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WINTER LLP UPDATE: Transition Period FAQ Update – Clarification for MANUFACTURERS re THC Limits on Products prior to 1/1/18

Hello all,

As you may recall, there was some confusion regarding the applicable THC limits for cannabis products manufactured prior to January 1, 2018. Specifically, the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) required cannabis products that were manufactured prior to January 1, 2018 to meet the applicable THC limits (100 mg for edibles, 1000-2000mg for concentrates). However, the Bureau of Cannabis Control also indicated in their Emergency Regulations that products manufactured prior to January 1, 2018 could only enter the market if basic packaging and labeling requirements were met (no THC limits). These two statements were obviously contradictory and caused a lot of confusion in the industry.

Well, we are pleased to announce that, as a likely result of the comments we submitted, the MCSB has released a new FAQ today which clarifies the above as follows:

“During the transition period, which lasts from January 1 until July 1, 2018, cannabis products may enter the commercial cannabis market if they have child-resistant packaging and the label contains the government warning statement and the amount of THC per serving.”

To be completely clear, there is now no mention of meeting the applicable THC limits for products manufactured prior to January 1, 2018 in this newly released update. This should be welcome news to many of you and your distributors.

Please note, however, products manufactured on or after January 1, 2018 still must meet all of the required packaging and applicable THC limits.

We hope the above is helpful. Please feel free to contact us with any questions. Thank you.

Thank you. Todd Winter, WINTER LLP.

WINTER LLP UPDATE: URGENT – CANNABIS CONSULTANTS / PACKAGING / LOBBYISTS / ETC.

Hello Everyone,

It is becoming painfully obvious to us that the so called cannabis consultants, packaging and design companies, lobbyists, and others target marketing cannabis clients in our industry, do not possess the level of knowledge or expertise necessary to legitimately and correctly advise cannabis companies in California w/re to local permitting, state licensing, real estate compliance, trademarks, and most recently packaging. We, as a firm, are spending a tremendous amount of our time fixing problems for clients who have engaged non-experts in these areas.

PLEASE BE ADVISED, 100% of ALL client packaging that HAS been sent to us for COMPLIANCE review HAS FAILED. Every single package we have reviewed has been non-compliant forcing clients to spend 1,000’s to fix. Don’t let this happen to you.

We understand you are all under severe pressure and time constraints to get licensed and get your products out in the market and flowing again. But in doing so, please don’t rely on these companies for legal compliance, permitting, state licensing, trademarks, or packaging. It will cost you much more time and money in the end. We can literally save you 10’s of thousands in design and packaging costs alone, if you just send us your designs/packaging for review first.

Please let us help you on the front end of your projects to avoid unnecessary delays, costs, and/or worse loss of permits and licensing.

For your convenience and reference, I am re-attaching our Packaging and Labeling Compliance Worksheet that we circulated a few weeks ago.

Thank you, stay safe, and good luck out there! Todd Winter, WINTER LLP.

[WINTER LLP WARNING] Breaking News: SOS now accepting trademark applications for cannabis products

Hello all,

As you may have seen announced, California is now (allegedly) accepting trademark applications for cannabis products.

PLEASE BE ADVISED, we have been in constant contact with the CA Secretary of State and it is painfully clear that they have no idea what they are doing. None whatsoever. So, although it may seem tempting to apply for these state based trademarks, we are not recommending clients proceed with the California based trademarks at this time. Rather, we are advising on a wait and see approach. It’s going to be very messy…

However, if you want to proceed, please see the following:

State CA Trademarks:

Through our internal office discussion, we still believe that federal trademarks offer the strongest brand protection for your cannabis-related goods/services. That is because only with federal registration you are allowed to use ® (only can use ™ for State registration), and federal registration preclude later filed state registrations.

If you are still reading, and still want to proceed, we spoke with the Secretary of State’s Office earlier today and they indicated that cannabis-related marks may be registered with the CA Secretary of State so long as (1) the mark is lawfully in use in commerce within California; and (2) matches the classification of goods and services adopted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Additionally, only cannabis products that are allowed in CA regulations will be trademarked.

