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Capitol Compliance Management offers to help businesses comply with laws that affect the cannabis industry.
So it came as a surprise when city officials shut down the company's "Holiday Budtender Bash" before it started. It was supposed to be an event for attendees to "smoke out with your favorite budtenders" and try out the "dab bar" where people could sample the latest products.
Somehow, the company attorney didn't get the memo because that party was against the law.
Joe Devlin, chief of cannabis policy and enforcement at California's capitol city, told the compliance company that it would violate state and local laws to allow public consumption of marijuana. He also said it was illegal to give away marijuana, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Matt Haines, the company's compliance manager, reportedly said he didn't know about the party. He said the marketing department came up with the idea without his knowledge.
In any case, it was a bad idea. Devlin, who was hired as the city's drug czar last year, said it was hard to understand.
"It causes me concern that a compliance company doesn't understand the rules as well as they should," Devlin said.
Like many California cities, Sacramento stands to make money under laws that made recreational marijuana use legal on Jan. 1. But it is not a free-for-all.
"On the enforcement-part side of commercial cannabis, there are rules and everyone is going to have to follow them," Devlin said. "Period."
It is critically important for corporate counsel to ensure compliance, especially since state laws do not protect cannabis businesses from federal enforcement. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently gave government attorneys the green-light to go after the marijuana industry.
And then there are the private attorneys who are suing the businesses under racketeering laws. Uh, yeah, the party might be over sooner than you think.
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