Legal Archives - Green Market Report

Sean HockingSean HockingApril 20, 2019


Here’s the introduction to her investigation.

A female CEO of a cannabis research company is fighting back against controversial Marijuana investor Andy Defrancesco after he started a twitter campaign to allegedly disparage her company and her personal ethics as a CEO. In the fall of 2018, New Frontier Data, which is run by Giadha Aquirre De Carcer, broke off a business partnership with another data research firm, Prohibition Partners, after a disagreement on the quality of data used in a research report detailing the investment opportunities in the Australian cannabis market. The two companies had signed a term sheet earlier in the year for New Frontier to invest $125,000 into Prohibition and co-publish/co-market their information. The companies agreed to go separate ways in September 2018. Then within a day of each other both companies published a research study called The Oceania Cannabis Report and Prohibition Partners, with the help of Defrancesco, made public statements on their twitter accounts that New Frontier had plagiarized their work and Giahda, the CEO, was a fraud. Defrancesco even used threatening language and images that said his power group of investors were coming for them and New Frontier would be blacklisted among big business in the Cannabis industry.

Read on at …

Sol Global Chairman Andy Defrancesco sued for Defamation by Cannabis Research Firm: $SOLCF





Read about Teri’s work here


Need to know more about the parties



New Frontier Data

You have questions? We have answers!


Is New Frontier Data pro-Cannabis?
How do you compare to other firms claiming to have Cannabis Market Research?
How can I access New Frontier Data’s services?
What are New Frontier Data’s values?
Why the horse in the logo?
What is Big Data?
Why are New Frontier Data’s services needed?

Products & Services

What happens after I purchase a report?
Can I print the reports I purchase?
When will your products and services be fully available?
What can be found in New Frontier Data’s reports and how can it be utilized?
What is equio®?
How can I be informed of upcoming features and report releases?

Tech & Development

Who has the data?
How do you put together the data into a cohesive report and technology platform?
What happens to my data when I share it? Will my patient’s information be published or become public?


Who do I contact for a media interview or for more information about New Frontier Data?

Read on at



Prohibition Partners


Prohibition Partners was founded in 2017 with a mission to open up the international cannabis industry through reliable data and intelligence.

Within two years, we have become the world’s leading provider of market insights and strategic consultancy for this emerging frontier.

We firmly believe that data, insights and education will unlock the societal and commercial potential of cannabis.

Our research and content teams routinely share the latest legislative developments and key trends in the industry – information that is regularly cited by political leaders, investment banks and Fortune 500 companies.

Our consultancy team works with investors, operators and regulators to identify and execute opportunities across multiple jurisdictions. We advise our private clients on licensing, regulatory and business opportunities.

Read more




Sean HockingSean HockingApril 19, 2019


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AUTHOR: William F. McDevitt, Esq.



The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) reported that almost $100 million in medical marijuana sales occurred between February 15, 2018, and February 15, 2019, the first full year that medical cannabis was available to Pennsylvania patients. More than $40 million in sales occurred between growers and dispensaries. Pennsylvania does not tax sales to patients, but does tax transactions between growers and dispensaries at a rate of 5%. Thus, in the first year of licensed sales, the Commonwealth received approximately $2 million in tax revenue from medical cannabis.


In April 2019, the DOH confirmed that the first Phase II grower/processor was approved to begin operations. A total of 13 grower/processors received licenses in 2018. The 2016 Medical Marijuana Act (MMA) allows for a maximum of 25 standard grower/processor licenses. Assuming that all of the Phase II grower processors will produce product in 2019, the volume of medical cannabis in Pennsylvania will double and the price for patients will fall. It is estimated that the current market value of medical cannabis is $2,000 a pound and falling.


This is a boon to the approximately 102,000 certified medical marijuana patients in Pennsylvania. It is also a potential boon to the estimated 32,000 additional patients who have registered on the DOH website but are still in the process of receiving medical certification.


The number of registered Pennsylvania patients reflects a concerted effort to make medical marijuana available. New Jersey has had a medical marijuana program since 2010 and in March reported a total of 42,500 registered patients. New York enacted its medical marijuana program in 2014 and on April 16, 2019, reported a total of 97,646 registered patients. Pennsylvania’s program began processingmedical cannabis registrations in 2017 and already has exceeded its closest neighbors in the number of registered patients.


Bugs in the System

Maintaining a market in the face of increasing supply will not be easy, and there still are bugs in the system that limit access to medical cannabis in the Commonwealth. To participate in the medical marijuana program a patient must first register through the DOH website. Accessing the website is easy, but successfully completing the on-line form can be difficult, so much so that many dispensaries and private groups sponsor patient sign-up events. Even when receiving help from an experienced registration assistant, the failure rate is about 50%.


The most common registration issue involves identification. The DOH system requires that a patient possess a state-issued form of identification. A person who doesn’t have a driver’s license will have a hard time registering for medical marijuana. Even with a state-issued ID, the registrant must enter their information in a precise way. Entering “Street” or “St.” when the ID says “ST” may result in a denial.


Unfortunately, the system does not inform registrants why their application was denied. Some patients will simply reapply until successful. Others may feel that they were denied on a substantive basis and forego participating in the program.


Eye on the Patient

There are other obstacles to participating in the Commonwealth’s Medical Marijuana Program. Program participation requires certification from a physician that the patient suffers from one of 21 recognized medical conditions. Some physicians will charge $150$200 for an appointment, and certification appointments are not covered under insurance. Moreover, the MMA requires that the patient receiving cannabis remain under the “continuing care” of a physician. In some areas, physicians charge a monthly amount to cannabis patients, believing that they must “monitor” the patient to comply with the law. “Continuing care” payments are not covered by insurance and some physicians have been reported to charge up to $840 a year for ongoing care.