Currently prohibited items include but are not limited to:

  • Products that contain alcohol, nicotine, or added caffeine
  • Products that must be held below 41 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Vacuum packed products
  • Canned cannabis products
  • Cannabis-infused juice
  • Products that are easily confused with non-infused products
  • Edibles in the shape of human, animal, insect, or fruit
  • Most dairy and meat products
  • Cannabis related products that are attractive to children
  • Products that resemble traditionally available food packages
  • Products that exceed the maximum of 10 mg of THC per serving and 100 mg of TCH per package.

PLEASE BE ADVISED, there is NO classification of goods and services for cannabis in the USPTO system!! The State Office said we would have to use the “most appropriate USPTO class” for the cannabis product/service. Our most commonly used trademark classes have historically been in Class 003 (essential oils); Class 005 (herbal supplements) and Class 34 (smoking articles, cartridges, oils), and other food or candy related classes in applying with the USPTO. So our likely strategy with applying with the State will be to add THC/CBD to the description of goods in the aforementioned classes, i.e. “essential oils containing THC; herbal supplements containing THC; cartridges infused with THC/CBD, etc.”

Please contact our office if you are still interested in proceeding, and we will help you as best we can. But please note, we will probably try to convince you to file directly with the USPTO instead.

Thank you. Todd Winter, WINTER LLP.

URGENT – California Cannabis-Related Trademarks (Cannabizfile Online Cannabis Business Portal)

Dear All,

Many of you have contacted us regarding California Cannabis-Related Trademarks. As you know, California Secretary of State’s Office released a press statement this month containing information about registering a cannabis-related trademark or service mark with the Secretary of State’s Office.

The State Trademark Unit has confirmed with us that the CA State Legislature will be voting on the State Classification Code for cannabis-related trademarks as early as January 2, 2018. Once the cannabis Classification Code is released, we will be able to assist you with applications for registration of a cannabis-related trademark with the State.

The basic requirements to file a Trademark or Service Mark in CA are as follows:

  • The mark must be available on the USPTO trademark database and in California (for all similar or related goods and services). This means YOU CANNOT INFRINGE ON AN EXISTING FEDERAL OR STATE (COMMON LAW OR REGISTERED) TRADEMARK.
  • You must be using the mark in commerce in California. Please note that for State Trademarks/Service Marks, you cannot file based on “Intent-to-Use” (Future Use).
  • If the mark is merely descriptive (i.e. the mark describes an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, purpose or use of the goods or services), it may not be registrable.
  • You must have a drawing of your mark on an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper.
  • If any part of your mark is not in English, you must submit a certified translation in English.
  • You must submit Three (3) Identical (three of the same) Specimens that show the mark in use in commerce. If the Application is signed by an individual on behalf of the Owner (Registrant), you must include a copy of the agreement signed by the Owner (Registrant) authorizing the individual to sign the Application on behalf of the Owner (Registrant).

PLEASE BE ADVISED, FEDERAL TRADEMARKS (REGISTRATIONS) ARE SUPERIOR TO STATE REGISTRATIONS. If a federally registered trademark was in use before a State registered trademark, the federal registrant can stop the State trademark owner from using the mark. Moreover, State trademark registration does not give you the right to use the symbol ®. You may use either TM for a State trademark or SM for a State service mark.

The benefit of the CA State trademark or service marks, however, is that it will protect your cannabis-related trademarks in California. Therefore although State registration is not required, we would recommend federal registrants (and non-registrants) to apply for a State trademark/service mark for cannabis-related goods and services.

Our Flat Fees for filing are as follows:

  • $250.00 for Trademark Clearance Search and Report.
  • $500.00 Legal Fees for preparation and filing, plus $70.00 filing fee per classification code. If more than one classification code is listed, then a $70.00 filing fee is required for each classification.

Please also note, along with some of our most entrepreneurial clients, we pioneered cannabis-related trademarks in the United States. There will be many attorneys and consultants with no trademark experience marketing their services to you for these California cannabis trademarks. Do not trust your state level filings with just anyone. Trademarks are much more complex than you realize. And if filed incorrectly, you run the risk of your brands being shut down and you being sued for profits and damages. We are experienced trademark attorneys, and have a state of the art trademark docket system (database) where we track and manage over 300+ trademarks for our clients throughout the world

We will keep you notified of any updates from the State as soon as they are released. Should you have any questions on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you. Todd Winter, WINTER LLP.

