depends on the size of the building and the extent of the work required for rehabilitation. The word “project” has a far broader meaning for the purposes of CEQA than the meaning of the word in common usage, but questions relating to size, scope and impact discussed at the beginning of this paragraph remain relevant.

The adoption of ordinances and regulations by governmental agencies may fall within the definition of a “project” for the purposes of CEQA. In fact, this was the issue that caused San Diego’s adoption of changes to its zoning ordinances in 2014 to allow a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries in certain locations to end up before the California Supreme Court. San Diego did not conduct an environmental review in connection with these zoning changes. San Diego erroneously determined that CEQA did not apply to the zoning ordinance changes that it adopted to allow for medical cannabis dispensaries.

UMMP challenged San Diego’s failure to conduct a CEQA review in connection with adoption of the zoning changes. The trial court upheld San Diego’s determination a CEQA review was not required. UMMP appealed to the Court of Appeal The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the trial court. UMMP appealed to the California Supreme Court. The California Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal, and remanded the case back to the trial court. The trial court was instructed to conduct further proceedings relating to whether an environmental review was required in connection with San Diego’s changes to its zoning ordinance based on the Court’s refinement of the meaning of “project” for the purposes of CEQA.

We need to address a tangential issue before discussing the application of this case to cannabis. The opinion in the UMMP case involves the definition of “project” for the purposes of CEQA. That the ordinances in issue related to cannabis are incidental. The question before the Court in the UMMP case was whether San Diego had erroneously concluded a CEQA review was not required in connection with changes to its zoning ordinances. Many cities in California are considering amending zoning ordinances in connection with the licensing and regulation of electric scooters. Medical cannabis dispensaries and electric scooters are equivalent for the purposes of the UMMP case.

We are writing about this case in connection with California’s cannabis industry because so much has happened in California’s cannabis industry while this case was pending. It is our understanding San Diego has amended its ordinances relating to cannabis on multiple occasions while the UMMP case was pending. Did San Diego act properly under CEQA in adopting its post-2014 zoning ordinances changes relating to cannabis? We suspect solely the attorneys for San Diego can answer that question. We doubt they have as yet even considered this question. We will boldly suggest that our comments in the balance of this article may be of some modest assistance in answering such a question.

Do the changes in the law relating to cannabis that has occurred while this case was pending render the California Supreme Court’s opinion in the UMMP case irrelevant to California’s cannabis industry? We can readily answer this question. CEQA has not changed significantly over the past five years. California’s cannabis laws have changed significantly. As a consequence, the California Supreme Court’s opinion in the UMMP case cannot be irrelevant to California’s cannabis industry. Any determinations regarding the application of the opinion in the UMMP case to California’s cannabis industry have been made far more difficult as a consequence of the changes in California’s laws relating to cannabis during the past five years.

At least three significant complications to the application of the opinion in the UMMP case as a consequence of the changes that have occurred during the past five years in California law relating to cannabis come immediately to mind.

San Diego changed its zoning ordinances to provide for the licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries. Proposition 64 legalized adult-use cannabis. Proposition 64 also preserved the rights granted to California residents under Proposition 215. The Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”) adopted a combined regulatory scheme for medical and adult-use cannabis based on Proposition 64.

Is medical cannabis identical to adult-use cannabis for the purposes of CEQA? Before you attempt to answer this question, consider that medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis are the same in the hands of a cultivator for the purposes of CEQA, but the delivery of medical cannabis through a legal collective may be different from the sale of adult-use cannabis through a dispensary for the same purpose.

As is obvious from the UMMP case, CEQA applies in some instances to the actions of local governmental agencies in their adoption of ordinances and regulations. CEQA also applies to the adoption of regulations by agencies of California. The Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) avoided the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report through the adoption of a Negative Declaration.

In a very simple sense, the Negative Declaration was justified by the premise that BCC and the other cannabis regulatory agencies would quickly license California’s cannabis industry and the environmental issues would all be properly addressed at a local level. Some of the premises for BCC’s Negative Declaration have proved inaccurate. Of what value is a Negative Declaration if the legislature and the agency regularly adjust the premises?

Many of the actions of local agencies in the last five years relating to cannabis were taken in reliance on an exemption from CEQA that Proposition 64 added in Business and Professions Code (“B&P”) §26055(h). The Legislature extended this provision to July 1, 2021. This provision was originally set to expire July 1, 2019.

The first sentence of B&P §26055(h) states,

“Without limiting any other statutory exemption or categorical exemption, . . . [CEQA] does not apply to the adoption of an ordinance, rule, or regulation by a local jurisdiction that requires discretionary review and approval of permits, licenses, or other authorizations to engage in commercial cannabis activity.”  

By its express terms, B&P §26055(h) is limited to local agency actions.

This exemption is likely far narrower than many have supposed as a consequence of its second sentence. The second sentence of B&P §26055(h) states,


“To qualify for this exemption, the discretionary review in any such law, ordinance, rule, or regulation shall include any applicable environmental review pursuant to . . . [CEQA].” [2]

This language appears to describe the error that San Diego made. The California Supreme Court has concluded San Diego made an erroneous decision regarding the “applicable environmental review” required in connection with the amendment of its zoning ordinances.

