Update: Facebook video I made: https://www.facebook.com/JohnBryanLaw/videos/244860226411030/
So last night I attended a great seminar on the developing legal changes in West Virginia. Here are some of my notes, regarding my take-aways… This is a completely new area of the law, and economy, in West Virginia. Here were my basic takeaways. Excuse the short-hand notes:
Things learned from the hemp seminar last night:
1. There will be a boom of investment into West Virginia, including a land rush, for hemp and medical marijuana, similar to the marcellus shale. Foreign investors and land agents are going to be looking for lease contracts. Private property owners and farmers are going to want to cash in as well. A legal quagmire is imminent, due to the next thing:
2. The difference between hemp and marijuana is a chemical difference only. You cannot tell the difference, nor can law enforcement, between hemp and M. by looking at it. A chemical analysis has to be performed. Hemp is, by law, .3% or less THC of a certain strain of marijuana plant, and therefore not illegal.
3. State and federal law, and authorities are not on the same page. The WV DOA is fully on-board and is looking to assist landowners and businesses in developing this new economy, while the feds are still looking for pot needles…… There are differences in state and federal law which can land you in big trouble very easily…..
4. Industrial hemp growing, and production, is going to be much easier than dealing with medical marijuana. Pretty much anyone is going to be able to get into hemp, so long as all owners, and land owners, pass background checks. While MM is going to be limited to 10 growers, and 10 processors….. Insert WV good ole’ boy politics.
5. Both hemp and MM are going to be cash-intensive businesses. While hemp is reasonable as far as permit fees go, there currently is no access to banking institutions, nor insurance for those activities. MM has the same problems, with the added bonus of enormous filing fees and capital requirements. To get into that business, it looks like millions in liquid capital is going to be necessary. With the added bonus of no banking, no insurance, and high legal risk. The cherry on top is that apparently the IRS is auditing pretty much 100% of these businesses….
6. LEOs are going to be very slow in understanding the legalities and the differences. You must get legal advice prior to getting involved. Transporting can be big trouble. Likely better to fully notified any applicable agencies ahead of time. Be proactive.
7. This is going to be a regulation nightmare, but it will be necessary. Permitting is going to be key. Permits will be denied based on nondisclosure, lies, or omissions. Better to be fully compliant than sorry.
Get ready and buckle up because this industry is coming; and it could be an economic boom for West Virginia. There’s a lot of money to be made, and let’s try to keep it in WV rather than the out of state investors. But as they say, you’re going to need a lot of
Lawyers, guns, and money…….
Thanks to Jennifer Mason, Esq., of Dinsmore & Shols law firm for the presentation last night. The thoughts here are my own and not hers BTW…..