Winter LLP Update: Temporary Permits Q&A

Greetings!

As many of you may already aware, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) released the Temporary Applications for Retailers, Distributors, Microbusinesses, and Testing Labs, and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) released their Temporary Applications for Manufacturers today. CalCannabis has not yet released its Temporary Application for Cultivators.

Please note that there are 3 agencies (BCC, MCSB, and CalCannabis) issuing different license types, and each agency has their own website and different application requirements. Below you will find a brief outline of the required documents and submittal processes from the BCC and MCSB.

We strongly recommend that you contact our office to either (1) assist with completing required application forms; and/or (2) review the required application documents before submittal.

  1. What documents do I need to submit to the BCC as a Retailer, Distributor, Microbusiness, or Testing Lab for a Temporary License?
    1. Temporary License Application
    2. Premises Diagram Form

i. Please carefully review the attached Premises Diagram form in each respective License folder. The requirements are very specific and will likely require the assistance of an architect to draft.

    1. Local Authorization Document
    2. Evidence of Legal Right to Occupy

i. Deed or Title; OR

ii. Lease AND Statement from Property Owner authorizing commercial cannabis activities

  1. How do I submit the Temporary License Application for a Retailer, Distributor, Microbusiness, or Testing Lab?

You will need to create an online account with the BCC (https://www.bcc.ca.gov/). Please see attached “BCC Online Licensing Instructions.” Please note that all required information must be submitted via the online licensing system, including uploading any additional required documents (Premises Diagram, Local Authorization, Evidence of Legal Right to Occupy).

If there is more than 1 owner/applicant, only 1 person needs to submit the application. All other owners will be listed on the application.

There is no application or licensing fee.

  1. What Documents do I need to submit to MCSB as a Manufacturer for a Temporary License?
    1. Temporary License Application
    2. Local Authorization Document
  1. Do I need to submit the Premises Diagram Form or Evidence of Legal Right to Occupy for the Temporary Manufacturing License?

It does not appear that you need to submit the Premises Diagram Form or Evidence of Legal Right to Occupy for the Temporary Manufacturing License.

  1. How do I submit the Temporary License Application for a Manufacturer?

You will need to submit the Application Form and Local Authorization Document via Email OR Mail:

Email to: MCLS@cdph.ca.gov OR

Mail to:

CDPH – Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch Attn: Licensing Unit

PO Box 997377, MS-7606

Sacramento, CA 95899-7377

There is no application or licensing fee.

Thank you, stay safe, and good luck out there! Todd Winter, WINTER LLP.

Please contact us directly with any questions, or if you need assistance.

Winter LLP Update: State Licensing Regulations – Summaries

Hello Again,

We understand that most of you are working hard towards achieving compliance beginning January 1. So as a follow-up to our recent update regarding the newly released state regulations, we want to provide you with summaries of some of the more important details that we have identified in the state regulations.

As many of you may know, the California cannabis industry will now be governed by three state agencies. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) is responsible for regulating distribution, retail and testing, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will oversee manufacturing (which includes packaging and labeling), and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will govern cultivation.

BCC Regulations – Distribution, Retail, and Testing

Distribution

There are three different types of distribution licenses (all falling under License Type 11) under the BCC Regulations. All transportation of cannabis or cannabis products must be conducted by a Distributor Licensee or its employees.

  • Distributor (Standard)
    • The holder of a Distributor License does the following: arranges for testing, checks for appropriate packaging and labeling, collects taxes, transports cannabis and cannabis products, and acts as a cannabis wholesaler.
    • Cannabis and cannabis products must pass through a Standard Distributor prior to being sold to customers at a retail establishment.
    • Distributors may package and label cannabis, but not manufactured cannabis products.
  • Transport Only – Self Distributor
    • The holder of a Transport Only Self Distribution License is permitted to transport only its own cannabis and cannabis products, but cannot perform any other function of a Distributor.
    • Transportation to retail licensees is prohibited by a Transport Only License. The lone exception is for the transportation of immature plants and seeds from a nursery to a retailer.
      • Allowed: Cultivator wants to transport its raw products to manufacturer.
      • Not Allowed: Manufacturer wants to transport its products to Dispensary.
  • Transport Only – Third Party
    • A Third Party Transport Only License is identical to a Self-Distributor License, except that it allows the permit holder to transport the cannabis and cannabis products of other licensees rather than their own.
    • Transportation to a retail licensee is prohibited.
      • Allowed: Transportation company wants to deliver products among licensees.
      • Not allowed: Manufacturer wants to transport products to Dispensary.

