Arizona Bar members gathered early November 2019 to discuss the legal framework of the Cannabis business locally and nationally. Business and trademark attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta participated in the panel, contributing his expertise in several aspects of the laws and regulations that affect the cannabis businesses.
Cannabis in Arizona is legal for medical purposes since 2010 but illegal for recreational use. Still, there are important considerations to note.
Here is the lowdown in 5 bullets.
1.-Cannabis (Marijuana) use and commerce is still a federal crime in the USA.
No matter if your state has legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, under federal law it is a crime, for now. This has important implications such as on the financial side, transportation of the product, intellectual property, etc. Users should always be aware of the laws active in different jurisdictions.
2.-There is a relaxation on financial regulations related to cannabis businesses
Banks and financial institutions are finding ways to relax some regulations and rules regarding the monies from the cannabis business, and congress is taking steps to change the laws.
Just last September, by a vote of 321-103, the House of Representatives approved a bill that would allow banks to provide services to cannabis companies in states where it is legal. Although the passing of the bill is still pending in the Senate, there is a recognition that the financial systems should be allowed to manage proceeds from cannabis businesses.
3.-To this day, Cannabis still is a highly regulated business.
Operators and business owners need to consult with financial and legal experts to navigate all the requirements in different jurisdictions.
4.-Non-citizens are on different plainfield regarding cannabis.
Permanent legal residents and undocumented immigrants, Including medicinal marijuana cardholders, should know that they would not be judged the same as a regular citizen in relationship with the use, transport, selling and buying of marijuana.
In fact, they can face deportation by federal authorities such as ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) if caught using, selling or transporting, even in jurisdictions that allow recreational use. Remember bullet number 1: Cannabis is still a crime at the federal level.
5.-There is not federal trademark protection for Cannabis products now, but….
There can be trademark and intellectual property protection for ancillary products and services. An intellectual property attorney can help to protect brands peripheral to the cannabis per se, at the federal level.
Please read our blog on the changing cannabis landscape with USTPO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office). Click here.
Marcos E. Garciaacosta is a Business, Intellectual Property, and Trademark attorney who can help you transform your brands into trademarks.
Call us at (480) 324-6378 to schedule a consultation. We serve small businesses, individuals, non-profits, and corporations for all their business needs.