Once certified by a physician, patients must pay a $50 registration fee, which may be discounted for low-income individuals upon proof of participation in Medicaid, PACE/PACENET, CHIP, SNAP or WIC. Until that proof is accepted, no Medical Marijuana Card can be issued. Since medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law, patients may not wish to disclose their receipt of federal assistance.


The DOH, while committed to serving Pennsylvanians and making access to medical cannabis widely available, must nevertheless operate within its budget and pursuant to the MMA and its attendant regulations. Unfortunately, the current system remains frustrating to many patients who feel that they have been denied access, cannot afford medical certification or may lose federal entitlements by participating. Cannabis supply will increase in 2019, but if demand does not increase with supply, prices and tax revenues will fall. Thus, resolving registration problems and increasing participation in the Medical Marijuana Program is in the best interests of all Pennsylvanians.


About the Author

William F. McDevitt is a partner in the Philadelphia office of national law firm Wilson Elser, where he is a member of the firm’s Cannabis Law practice. He can be reached at

Sean HockingSean HockingApril 17, 2019


If you wish to re-publish this story please do so with the following accreditation
AUTHOR: Rob Hendrix – Cannabis Consulting Nationwide LLC

Washington State passed Initiative 502, the legalization of adult use Cannabis, in November of 2012.

In early 2013, Congress began work on the framework of the state’s regulatory system. One very important component of which was the regulations involving and governing traceability.

Traceability was and is the tracking of Cannabis and Cannabis-infused items and products from “seed to sale”, as directed to Washington and Colorado per the Cole Memo issued in August 2013.

In Washington State, a contract for traceability, such a critical part of Cannabis regulation, was awarded to BioTrack, a company already experienced across the US in tracking the movements of pharmaceutical products, seemingly a solid choice.

In July of 2014, the first retail stores opened in Washington State. My store, Cannabis Central, was in the third flight of stores to open in August of 2014. BioTrack showed itself, initially, in my opinion, to be a capable system.

It was a traceability system first and foremost and from my perspective, it was ok in this realm. In the first few months, as more stores opened and more and more business was taking place, the BioTrack imperfections and quirks began to show themselves.

For example, the State required barcodes on all packages and this barcode was obviously assigned to groups or “lots” of inventory. We would find that occasionally, a “lot” would disappear from the ready for sale portion of our cash register computers. We would scan a barcode on a package of cannabis and the computer would indicate zero available for sale when we knew there was product hanging on the pegs behind us.

In my simple, non-technical way, I’ll try to explain. Basically, what happened is that electronically at least the barcode or the “lot” we are discussing would in effect be pushed back into the “warehouse” and we would have to find it and bring it back up to the retail space and show it as ready for sale.

I always described BioTrack and these little idiosyncrasies as kind of like your first car; the right rear window didn’t work and the gas gauge showed 1/4 tank but it was really empty.

You learned to live with these little things and you made it work. And it forced me as an owner to roll up my sleeves and go to work to solve the problem(s). Things don’t always work flawlessly and BioTrack was no different but rather than complaining, we set about to dive in and learn as much as possible about BioTrack.

We became BioTrack experts compared to most other retail stores. And when we did need help, we called, talked respectfully and asked for help. Many of my cohorts would call and immediately begin the conversation by yelling and shouting obscenities at the person on the other end of the phone. Not the recommended way to ask for and actually expect help from the person on the receiving end of this call.

Over time, many licensees complained about BioTrack so the State in the calendar year 2016 decided to put the traceability contract for the fiscal year 2017 out to bid.

Subsequently, A company called Leaf won the new contract.

There is actually a huge back story here in that the State attempted, in a rather clumsy fashion, to communicate the problems and difficulties licensees were having with BioTrack in an attempt to encourage them to make changes in their approach so they could keep the contract. BioTrack did not respond well to the situation and in effect stopped trying to appease and correct and basically said to the State, “Go ahead and take Leaf. You will be sorry”. Not a very mature attitude to say the least but given the fact so many were so awful to BioTrack when problems arose, it is really no wonder they adopted this stance.

So, we soon had Leaf as our primary traceability Statewide contract holder. It did not take long for problems to begin.

The rollout and transition to Leaf were to have begun in October of 2017. However, due to a multitude of difficulties, this transition was not completed until February 2018. It was definitely an indication of difficulties to follow and they did. As for me, I have stuck with BioTrack in my individual store and my problems have been greatly minimized as compared to others.

The problems at the State level with Leaf are similar to those described earlier in this article except these blips and disappearances are at the State level and may have resulted in an inaccurate accounting of sales and therefore excise tax collected and income tax paid.

The fact that these happenings have occurred is beyond question. The potential under-reporting of sales may have resulted in an underpayment of excise taxes and sales taxes to the State Department of Revenue, and perhaps even underpayment of Federal income taxes.

We must remember cannabis cultivation, processing, and retail sale are all still technically violations of Federal law. If Leaf has not been effective in monitoring and accurately tracking all movement of all 502 licensees’ products at all times and under any and all circumstances, Washington State cannot claim to be following the letter and the spirit of the Cole Memo.

The fact is we don’t know all that we don’t know. Biotrack’s problems, while frustrating and programmatic to be sure, did not create difficulties outside the effected business. In other words, when we ran into a situation that needed to be remedied, the problem was not extended into the Statewide system. Cannabis Central could not retail what we did not own “electronically”, so the problem was stopped in it’s tracks until we fixed the issue. In the case of Leaf, since this IS now the Statewide system, the potential problems are much larger.

The State of Washington, 502 licensees, BioTrack and Leaf have all had a part in the creation of this potential fiasco.

Traceability is the very cornerstone of legal Cannabis at this time in the US. If the credibility and confidence in our system is in any way compromised, then our 502 system as a whole is in peril. There are literally millions of citizens who are at best uncomfortable with the legalization and normalization of Cannabis in our society.