Retail

  • Retailers cannot package or label cannabis or cannabis products on the premises. All products must be packaged and labeled prior to arriving at the retailer.
  • During the Transition Period, which lasts between January 1 and July 1, retailers may receive products that do not meet packaging and labeling standards. However, before selling to consumers, the retailer must place the products in secondary packaging subject to certain requirements.
  • Retailers may only be open to the public between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
  • All products must be placed in an opaque bag before leaving the retail premises.
  • All deliveries must be made by a direct employee of the licensee to a physical address within CA.
  • Delivery vehicles may contain a maximum of $3000 worth of cannabis or cannabis products at any time.

Testing

  • Provisional Licenses – Testing Labs that are awaiting accreditation from the joint technical committee of the International Organization for Standardization and the Electrotechnical Commission may obtain a 12 month provisional license if they meet all other requirements. The Provisional License may be extended an additional 12 months if the applicant is still awaiting accreditation.

CDPH Regulations – Manufacturing

  • Ethanol is now considered a nonvolatile solvent
  • There are four types of manufacturing licenses:
    • Type 7 – Extraction using volatile solvents (can also do everything a Type 6, Type N, and Type P licensee can do)
    • Type 6 – Extraction using only non-volatile solvents (can also do everything a Type N and Type P licensee can do)
    • Type N – Infusions (can also do everything a Type P licensee can do)
    • Type P – Packaging and labeling only
  • A new license, “Type S,” is expected to be issued starting in early 2018 which will allow businesses to share facility space.

CDFA Regulations – Cultivation

  • Type 5 Large Cultivation licenses will not become available until 2023
  • All individuals and entities are limited to only one Type 3-Medium Outdoor, Type-3A-Medium Indoor, or Type 3B-Medium Mixed-Light A-License or M-License. This means that an individual owner in an entity that holds a Medium Cultivation license cannot also own 20% or more of any other entity that also holds a Medium Cultivation license of any type.
    • There is no equivalent limit on Type 1 or 2 Cultivation Permits or aggregate limit on cultivation. Meaning that an applicant may own 10, 20, or more Type 2 Small Outdoor, Indoor, or Mixed Light grows, and all on the same Premises if you have a large enough parcel or building.
      • Practical Note: Based on the limits of Type 3 permits above, we see no net benefit in trying to obtain a Type 3 permit unless that is all you ever want to own, or unless you are part of a group where each of you will always own less than 20% of the permit. Instead, since many of our clients have multiple cultivation projects, and large enough Premises (parcels or warehouses), we recommend breaking up your cultivation projects into the unlimited variety with the smaller Type 2 permits.
  • A new Processor License type has been created which allows licensees to trim, dry, cure, grade, and package cannabis. Growing cannabis is not permitted under a Processor License.

The newly issued regulations are quite extensive, totaling around 300 pages, and address nearly every aspect of the cannabis industry. The information above is intended only to highlight some of the more important details we have identified in the regulations, and by no means is meant to serve as a complete summary of the regulations. Should you have questions about any of the information above, or about any of the rules and requirements contained in the regulations, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Next, please be on the lookout from our team for further information on Temporary Permits, including required documents, fees, and due dates.

With the addition of Kurt Ketchum, Esq. as an Associate Attorney in our Costa Mesa office, and the promotion of Wendy Lei, Esq. to Senior Associate, we are poised and ready to help each and every one of you navigate and obtain Temporary State Licenses. In addition to everything else we do for our clients…corporate transactions, contracts, regulatory, real estate, trademarks and intellectual property licensing.

You’ve all worked incredibly hard and faced adversity every step of the way the past several years to get to this moment. This is finally your time. Let’s go!

