ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
Regulatory and Distribution Law Updates for the Alcohol Industry
ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
Regulatory and Distribution Law Updates for the Alcohol Industry
Uncategorized
Subscribe to Uncategorized's Posts

Thank You to Our Readers

We greatly appreciate our readers over the past year and are pleased to share that we were once again recognized for our food and beverage thought leadership in the 2020 JD Supra Readers' Choice Awards, which acknowledge top authors and firms for their thought leadership in key topics during all of last year. Through our various blogs and thought leadership pieces, we are dedicated to maintaining our position as a leading firm for alcohol and cannabis work, and keeping clients abreast of significant and relevant topics in the industry.

Continue Reading

DOJ Attorneys Explain New Cannabis Enforcement Plans at Summit

US Attorneys, state officials and cannabis industry representatives met in Portland, Oregon on February 2 to discuss how to enforcement will change after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced changes to Department of Justice (DOJ) policies on the prosecution of marijuana cases. The answer: a crackdown on illegal overproduction in states where cannabis production is legal and a focus on reducing the amount of cannabis being diverted to states where it is still illegal. On January 4th, the DOJ released a memo that directed all US Attorneys to enforce “the laws enacted by Congress” and “follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities.” The memo rescinded the Cole Memo and other DOJ guidance that reduced the likelihood of federal prosecution of cannabis businesses in states that permit medical and recreational cannabis use. After the DOJ announcement, the cannabis industry was unsure of how these changes would...

Continue Reading

RICO Madness: Marijuana Operations Face RICO Challenges in Federal Courts

Don’t look now cannabis businesses, but your neighbors may be raising a racket. A June decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver may have opened the doors to new legal challenges to marijuana operations: civil suits under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). RICO was originally intended to go after the mafia and other organized crime, but its broad language means it can be applied in other settings. RICO allows a private citizen to sue “racketeers” for damage to business or property due to the racketeer's illegal activities or activities that were conducted under his guidance. Since marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the production or distribution of marijuana is considered racketeering. In this case, a Colorado couple claimed a neighboring marijuana operation was creating “noxious odors” that drifted onto their land allegedly causing the value of their property to drop. The Reillys contended that the odors...

Continue Reading

Trump Administration Indicates Plans to Increase Enforcement of Recreational Marijuana Laws

To follow up on our prediction last month that the Trump Administration may take a more aggressive stance toward the legalization of marijuana, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated during the February 23 daily briefing that he anticipates greater federal enforcement of marijuana laws.  Spicer emphasized the distinction between medical marijuana (the legalization of which President Trump does not oppose) and recreational marijuana.  In discussing the latter, Spicer invoked the country’s opioid addiction crisis, suggesting a link between recreational marijuana use and such other drugs. Spicer hinted that the Justice Department’s enforcement of federal drug laws would extend to the nine jurisdictions that have legalized recreational marijuana, potentially putting at risk the schemes many of these states have created–or are in the process of creating–to regulate marijuana.  As of today, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in Alaska, California,...

Continue Reading

The Trump Administration’s View on Marijuana: Reading the (Tea) Leaves

The incoming Trump Administration may usher in a more hostile climate to state efforts to legalize the sale and distribution of marijuana and products that contain the drug. The Obama Administration opposed the federal legalization of marijuana, but its enforcement approach, which focused on persons and entities whose conduct interferes with eight drug enforcement priorities, is outlined in a memorandum. This guidance does not have the force and effect of law, which means that the incoming Administration may replace it with a new guidance addressing prosecutorial discretion in marijuana cases. Below we examine the positions taken by President-elect Trump and his nominee for Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions, on (1) medical and recreational marijuana, (2) states’ rights, (3) attitudes toward marijuana use, and (4) enforcement of federal drug laws. President-elect Trump has made it clear that he supports medical marijuana. In a February 11, 2016...

Continue Reading

DC Council Passes Amendments to Alcohol Beverage Code

In early December 2016, the Council of the District of Columbia (the Council) unanimously passed the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment Act of 2016 (the Act). The Act amends a number of provisions of DC’s alcohol beverage laws, several of which particularly affect DC manufacturers, brew pubs, wine pubs and distillery pubs. Of general applicability to all DC licensees, the Act: Creates an exception to the general prohibition on drinking alcohol beverages in public places for events licensed by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). Amends the definition of “growler” to include both beer and wine (and also allows grocery stores to sell both beer and wine in growlers). Allows wholesalers to offer tastings of alcohol beverages to educate staff and introduce products to other licensees, including manufacturers and retailers. Requires the owner or manager of a retailer’s, manufacturer’s, or wholesaler’s license to carry valid...

Continue Reading

Issues to Consider When Buying or Selling a Craft Distillery

One of the last things anyone thinks about when embarking on a new, exciting venture (like opening their own distillery), is how things will come to an end. The fun is in the journey, in the craft – and those are rightfully the focal points for entrepreneurs running their own craft distilleries. But, inevitably, the time comes for the next adventure, the next enterprise, the next journey. An entrepreneur may have to recoup the investments they have made in their business or transfer that business to the next generation to carry it forward. No matter the driving force, there comes a time in the life cycle of every business that requires an entrepreneur to consider a sale or some other form of transaction. This article, originally published in the Winter 2016 issue of Artisan Spirit, addresses several issues that can arise when buying or selling a craft distillery.

Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Asked to Clarify the Interaction Between the 21st Amendment and the Commerce Clause

The Texas Package Stores Association has asked the US Supreme Court (via a “Petition of Certiorari”) to hear a case that could clarify the interaction between the 21st Amendment and the non-discrimination between states principle of the “dormant” Commerce Clause. The case arose in Texas, where the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ultimately held that the Supreme Court’s Granholm v. Heald (2005) decision did not limit the reach of the Commerce Clause in alcohol cases to situations where a state discriminates against producers or products. Decisions by two other federal Court of Appeal’s Circuits (the Second and the Eight) have expressly limited Granholm’s reach to discrimination against producers and products. Thus, the Texas Package Stores Association would like the Supreme Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit and explicitly limit the non-discrimination principle of Granholm to cases involving alcohol products and producers. The Supreme Court hears only a...

Continue Reading

STAY CONNECTED

TOPICS

ARCHIVES