We are trying desperately, with State legalization, to eradicate the illicit marijuana market; this is one of our major goals in the hope it will reduce access to minors. If this Leaf traceability system is as flawed as it appears to be, we cannot be sure product isn’t slipping “out the back door” and by extension, we will have difficulty convincing naysayers as to our credibility as an industry.

If the system cannot be trusted to absolutely guarantee Cannabis will be truly tracked and monitored from “seed to sale”, we cannot win over non believers. In fact, we will expose ourselves to greater scrutiny by the Feds or even be told to shut down until we can guarantee the system is reliable.

BioTrack was far from perfect, but Leaf has been a Statewide disappointment and it’s flaws and problems threaten our 502 system as a whole and none of us can tolerate that.



Rob Hendrix, Owner

Cannabis Central LLC

Cannabis Consulting Nationwide LLC

Cell: 509.833.5556

Office: 509.201.1144


Editor’s Notes


Government Solutions

Business Solutions



Leaf Data Systems: Cannabis Software for Regulators
Comprehensive track and trace marijuana software for regulators that supports a tightly controlled chain of custody model and helps prevent diversion and fraud. ( Google Search)

We also received this interesting page alert – why would they do this ?



Sean HockingSean HockingApril 17, 2019


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AUTHOR:  “Jordan Zoot.  “aBIZinaBOX Inc., CPA’s

The key to the long-term success of every medical or adult-use cannabis business in California will be found in the management of tax liabilities. The usual reasons for long-term success in business – creativity, perseverance, experience, business acumen and connections – are important. The management of the direct and indirect impact of the multiple taxes to which California cannabis businesses are subject, and the preparation and maintenance of the financial records required for the management of these tax liabilities, will, however, prove to be the single most important factor in the success of a California cannabis business in the long-term.


Do not stop reading this article based on the premise the above statement does not apply to you because you are a well-established cultivator and the bulk of the taxes on cannabis apply to dispensaries and distributors. Taxes impact the amount a cultivator will receive. All of the money that various governmental agencies take out of California’s cannabis industry is not available to pay costs and to provide profits. Cultivators, distributors and dispensaries must split the money that is left after all of the taxes on cannabis are paid.


We are, of course, addressing the long-term success of fully-licensed, fully-compliant, fully tax-reporting California cannabis businesses. As anyone familiar with California’s cannabis industry is aware, most California cannabis businesses do not qualify as fully-licensed, compliant, tax-reporting businesses.


The majority of California cannabis businesses are wholly or partially non-compliant. Many California cannabis businesses are trying to be fully compliant taxpayers, but it is not an easy course.

This article was prepared to illustrate the impact of the total tax load on California’s commercial cannabis industry. This article utilizes a simple example to illustrate the totality of the taxes that are directly and indirectly imposed on the commercial movement of cannabis in California from a cultivator to consumers. The totality of the taxes imposed on California’s cannabis industry are: Cannabis Cultivation Tax (“CCT”); Cannabis Excise Tax (“CET); Sales Tax; City and County Cannabis Taxes; and not to be forgotten California and Federal Income Taxes.

As is noted above, even for those California cannabis businesses that do not appear to be impacted by most of the taxes imposed on cannabis, an understanding of the effect of these taxes is critical to success. Taxes dramatically impact the prices at which cannabis is transferred between segments of the industry even if the taxes are not directly imposed on a particular segment.

We have prepared three Pie Charts to illustrate the impact of taxes on California cannabis businesses. The illustrations below are based on the transfer of a pound of flower by a cultivator through a single distributor to a single dispensary that sells the flower to consumers.

The Pie Chart on the left (below)  reflects a division of dollars between taxes, dispensary, distributor and cultivator based on an arbitrary percentage of the total amount paid by the consumers. In this Pie Chart 40% of the total dollars collected from the consumers are allocated to taxes and the remaining 60% of the total dollars are divided equally between the Dispensary, the Distributor and the Cultivator.   In reality the percentage of the money collected from consumers from a sale of flower that will ultimately be paid over in taxes by a cannabis business will range from 30% to over 50%.

In all instances involving the commercial movement of cannabis from cultivator to consumer in California, the total taxes collected and paid over to governmental agencies in connection with a sale of flower will generally be around 40+% when all of the taxes are taken into account. Each of the Dispensary, Distributor and Cultivator will receive 15%-25% of the money that remains from a commercial sale of flower. In the Pie Chart on the left we divided the remaining 60% of the total dollars equally between the Dispensary, the Distributor and the Cultivator. We made the divisions between the four segments of the Pie Chart broad in order to illustrate that there will always be a range to the share of the total dollars that will be received by a particular segment in a particular instance.

The Pie Chart in the center illustrates the movement of flower from a cultivator to consumers with the dollar amounts we have attributed to these transactions in our example. The Pie Chart in the center does not take into account the estimated income taxes that will be incurred by the Dispensary, Distributor and Cultivator. The Pie Chart on the right takes into account the income taxes that we estimate will be incurred.



In the Pie Chart in the center the Cultivator sells one pound of flower to a Distributor for $852.00 and the Distributor assumes the $148.00 of CCT associated with the pound of flower. The Distributor processes the flower into retail packages. The Distributor marks up the pound of flower by $600.00, and sells the flower to the Dispensary for $1,600.00. The $1,600.00 price at which the pound of flower is transferred to the Dispensary includes the $148.00 of CCT. The Distributor also adds $384.00 of CET which is collected from the Dispensary. The Distributor receives $1,984.00 in payment from the Dispensary. The Distributor owes $532.00 to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (“CDTFA”) for CCT ($148.00) and CET ($384.00).

The Dispensary marks-up the flower by $960.00. This is the mark-up assumed in the computation of the CET that the Distributor collected from the Dispensary. The Dispensary sells the flower to Consumers for $2,560.00 plus $920.00 of taxes (CET, Local Taxes, and Sales Tax) which the Dispensary collects from the Consumers. The total amount collected by the dispensary for the pound of flower is $3,480.00. The total taxes the Dispensary collects of from the Consumers for the pound of flower of $920.00 consists of: CET, $384.00; Local Taxes of $256.00 (10% x $2,560.00); and Sales Tax of $280.00 (8.75% x $3,200.00).