The UMMP case significantly expanded the opportunities for filing meritorious lawsuits. A number of California cities and counties have amended their zoning ordinances during the past five years in response to pressures from the cannabis industry. Some – perhaps many – of these actions are likely to be open to question-based on the opinion in the UMMP case.

We believe one definite conclusion can be drawn from the opinion in the UMMP case. We believe it is a certainty some members of The State Bar of California will view this opinion as a financial stimulus package. We have a myriad of additional questions. We are confident California lawyers will soon begin asking and answering many of our questions.

[Note – while this isn’t directly relevant to this article, we located a significant number of CEQA related reports and documents that are going list and link merely to provide a location to find them quickly in the future.

CEQA Exemption Petition, Form BCC-LIC-026

CEQA Project-Specific Information, Form BCC-LIC-025

CEQA Overview Presentation – Bureau of Cannabis Control

Finding of facts

[1] Sec. 21065


Sean HockingSean HockingAugust 27, 2019


Here’s his  announcement in full.

Texas Cannabis Report Ceases Publication

Dear Texas Cannabis Report Readers,

In June 2013 Texas Cannabis Report launched as a premier news agency dedicated to covering the issue of cannabis activism and policy. Texans did not have a reliable source of news in this area, prompting our formation. Six years later there has been much progress made in ensuring this under-served community has access to quality and reliable information.

Many volunteer hours have gone into this project, numerous Texans have benefited from the information we have cultivated and shared. Our efforts have been a success.

It is now time to bring to an end our efforts in this pursuit. Effective immediately, Texas Cannabis Report will cease publication. Texas Cannabis Report will be kept intact for historical purposes. Future generations will look back upon this time and wonder how Texas could have had such policy regarding cannabis, and why it required such a monumental effort to change our laws for the better. We are proud to be a historical record on this matter.

We are deeply grateful for our readers, supporters, contributors, and experiences.

Thank you for your involvement. Progress is made on the shoulders of those who come before us.

Stephen Carter
Editor in Chief


Sean HockingSean HockingAugust 26, 2019

If you wish to re-publish this story please do so with following accreditation
AUTHOR:   aBIZinaBOX Inc. and Jordan S. Zoot, CPA

LARIBA – Sharia Finance – we hope that some of our readers enjoyed our initial attempt at explaining the basic principles of Sharia as applied to both Medical Cannabis and basic rules of finance. At the end of our article, we appealed for assistance in sourcing information about more advanced aspects of Sharia Finance. Well, one of Sean Hocking’s followers provided the next piece in the puzzle.

We went ahead and purchased The Art of RF (Riba-Free) Islamic Banking and Finance: Tools and Techniques for Community-Based Banking (Wiley Finance) from We had no idea what to expect when the book arrived. Well, I sat down close to a week ago in the evening and started reading. A week later, we finished reading the 483-page book, and we are absolutely impressed by the skills of the author, Dr. Yahia Abdull-Rahman, and the concepts of RIBA-Free finance. We have always believed that an inquisitive mind and the ability to read provided the tools to learn anything. We are certainly not expert with Sharia Finance but have certainly learned quite a bit. Our intention is to share bits of what we have learned in between everything else we are doing.

LARIBA – Sharia Finance

Riba-Free (RF) banking-comes the expanded edition of the definitive resource that offers an understanding of applying Islamic banking and financial practices. No matter what your faith or religious beliefs, the book shows how to take a modern American approach to incorporate Islamic financial principles into banking and investment techniques.

The Art of RF (Riba-Free) Islamic Banking and Finance describes the emergence of a culture of Islamic banking and finance today, which is based on the real Judeo-Christian-Islamic spirit and has proven very effective when compared to 20th-century models that use financial engineering and structural techniques to circumvent the Shari’a Law. The author also reveals information about how fiat money is created, the role of the Federal Reserve, and the US banking system. Abdul-Rahman includes a wealth of real-life examples and offers an analysis of how this new brand of banking and financing yields superior results.

Offers the fundamentals of Riba-Free (RF) banking

Shows how to apply RF to everything from joint ventures and portfolio management to home mortgages and personal finance

Reveals what it takes to incorporate Shariah Law into US financial systems

Includes information on why RF banking is a socially responsible way to invest

There is a website that is coordinated with the book at

LARIBA – Sharia Finance

that contains a wealth of resources and information, two of which deserve special mention for anyone with a desire to learn about the pragmatic aspects of Sharia Finance.

The Frequently Asked Questions [“FAQ’s] contain an amazing wealth of information.

The LARIBA Fatwa discussion is absolutely riveting and has a strong resemblance to the procedures that the Orthodox Union does in certifying that food products are properly Kosher under the rules of the Jewish faith.

They have included an Independent Sharia Auditors report which just about blew my mind…a firm of Sharia auditors based in North Carolina of all things.

LARIBA – Sharia Finance

We don’t typically like to “lift large sections of text, however, Dr. Yahia Abdul-Rahman’s explanation of the home finance model encapsulates a substantial number of critical concepts in a framework that is rather easy to understand.

