Measure M

marijuana-269851_1920Riding the wave of victory generated by the legalization of marijuana in California back in November, Los Angeles voters cemented their commitment for marijuana reform on March 7 by voting overwhelmingly yes for Measure M. This measure, approved by 79.36% of more than 242,000 voting Los Angelenos, allows the city to repeal the current ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, and give the city tools to enforce regulations, such as authorizing fines and criminal penalties. In addition, Measure M gives the city the power to issue licenses to marijuana businesses for the first time, and lays the groundwork for marijuana sales tax revenue for the city once recreational sales begin next year.

Before Measure M

In 2013, Proposition D was approved by voters, essentially outlawing marijuana shops by limiting the number of medical marijuana dispensaries to 135. Under this proposition, Los Angeles succeeded in shutting down hundreds of illegal businesses that failed to meet the requirements for immunity. Prop D also made illegal any delivery services and required every manager of a marijuana business to publicly display results of annual LAPD background checks. Just a week before Measure M was approved, city officials were considering raids on more than 70 dispensaries.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell expects the legalization of recreational marijuana in California to bring additional challenges for his deputies. He anticipates an increase in crime and fatal traffic collisions due to a rise in overdoses caused by THC edibles with uneven dosages. McDonnell also believes there will be an expensive increase in cost associated with training officers to be able to identify drugged drivers. Also, considering the fact that marijuana is still federally illegal, the sheriff says that it is very likely there will be federal raids targeting the marijuana industry in California.

Impact of Measure M

“The passing of Proposition M is a great victory for common sense, law enforcement and all Angelenos. We gave communities a voice in the process, and their voices will be continued to be heard,” said Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson. An important consequence of Measure M is the promotion of dialogue by requiring public hearings, where neighborhood councils, homeowners’ associations, law enforcement, and the business community can participate.

Measure M sets up plans for educational programs to assist parents and teachers in determining how to keep children from being exposed to marijuana and advertising for marijuana products. The measure will establish limits on how far marijuana stores must be from schools, youth centers, and parks, and gives neighborhood associations a say in deciding how many marijuana stores are allowed in their neighborhood and how far they must be from residential areas. This type of democratic decision making and open discourse is the next essential step to combat the stigma against marijuana users and to achieve public acceptance by allowing many opposing viewpoints to come together rather than cutting a rift between groups.

“We are thrilled Angelenos voted yes on Proposition M. The measure will … provide the city with more jobs, along with millions in tax revenue toward city services each year,” said executive director of the Southern California Coalition Adam Spiker. Total marijuana sales in 2016 neared $56 billion in all of North America, and only $6.9 billion of that were from legal sales, indicating a substantial amount of potential tax revenue that has been untapped thus far. California is expected to generate approximately $1 billion in new marijuana-related taxes, under the assumption that the various counties and cities are able to work in a cohesive manner while avoiding excessively oppressive taxes that push sales back to the cartels and the illegal market. With the Trump administration threatening the federal funding of so-called “sanctuary cities” such as Los Angeles, Measure M seems like a strong fortification of the city’s funds.

Additionally, Measure M sets tough fines and penalties for unauthorized marijuana sales, helps local police prevent crime, and assures the city the ability to close down illegal marijuana stores remains. This agreeable mobilization of law enforcement resources is important to quell the fears of individuals like Sheriff McDonnell who expect an increase in crime rate. The sheriff does have a point though; there will likely be tension as a result of legal marijuana sales competing against the cartel and the illegal market. Law enforcement ramp-up is a necessary initial step to get a feel of and control the social climate that results from such a dramatic change in allowable substance use. Once statistics on crime rates and driving related fatalities are gathered, the necessity of policing marijuana related sales is expected to change.

Most importantly, Measure M creates a regulatory framework for businesses to operate legally. This facilitates the creation of new marijuana dispensaries, cultivation facilities, delivery services, and testing labs, and also allows all existing operations the opportunity to legitimize their business in the critical eyes of the public.

Click Here for more information about how FDA regulations can impact your business in medical marijuana, E-cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, and more.


Wang IP Law Group, P.C. is a Los Angeles based full service legal firm that specializes in intellectual property law (patent, trademark, copyright, and licensing agreement), business and commercial litigation, and a wide range of other legal matters including immigration, real estate, and landlord/tenant cases. Our multilingual attorneys represent clients from all over California and internationally from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel.

If you have questions or would like a consultation in regards to the content of this publication, please contact us by calling (888) 827-8880 or email us at info@TheWangIPLaw.com. For more information about the firm and the services please visit www.TheWangIPLaw.com.

Vaping in 2017

shisha-1869750_1920Following the rampant and combative anti-smoking ads of the 90’s and early 2000’s was an era filled with young people vehemently against and disgusted by smoking cigarettes. It was this revulsion that propelled the e-cigarette and vaping industry, serving the droves of people addicted to nicotine and ashamed of smoking. The growth of this industry has been exceptional, with 8,500 vape shops opening in the U.S. and the sale of vape equipment and products climbing to $3.5 billion since 2008.