The total taxes due CDTFA and local governments from this sale of cannabis flower are $1,068.00 ($920.00 + $148.00). This amount does not include the California and Federal Income Tax that will be incurred by the Dispensary, Distributor and Cultivator. The Pie Chart in the center reflects the division of the $3,480.00 among taxes, Dispensary, Distributor and Cultivator without consideration of income taxes. The percentage breakdown of the $3,480.00 illustrated in the Pie Chart in the center is: taxes, 30.8%, Dispensary, 27.6%, Distributor, 17.2% and Cultivator, 24.4%.

If we take into account the estimated income taxes that will be incurred by the Dispensary, Distributor and Cultivator, the percentage of the $3,480.00 that is lost to taxes moves significantly above 40%. If we assume the Dispensary will pay income tax at a 40% rate on the full amount of the Dispensary’s $960.00 mark-up because of Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §260E, the Dispensary will have an income tax liability of $384.00. If we assume the Dispensary has operating expenses of $384.00, the Dispensary will have an after-tax income of $192.00, which is a 20% after-tax profit.

For the purpose of illustrating the impact of income taxes on the Distributor and the Cultivator, we will assume each of these businesses is also subject to a 40% income tax rate and achieves a 20% after-tax profit. We will also assume IRC §280E has no application to the Distributor or the Cultivator. The Distributor will have an income tax liability of $80.00 and after-tax profit of $120.00 ($600.00 x 20%), if its operating expenses are $400.00 and the income tax rate is 40%. The Cultivator will have an after-tax profit of $170.40 ($852.00 x 20%) and an income tax liability of $113.60 ($284.00-$170.40 = $113.60) under the same set of assumptions if the Cultivator’s operating expenses are $568.00.

Based on the preceding assumptions, the total income taxes imposed on the Dispensary, Distributor and Cultivator will be $577.60 ($384.00 + $80.00 + $113.60). These assumptions regarding income taxes increase the total amount of taxes due various governmental agencies out of the $3,480.00 paid by the Consumers to $1,645.60. The total amount left to be divided among the Dispensary, Distributor and Cultivator after-taxes is $1,834.40. As the reader will immediately see, significantly more than 40% of the $3,480.00 paid by the Consumers for the pound of flower will be paid by one of the three cannabis businesses in taxes to various governmental agencies.

When income taxes are taken into account based on the preceding assumptions, the percentage of the $3,480.00 allocated to taxes is 47.3%. The percentage of the $3,480.00 retained by each of the cannabis businesses after all taxes are taken into account will be: Dispensary, 16.6%, Distributor, 14.90% and Cultivator, 21.2%. Each of these businesses must recover their costs and make their profit from these modest percentages of the total dollars collected from cannabis consumers. Of course, if a California cannabis business, other than a dispensary does not make a profit, income taxes are moot. However, a dispensary may have an income tax liability even if it loses money because of IRC §280E under the present state of the law.

Can anyone interested in the successful operation of a cannabis business in California doubt that the management of the collection, reporting and remittance of the many taxes imposed on California’s cannabis industry is critical to success?

We prepared the preceding as one of several articles we will publish to the significance of the impact of taxes on California cannabis businesses. The next article will be similar to the preceding. The next article will illustrate the impact of taxes on extracted cannabis oil.

Tax management demands professional expertise. Tax liabilities cannot be managed in the absence of financial record-keeping and tax reporting systems that are specifically designed for the industry and for the business function within the industry.

Sean HockingSean HockingApril 15, 2019

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AUTHOR: Darren Kaplan Hoban Law

As the cannabis industry matures from illegal activity to legitimate businesses, it faces the same exposure to lawsuits that exists in other industries.

Once upon a time—and not long ago—it would have been unheard of to try a cannabis civil lawsuit in an American courtroom.

However, the cannabis industry cannot be ignored. With most U.S. states having established some form of marijuana legalization, and international jurisdictions acting similarly, the pace of commercial activity in the space has accelerated. Similarly, a swell of business activity surrounds hemp and hemp-derived products, particularly with much attention being paid to cannabidiol (CBD). The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill further added momentum to an already popular cannabis market.

The cannabis industry is made of more than greenhouses and dispensaries. Cannabis entrepreneurship is thriving. Beyond the plant-touching businesses—those involved in the actual cultivation, processing, and/or sale of marijuana, hemp or derivations of either—all kinds of ancillary companies and service providers participate in the cannabis marketplace.

Within this fast-maturing cannabis economy, as in all industries, disputes arise that sometimes need to be litigated. After all, apart from their regulatory obligations, cannabis businesses and their owners are still subject to civil laws like all other businesses. Disputes can arise when, to name just a few scenarios, well-intentioned deals go wrong, people conduct business without sufficient legal or regulatory knowledge and guidance, or a business engages in misleading behavior toward consumers.

To illustrate how a dispute may arise from an agreement gone wrong, imagine that Company X promises Company Y it will perform a specific service or deliver a certain product in exchange for money. A common contract dispute might arise when either Company X fails to perform, or Company Y fails to pay. As the cannabis industry matures and bigger business interests are involved in these agreements, more is often at stake for the parties in such a dispute.

But it is naïve to think only one type of lawsuit, or even a handful of disputes, would apply to the cannabis industry. While there are some seemingly unique functions of the regulated cannabis industry, a lawsuit that might be brought in any other commercial setting is possible in this space, too.

While there is no way to avoid any lawsuit from occurring, businesses and individuals can take steps to mitigate risks to legal exposure. This can be done in multiple ways and begins at the inception of any cannabis business activity. Businesses and individuals can consult with legal professionals to understand the regulatory framework of their respective jurisdictions and ensure their operations will be compliant. Legal advice also can be sought in navigating entity formation and other similar procedures new commercial actors may face.