Winter LLP Update: State Licensing Regulations; and Packaging and Labeling Compliance

Hello all,

As many of you are already aware, California’s three state cannabis licensing authorities (Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Cannabis Control; Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch; and Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division) released proposed emergency licensing regulations on Thursday, November 16, 2017. We will be providing comprehensive summaries for each license type in the coming days.

We understand that many of you are anxious to order compliant labels and packages per the updated regulations. Therefore, attached please find the revised Packaging and Labeling Compliance Check Worksheet per the Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch’s newly released regulations. Please review carefully and ensure that your packages and labels will meet these standards. Although we will try to keep you informed with the most up-to-date regulations, they are subject to further change.

Additionally, please note the following important updates:

THC Limits

  • Edibles
    • 10 mg serving
    • 100 mg per package
  • Tinctures, Capsules, Topicals
    • 10000 mg/package for adult-use
    • 2,000 mg/package for medicinal-use

Universal Symbol

Prohibited Products

  • Products cannot be infused with nicotine or alcohol or have added caffeine.
  • Edible products cannot be shaped like a human, animal, insect, or fruit.
  • The label may not refer to the product as a candy.
  • Meat and seafood, and other products requiring refrigeration, are prohibited for sale as cannabis products. Juice and dried meat made in accordance with requirements are allowed.

What is “child resistant” packaging?

A package is deemed child-resistant if it satisfies the standard for “special packaging” under the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 (16 C.F.R. §1700.1(b)(4)).

  • 16 C.F.R. §1700.1(b)(4): Special packaging means packaging that is designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under 5 years of age to open or obtain a toxic or harmful amount of the substance contained therein within a reasonable time and not difficult for normal adults to use properly, but does not mean packaging which all such children cannot open or obtain a toxic or harmful amount within a reasonable time.

Transition Period

During the Transition Period between January 1, 2018 – July 1, 2018, licensees may do the following:

  • Conduct business with other licensees irrespective of the M or A designation on their licenses.
  • Transport cannabis goods that do not meet the labeling requirements (prescribed by MAUCRSA or the California Department of Public Health) if a sticker with the appropriate warning statement is affixed.
  • Sell cannabis goods held in inventory that are not in child-resistant packaging if they are placed into child-resistant packaging by the retailer at the time of sale.
  • Sell cannabis products that do not meet the medicinal THC limits per package established by the state Department of Public Health.
  • Sell and transport cannabis goods that have not undergone laboratory testing if a label stating that they have not been tested is affixed to each package containing the goods prior to transport by a distributor or prior to sale if held by a retailer. “These cannabis goods have not been tested as required under BPC Section 26070(1).”
  • Individually package and sell dried flower held in inventory by a retailer at the time of licensure.
  • Cannabis products held in inventory by a retailer that do not meet the requirements set by the state Department of Public Health for ingredients or appearance may be sold by a retailer.

Products in possession of a manufacturer prior to January 1, 2018 may enter the commercial cannabis market provided that all of the following conditions are met:

  • The cannabis product is packaged in child-resistant packaging.
  • The cannabis product contains the government warning required (GOVERNMENT WARNING: THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS CANNABIS, A SCHEDULE I CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS. CANNABIS PRODUCTS MAY ONLY BE POSSESSED OR CONSUMED BY PERSONS 21 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER UNLESS THE PERSON IS A QUALIFIED PATIENT. THE INTOXICATING EFFECTS OF CANNABIS PRODUCTS MAY BE DELAYED UP TO TWO HOURS. CANNABIS USE WHILE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING MAY BE HARMFUL. CONSUMPTION OF CANNABIS PRODUCTS IMPAIRS YOUR ABILITY TO DRIVE AND OPERATE MACHINERY. PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION.)
  • The cannabis product contains the amount of THC and, if applicable, CBD per serving and per package.

Therefore all inventory prior to January 1, 2018, should be date-stamped to ensure that they are able to transported and sold during the Transition Period.

Should you have any questions about any of the above, or would like us to review your specific packages/labels to ensure compliance, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team.

Thank you, stay safe, and good luck out there! Todd Winter, WINTER LLP.