Our home financing model is based on the concept of “Declining Participation in Usufruct” (DPU) (Declining Musharaka in rent). This is done as the basis for calculating the monthly payment and marking the value of the property to the market using actual market rental values of similar properties in the same neighborhood. The uniqueness of the LARIBA model is that we DO NOT RENT MONEY. Instead, we approach each transaction as an investment. The market rental value of the property financed determines attractiveness as an investment. If the house is overpriced, the model will flag this fact to the homebuyer in order to go back to renegotiate a lower price or to wait until an existing market “bubble” is burst.

It is important to note that each property like a car, a home, a commercial building has two rights of ownership. The first is the ownership of title to the property called “Milkul Raqabah” (the ownership of the neck). The other right is the right to use the property (Haqul Manfa’aa – the usufruct). For example, one can own a car or a house but he or she can rent out the right to use the car or the house by leasing it.

LARIBA conceptually purchases the property jointly with the client. LARIBA would authorize the client to act as its agent (wakeel) to select, negotiate the price of, and purchase the Property.

LARIBA authorizes the client to undertake the purchase of the property from the vendor and record the title (register it) directly into his or her name. The client becomes the owner of title to the house or owner of Milkul Raqabah. LARIBA retains its share of the usufruct – Haqul Manfa’aa.

Out of their own free will, the client offers to buy and LARIBA accepts to sell its share/units immediately at the same price. The value of the sale is paid in monthly installments over a period of time up to 30 years without adding any interest. The monthly payment is called REPAYMENT OF CAPITAL (“RofC” – pronounced rofsee).

LARIBA and Client agree to perfect a lien [1] (implied co-ownership) on the property in favor of LARIBA. LARIBA agrees with the client to share in the income realized from the use of the house based on the actual rental value as measured in the market. With this lien, the client and LARIBA share the income from the lease of the property proportionately between them. This income is called Return on Capital “RonC” -pronounced “ronsee”. As the client pays back his or her “Riba Free Loan – dayn”, this progressively reduces LARIBA’s share in the usufruct (Haqul Manfa’aa) as well as increases the client’s share gradually to reach 100% at the end of the Financing Period.

LARIBA – Sharia Finance

In order to make sure that money is not rented at the interest rate of the day which is RIBA, we research the actual market fair rental value of the property in its geographic location. The client and LARIBA officer – each – research the market to find how much a similar property leases for in the same market of the property to be financed and present three documented estimates each (a total of six estimates). Sources of rental value estimates include leasing agents, real estate brokers, Newspaper advertisements and online resources. The goal is to obtain the rental value, per square foot based on similar properties. The client and LARIBA compare their findings and agree on a rental value to be used in our proprietary model.

The monthly payment paid by the client over the financing period of up to 30 years consists of a portion of the unpaid Riba Free loan (dayn) – RofC and an amount equal to LARIBA’s proportional share of the agreed-upon rental value – RonC. Our proprietary model does the arithmetic using the proprietary Riba Free algorithm.

The LARIBA Computer Model inputs are: the property value, amount to be financed, the number of years to pay back and the monthly rental value obtained from the market. The unknown here is the Rate of Return on Investment – ROI. This contrasts with riba-based banks where they use an interest (riba)-based amortization computer program. They input: the amount to be financed, the number of years to pay back and the rent of money (interest) and the unknown is the monthly payment.

LARIBA – Sharia Finance

The LARIBA Model analyzes the Rate of Return on Investment in the property. There are three possible outcomes from this analysis of the level of the ROI. These are:

If the ROI is higher than the return expected by our investors. LARIBA decides to finance and reduces the rent in order to make the monthly payment compete with Riba-based banks.

If the ROI is much lower than what our investors are expecting (say 2% while the competing investments yield 6%), LARIBA declines the investment and the financing is denied. This has been the main reason for LARIBA to raise the red flag for many of our customers in Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, Washington DC and parts of California. We have saved many of our applicants from participating in the 2008 real estate bubble.

If the ROI is marginally lower than the expected return by our investors (say 5% and our investors expect 6%), LARIBA advises the client to renegotiate the price lower. We have done that a few times.

Upon full Repayment of Capital, LARIBA will release its lien back to the Client thus signaling the end of the transaction.

In order to protect our clients in case of adverse situations against the possibility of excessive legal fees, unusual language in the contracts that make them irregular and difficult to pursue legally, and the putting of name of company on title with client, LARIBA uses standard industry and regulatory sanctioned contracts and uses a rider called the LARIBA Agreement which describes the process followed above and the rental value used as the basis for the payment calculations.

Their offfices are located in Whittier, California, and you can bet we are going to pay them a visit sooner than later. It strikes us that 1,500 words on this topic is more than sufficient…there will be additional articles. We have certainly gained both knowledge of and respect for Islamic Banking principles.

A final thought, I have been in professional practice for almost 39 years. For me to be able to pick up a book and learn the principles of a completely different set of rules…reinforces what the difference between a professional education that comes with the expectation of a lifetime of learning vs. becoming a mechanic.

LARIBA – Sharia Finance


About Us

The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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