Once in operation, consultation with an attorney regarding ongoing business activity also can be important. For example, before entering into any agreement, a business or individual can consult with legal counsel to determine whether the agreement should be in writing, whether the agreement is enforceable in a court of law, and/or whether it contains appropriate terms and provisions for the specific situation.

Beyond these examples, products liability class action lawsuits, patent or trademark infringement lawsuits, deceptive trade practice lawsuits, internal corporate disputes and commercial landlord-tenant lawsuits are just some of the varied ways that cannabis has been the subject of civil litigation.

Still, criminal lawsuits remain; before recently, these were the only type of U.S. cannabis litigation. Despite the optimism and momentum that rules the day in much of the cannabis industry—especially with passage of the 2018 Farm Bill providing protections for hemp and its derivatives— marijuana itself remains a controlled substance under federal law, as well as under state and local laws of some U.S. jurisdictions, in which prosecution of marijuana charges is still an ongoing reality. Individuals and businesses can seek legal consultation as to whether they are acting in compliance with the laws of their respective jurisdictions.

As America’s cannabis industry becomes recognized as a commercial industry like any other, disputes are going to continue to arise, and some of those disputes will continue to become lawsuits. Commercial participants of the cannabis space should be aware that the same exposure to legal claims that exists in other industries will exist here too, and that while lawsuits cannot be avoided, a business can help mitigate that risk.

Darren Kaplan is an associate attorney at Hoban Law Group ( in Denver, Colorado. Darren has worked on several legal issues in the cannabis space, specializing thus far in industrial hemp, regulatory compliance (hemp and marijuana), and civil and commercial litigation. This article has been prepared for informational and general guidance purposes only; it does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained herein without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication. Hoban Law Group, its members, employees, and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based thereupon.


Author Bio

Darren joined Hoban Law Group as a student extern in 2016 during his second year of law school. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida in 2012 before going overseas to complete his military service. Upon returning to the United States, Darren attended the University of Florida for his first year of law school and transferred to the University of Denver, where he graduated in May 2018. Darren has recently passed the Colorado Bar Exam.

During his time in law school, Darren focused on developing the critical skills of a lawyer. As a student attorney of Denver Law’s Criminal Defense Clinic, Darren represented clients from interview-to-resolution in local Colorado jurisdictions. As a student advocate of Denver Law’s National Trial Team, Darren won individual and team awards competing at national and local mock trial tournaments. He has also held an externship with a Denver District Court judge. At Hoban Law, Darren has worked on a wide variety of matters including in litigation, regulatory compliance, applications, and business law, to name a few.  He is excited to continue his development with Hoban Law Group.

In Darren’s free time, he obsesses over English Premier League soccer, listens to all genres of music, and searches for delicious food.


Sean HockingSean HockingApril 15, 2019


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AUTHOR: Mark Taylor

The European Union is set to increase the permitted THC levels in legal cannabis products from 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent.

Lawmakers in the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development made the decision as part of a set of proposals for post-2020 reforms.

The 0.3 percent limit was allowed until 1999, but rolled back under a more hardline governance of the bloc.

The reforms are part of the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy (CAP); a system of agricultural subsidies and other programs for member nations.

Pro-hemp activists had called for an increase to 1 percent, but the smaller jump was much  more likely to occur.

The decision will go to the full European Parliament, the bloc’s directly elected legislative, and the European Union Council of governments, ahead of implementation, which would be January 2021 at the earliest.

In the US and Canada (and Switzerland, which is not an EU member), 0.3 percent is the existing limit, so the rule change would bring the EU in line with the dominant cannabis-sector geographies.

The current restrictions mean farmers within the bloc are limited to around 60 varieties available to grow.

Pre-1999 the EU limit had hit 0.5 percent, but reform and a general anti-cannabis outlook from the bloc meant little love for hemp growers.

According to the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), in 1984, when THC limits were first determined in Europe, the 0.5 percent limit reflected scientific beliefs of the time. After just three years, this cap fell to 0.3 percent as a measure for the “protection of public health”. And in 1999, the limit fell once again to 0.2 percent, where it has remained until this day.

The EIHA said this was done to “prevent the cultivation of illicit drug type cannabis in industrial hemp fields”, however “no evidence was ever presented to support this opinion”. They backed the return to pre-1999 limits.

Reacting to the recent committee vote, Lorenza Romanese, the managing director of EIHA, told HempToday, “[the vote] represents a major step forward for the sector. EIHA worked hard to assure the positive vote.”

The EIHA said raising the limit, however small right now, will enable the European hemp industry keep pace with the competition in North America and in Asia.

Alongside bolstering competition, the EIHA also argue that “there is no reason for a THC limit of 0.2 percent” and state that “0.2 percent [THC containing hemp varieties] are as safe as 0.3 percent [varieties] regarding drug abuse and there will be no noticeable effect on illicit cannabis production [from changing the limit].”

Sean HockingSean HockingApril 15, 2019


Last February, the Idaho State police pulled over a truck carrying 6,701 pounds of hemp and promptly seized it, allegedly claiming it was marijuana. Now the cultivators of that hemp, Big Sky Scientific, are suing the police, the county, and an attorney. If you’ve been following hemp news recently, then you have probably seen a few of these stories surfacing. Cops across the country seem to be mistaking legal industrial hemp with illegal marijuana (at least in some states like Idaho)..

So what gives? Here’s why cops may keep confusing hemp for marijuana, and how to tell the difference.

The similarities

Before we can talk about why hemp and marijuana are different, let’s talk about how the two plants are similar. Both hemp and marijuana are members of the genus Cannabis. There are three distinct species of Cannabis: Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis. What we refer to as marijuana belongs in both the Sativa and Indica family. Hemp, on the other hand, is solely a member of the Sativa species.

Both hemp and marijuana have similar smells, and to the untrained eye look very similar. This is especially true if you look at a side-by-side comparison of hemp and marijuana flower.

Here’s a picture of hemp flower:

Image credit: picture alliance | Getty Images

And here’s a picture of marijuana flower:

Image credit: rocksunderwater | Getty Images

The differences

To the untrained eye, hemp and marijuana can look similar, but there are some key differences. Hemp leaves look skinny while marijuana leaves often have a much broader appearance. Additionally, marijuana plants often look like a short bush while hemp plants look tall and skinny with most of the leaves growing at the top. That is not to say that marijuana plants can’t reach tall heights, but even the biggest plant will still have that bushy appearance.

To help give you a better visual, here’s a graphic showing the differences, courtesy of the Ministry of Hemp:



However, the most significant difference between hemp and marijuana is their chemical composition. Hemp plants contain a variable amount of the compounds CBD and typically less than 1 percent THC. The legal definition of hemp is that it must contain 0.3 percent THC or less, but some hemp plants will go over that percentage. Marijuana, on the other hand, typically contains 5 percent THC or more.

A business opportunity

One reason why cops keep confusing hemp for marijuana comes down to education and training. Ever since the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, hemp and marijuana have legally been considered the same substance. Consequently, law enforcement has never taken the time to learn how to distinguish the two plants; and why would they? If both hemp and marijuana are considered the same plant under the law, why bother learning the difference?

Even though the 2018 Farm Bill changed that legal definition, law enforcement has yet to change with it. Not only are police officers often unable to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana, but the equipment they use to determine marijuana is antiquated. Most roadside marijuana detection kits are designed to detect the mere presence of THC but not the concentration.

At the moment, there is no way for law enforcement to tell the difference between legal hemp and marijuana, but that may soon change. Earlier this year, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued a notice that they are seeking companies that can provide test kits capable of telling the difference between hemp and marijuana. With any luck, an enterprising entrepreneur will come up with a device that allows the DEA to quickly resolve the issue and put to rest the long history confusing hemp for marijuana.

Sean HockingSean HockingApril 15, 2019


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

Lines We Don’t Cross – it is April 14 and we should have had a very smooth day with one day to go to the tax filing deadline. Unfortunately, we had an experience that was both disappointing and potentially harmful to everyone involved. Let’s begin by screaming at the top of our lungs


The simplest way to address this issue without turning it into a rant is for us to reiterate the rules proscribed by various agencies that regulate Circular 230 practitioners in California.

By doing so, no one that has seen this post can ever say that they were not aware of the rules. We should be able to lay out sufficient bright lines with those rules such that we can avoid a discourse about the conduct of specific business owners or their advisors.

The reason we have chosen to frame the discussion by reference to the rules that govern Circular 230 Practitioners is that we seem to be getting a disproportionate number of questions about “is it ok to…” and finish the sentence with myriad forms of conduct that could land a business owner in prison and be a death penalty for a professional license.

We have one very simple thought…we don’t have, have NEVER had, and NEVER will have a client that could offer us ANYTHING, let alone $$$ that would cause us to consider any form of conduct that might put reputation, let alone a professional license at risk…PERIOD.

The California Board of Accountancy [“CBA”]

Regulations state

  • 58. Compliance with Standards. Licensees engaged in the practice of public accountancy shall comply with all applicable professional standards, including but not limited to generally accepted accounting principles and generally accepted auditing standards.

Note: Authority cited: Sections 5010 and 5018, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Section 5018, Business and Professions Code.

The CBA regulations effectively incorporate Circular 230, PCAOB, AICPA and CalCPA rules by reference.

AICPA and CalCPA have:

Acts Discreditable RULE 501. A member shall not commit an act discreditable to the profession.

The California Bar has the following rule for practicing attorneys admitted in California.

Rule 8.4 Misconduct (Rule Approved by the Supreme Court, Effective November 1, 2018)

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

(a) violate these rules or the State Bar Act, knowingly* assist, solicit, or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;

(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;

(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud,* deceit, or reckless or intentional misrepresentation;

(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;

(e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official, or to achieve results by means that violate these rules, the State Bar Act, or other law; or

(f) knowingly* assist, solicit, or induce a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of an applicable code of judicial ethics or code of judicial conduct, or other law. For purposes of this rule, “judge” and “judicial officer” have the same meaning as in rule 3.5(c).

The IRS Office of Professional Responsibility enforces – Circular 230 – Paragraph 51 – Incompetence and Disreputable Conduct –

(a) Incompetence and disreputable conduct. Incompetence and disreputable conduct for which a practitioner may be sanctioned under §10.50 includes, but is not limited to —

(1) Conviction of any criminal offense under the Federal tax laws.

(2) Conviction of any criminal offense involving dishonesty or breach of trust.

(3) Conviction of any felony under Federal or State law for which the conduct involved renders the practitioner unfit to practice before the Internal Revenue Service.

(4) Giving false or misleading information, or participating in any way in the giving of false or misleading information to the Department of the Treasury or any officer or employee thereof, or to any tribunal authorized to pass upon Federal tax matters, in connection with any matter pending or likely to be pending before them, knowing the information to be false or misleading. Facts or other matters contained in testimony, Federal tax returns, financial statements, applications for enrollment, affidavits, declarations, and any other document or statement, written or oral, are included in the term “information.”

(5) Solicitation of employment as prohibited under §10.30, the use of false or misleading representations with intent to deceive a client or prospective client in order to procure employment, or intimating that the practitioner is able improperly to obtain special consideration or action from the Internal Revenue Service or any officer or employee thereof.

(6) Wilfully failing to make a Federal tax return in violation of the Federal tax laws, or wilfully evading, attempting to evade, or participating in any way in evading or attempting to evade any assessment or payment of any Federal tax.

(7) Wilfully assisting, counseling, encouraging a client or prospective client in violating, or suggesting to a client or prospective client to violate, any Federal tax law, or knowingly counseling or suggesting to a client or prospective client an illegal plan to evade Federal taxes or payment thereof.

(8) Misappropriation of, or failure properly or promptly to remit, funds received from a client for the purpose of payment of taxes or other obligations due to the United States.

(9) Directly or indirectly attempting to influence, or offering or agreeing to attempt to influence, the official action of any officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service by the use of threats, false accusations, duress or coercion, by the offer of any special inducement or promise of an advantage or by the bestowing of any gift, favor or thing of value.

(10) Disbarment or suspension from practice as an attorney, certified public accountant, public accountant, or actuary by any duly constituted authority of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, including a Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia, any Federal court of record or any Federal agency, body or board.

(11) Knowingly aiding and abetting another person to practice before the Internal Revenue Service during a period of suspension, disbarment or ineligibility of such other person.

(12) Contemptuous conduct in connection with practice before the Internal Revenue Service, including the use of abusive language, making false accusations or statements, knowing them to be false, or circulating or publishing malicious or libelous matter.

(13) Giving a false opinion, knowingly, recklessly, or through gross incompetence, including an opinion which is intentionally or recklessly misleading, or engaging in a pattern of providing incompetent opinions on questions arising under the Federal tax laws. False opinions described in this paragraph (a)(l3) include those which reflect or result from a knowing misstatement of fact or law, from an assertion of a position known to be unwarranted under existing law, from counseling or assisting in conduct known to be illegal or fraudulent, from concealing matters required by law to be revealed, or from consciously disregarding information indicating that material facts expressed in the opinion or offering material are false or misleading. For purposes of this paragraph (a)(13), reckless conduct is a highly unreasonable omission or misrepresentation involving an extreme departure from the standards of ordinary care that a practitioner should observe under the circumstances. A pattern of conduct is a factor that will be taken into account in determining whether a practitioner acted knowingly, recklessly, or through gross incompetence. Gross incompetence includes conduct that reflects gross indifference, preparation which is grossly inadequate under the circumstances, and a consistent failure to perform obligations to the client.

(14) Wilfully failing to sign a tax return prepared by the practitioner when the practitioner’s signature is required by Federal tax laws unless the failure is due to reasonable cause and not due to wilful neglect.

(15) Wilfully disclosing or otherwise using a tax return or tax return information in a manner not authorized by the Internal Revenue Code, contrary to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or contrary to the order of an administrative law judge in a proceeding instituted under §10.60.

(16) Wilfully failing to file on magnetic or other electronic media a tax return prepared by the practitioner when the practitioner is required to do so by the Federal tax laws unless the failure is due to reasonable cause and not due to wilful neglect.

(17) Wilfully preparing all or substantially all of, or signing, a tax return or claim for refund when the practitioner does not possess a current or otherwise valid preparer tax identification number or other prescribed identifying number.

(18) Wilfully representing a taxpayer before an officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service unless the practitioner is authorized to do so pursuant to this part.

(b) Effective/applicability date. This section is applicable beginning August 2, 2011.

If you happen to become aware of a licensed professional that has violated any of these rules, REPORT THEM TO THAT APPROPRIATE REGULATORY AGENCY IMMEDIATELY. if you aren’t sure, REPORT THEM ANYWAY AND LET THE REGULATORS DECIDE.

The question of whether the legal cannabis industry in California succeeds or fails is going to be determined by compliance with tax and regulatory provisions going forward.

Let’s not shoot ourselves in the head.

Lines We Don’t Cross


Sean HockingSean HockingApril 13, 2019


Authored By : Pierre-Luc Desgagné

Lawyer, Partner

Results and prospects / Consultations on the Quebec government’s Bill 2 on regulating cannabis

The special consultations on Bill 2, An Act to tighten the regulation of cannabis, have now been completed and a report thereon was tabled in Quebec’s National Assembly on February 21, 2019.

It should first of all be noted that a clear majority of the groups heard opposed the principal amendments proposed by Bill 2, particularly those pertaining to the legal age for consumption and the blanket prohibition on consumption in public places.

Also noteworthy is that only two groups, namely the Portage group of drug addiction rehabilitation centres and the Quebec association of neurologists, came out in support of the Bill. The consultations also revealed a clear divergence of views between several organizations in the health care sector, on the one hand, and other social organizations whose representatives appeared to testify.

Municipalities, notably the City of Gatineau, expressed major reservations about Bill 2, particularly regarding its impacts on municipal autonomy and the role to be played by municipalities, who in many cases will have the burden of managing several of the issues associated with the legalization of cannabis. As for the City of Montréal, its representative and mayor, Valérie Plante, spoke of the difficulties inherent in applying the restrictions on consumption in public places, given that 60% of the city’s residents are tenants and the majority of landlords have indicated that they intend to prohibit cannabis consumption in the buildings they own.

It should also be noted that a clear majority of the groups heard are opposed the government’s decision to raise the legal age for consumption to 21. Several groups, including youth organization called Citoyenneté jeunesse and Quebec mental health organization called Mouvement Santé mentale Québec (MSMQ), pointed out that this decision will lead to a host of problems for youths, who will have no choice but to continue to consume lower-quality cannabis from unauthorized sources. The MMSQ stressed that one of the main reasons the federal government legalized cannabis was to ensure the quality of the product sold.

The Quebec government must now submit Bill 2 to the National Assembly for deliberation on its adoption.

Lively debate can be anticipated, as the opposition parties, in a rare show of unanimity, do not support the government’s initiative. However, as this is only the second bill to have tabled by the government, in the weeks immediately following its election, it will presumably use its majority to have it adopted quickly.

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtApril 12, 2019


By Jeff Remsburg, Contributing Editor Apr 8, 2019, 7:13 pm EDT

Where we stand with federal marijuana reform initiatives, and what that means for your marijuana investments today

With last Friday’s “landmark” bill, Congress is closer than ever to long-awaited reform measures that would, in effect, legalize marijuana.

“Landmark” is how Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) described the legislation introduced this past Friday. If passed, it would end the federal prohibition on marijuana.

The legislation is called the STATES Act (Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States). In practical terms, it would allow each state or territory to decide its own policy on marijuana, without federal intervention.

(You can follow all the proposed legislation here)

It will still be a while before the bill gets a full House vote. Regardless, the momentum and growing support from an increasing number of politicians are what’s important for now. It’s part of a new wave of legalization that has already created massive stock winners. At this point, it’s undeniable — legal marijuana is one of the biggest investment opportunities of this generation.

So, given this federal milestone, in today’s Digest, let’s review federal marijuana reform efforts that have taken place over the last few months. Then, in light of where we stand today, let’s discuss which investments are likely to thrive in this environment.

***Major federal reform began with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill this past December

The Farm Bill was major news for marijuana investors. To understand why, I’m going to turn to our resident marijuana expert, Matt McCall. Matt is one of the most respected, and successful, marijuana analysts in the business.

The bill legalized hemp — a cannabis derivative — for the first time in nearly a century, opening up what could be a $20+ billion industry in a relatively short amount of time. As hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) oil hits the mainstream, we’re looking at an industry with the potential to be 55 times larger in just five years … it has game-changing ramifications on the hemp industry …

Prior to that, hemp was classified as a Schedule 1 drug according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and federal laws prohibited growing or selling it. A previous Farm Bill from 2014 allowed a few states to give out limited permits to grow hemp for specific uses, but it mostly remained illegal.

The DEA’s classification made no sense. Schedule 1 drugs are the most addictive and dangerous in the world and have zero medical benefits. We know that isn’t true with hemp. Can you believe that the DEA viewed hemp as more dangerous than cocaine, which is a Schedule 2 drug?

Given this hemp legalization, we’re now seeing CBD-infused products being sold in traditional outlets including Walgreens and CVS. Beyond that, CBD has already become so popular it’s making its way into products you may never have suspected — for instance, CBD dog treats.

This CBD-popularity dovetails into the second area of federal reform — the FDA.

***While the conversation is evolving, real reform from the FDA appears slow … but moving

While CBD made from hemp is now legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD made from marijuana is still illegal. That’s because marijuana remains a controlled substance.

The lack of formal guidance from the FDA has led to lots of confusion as to which CBD products are legal versus illegal, as well as marketing claims and general advertising. This has slowed CBD’s growth (even though its current growth is staggering despite these challenges).

During one of his last days as FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb appeared before a House appropriations subcommittee and explained the challenge. In essence, regulating CBD will require a unique model that may take years to complete.

“That’s the conundrum here,” he said. “We don’t have a really modern proxy for where this has happened.”

That’s why Gottlieb suggested that congressional action on CBD could lead to a faster resolution than paths through the FDA.

But in an effort to push the ball forward, the FDA will hold its first public hearings on whether to allow CBD to be legally used as a food-and-drink ingredient on May 31.

If you want to be a part of this conversation, the agency is asking for public comment. If you’d like to learn more and have your voice heard, click here for more information.

***Another key piece of federal reform is happening with the SAFE Banking Act

On March 28th, a congressional committee approved the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The legislation is intended to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks.

This is big because with marijuana still illegal under federal law, getting banks to accept deposits from marijuana-related companies is extremely difficult. That’s because any bank that does business with marijuana companies could be charged with “aiding and abetting” — which is a federal crime.

In order for the marijuana industry to make its next quantum leap, banks need to be in on the game. And last Thursday’s vote from the House Financial Services Committee is evidence that’s happening.

The vote is also significant since it was approved despite some resistance from Republicans. You see, when Republicans held the House majority, they blocked marijuana amendments from even being considered.

Even last week, top Republicans on the Financial Services Committee requested to delay the vote, given some unanswered questions. The vote went ahead and was passed despite this request, which is a reflection of the chamber’s new Democratic majority.

When the legislation will reach the floor is unclear. But if passed, federal banking regulators will not be able to punish financial institutions just because they service marijuana businesses that enjoy legal status under state or local law. That will be a watershed moment for the legalized marijuana industry.

***Coming full circle, given the status of these various federal reform efforts, where do we see the most impact on investments?

Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. So, as you would expect, the investments seeing the biggest gains are those that have less risk of federal prosecution. CBD falls into this area, despite the current murkiness surrounding its FDA approval. Given this, many CBD stocks are exploding.

Matt’s own Elixinol is one example. Elixinol makes and distributes CBD supplements and skincare products. At the time of this writing, Matt’s subscribers are up over 175% since December.

So, CBD companies should be on your radar if you’re looking to begin a portfolio of marijuana investments.

A second marijuana investment area that has some insulation from federal repercussions is found in “picks and shovels” companies — in other words, companies that provide services to the marijuana industry, but don’t directly participate. For instance, a company that provides fertilizer and production equipment to a grower.

The example from Matt’s portfolio is Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR). It’s a REIT which buys properties from medical marijuana growers, then leases the buildings back to the growers. At the time of this writing, Matt’s subscribers are up over 150% since August.

As to pure-play marijuana companies, such as those that sell marijuana directly to consumers, we expect they’ll thrive in the coming years after full federal legalization. But until that happens, we anticipate outperformance from these “safer” marijuana plays.

That said, if you’re looking for huge investment returns, the time to invest is usually before the crowd piles in. That means an investment in more direct marijuana companies today could pay off huge tomorrow.

If you’re looking for help identifying marijuana investments, Matt will be hosting his first-ever Cannabis Stock Summit where he will explain the area he’s most excited about right now. It’s based on a strategy that targets a specific type of marijuana company positioned to benefit from a unique market event. Click here to learn more.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to keep you up to speed as to the status of federal reform as 2019 unfolds.


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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