Cigarettes vs. Vaporizers

Vape products today are a drastic improvement from the old, single-use e-cigarette you could buy at a gas station. Due to major technological advancements and patents over the past few years, the vaping experience has greatly departed from traditional smoking. The major concern with smoking cigarettes is that by inhaling the smoke produced by burning tobacco, you are exposed to toxic compounds including carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and carcinogens, potentially leading to lung, throat, or stomach cancer. Vaporizers, however, administer nicotine by vaporizing a liquid, allowing it to be released into the air without burning, thereby lasting longer and without toxic byproducts. Without dismissing the fact that nicotine has negative effects on the body, e-liquid has been found to be 95% safer than cigarettes.

Regulations

In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule extending regulatory authority that covers tobacco products to include vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes, e-pipes, and all other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), even though most ENDS are not even tobacco-based. With the addition of California increasing the age to buy tobacco products to 21 in the same year, the vape industry abruptly took a huge blow.

Some of these regulations are agreeable, such as banning the sale of ENDS to minors, requiring identification, and prohibiting free samples. However, manufacturers are being forced to comply retroactively with rules set out in the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, despite important qualitative differences between ENDS and tobacco based products. ENDS manufacturers are required, in the span of two years, to get pre-approval from the FDA for each vape-related product in the market after February 15, 2007, an application and process that the FDA claims will take 5000 hours and cost $330,000.00 each. The ENDS industry is still in a nascent stage, built on very recent technology, so these regulations will impact almost every single vape product in the market. Smaller manufacturers and shops will potentially be eliminated by this costly process.

The newly proposed Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017 gives the vape industry an opportunity to prepare for these regulations by limiting the FDA’s ability to regulate tobacco products. It still allows the FDA to classify ENDS as tobacco products, but it would amend existing law to provide relief to vape manufacturers. This Act would change the nominated date for newly deemed tobacco products, ensure that licensing and advertising guidelines set for vaping products are practical, and create a separate tobacco product classification for ENDS, protecting them from the regulations in place for cigarettes. Most importantly, the proposed legislation would exempt ENDS created before 2017 from being subject to the pre-approval process.

Click Here for more information about how FDA regulations can impact your business in medical marijuana, E-cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, and more.


Wang IP Law Group, P.C. is a Los Angeles based full service legal firm that specializes in intellectual property law (patent, trademark, copyright, and licensing agreement), business and commercial litigation, and a wide range of other legal matters including immigration, real estate, and landlord/tenant cases. Our multilingual attorneys represent clients from all over California and internationally from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel.

If you have questions or would like a consultation in regards to the content of this publication, please contact us by calling (888) 827-8880 or email us at info@TheWangIPLaw.com. For more information about the firm and the services please visit www.TheWangIPLaw.com.

Marijuana Progression in 2017

Often overshadowed by other aspects of this past election cycle, the legalization ofseedling-1062908_1920 recreational marijuana in three major states, including California, is a major step for federal reform. As of now, under federal law, marijuana remains illegal, classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substance Act and enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Substances classified as Schedule 1 are determined by the Food and Drug Administration to have high potential for dependency and no accepted medical use.

State vs. Federal Law

So what does it mean that marijuana is legal in California, yet is still illegal under federal law? In the case of conflicting legislation, federal law prevails, implying the illegality of marijuana throughout the country in spite of state laws. The true concern, however, isn’t whether the drug is illegal, but whether the Controlled Substance Act will be enforced. In the past, the Obama administration chose not to challenge state laws legalizing marijuana as long as those states maintained strict rules involving the sale and distribution of the drug. This means that using marijuana in a legalized state won’t be an invitation for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to come knocking on your door.

There is the possibility that this arrangement will be withdrawn by the new Trump administration. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on February 23, 2017 that the administration has no plans to continue the permissive approach of the Obama administration, viewing recreational marijuana use as a flagrant violation of federal law. However, an official stance will probably differ greatly in tone, as a completely antagonistic approach will likely receive public backlash.

THC vs. CBD

With popular attitude toward marijuana relaxing over the past decade, scientific research on the drug has made huge leaps. Considered the principal active component in marijuana due to its psychoactive effects, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has long been the prized compound, with the strain’s potency measured purely by its THC content. But THC is only one of 85 known active compounds, which includes an increasingly popular compound called cannabidiol (CBD).

CBD was originally regarded only as a counter to THC, with a higher CBD content reducing the intensity of the high and preventing feelings of paranoia. However, recent research has shown CBD to also have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties without the high-inducing effects of THC. New strains that contain a strong balance between CBD and THC are now being highly sought after.

Medical Benefits of CBD

CBD has also presented promising effects that may lead to the development of medication for difficult to treat diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, PTSD, and multiple sclerosis. Of particular significance is the drug’s use to treat Dravet’s Syndrome, a debilitating form of epilepsy that affects children. Patients suffering from this disease can have up to hundreds of seizures a day that worsen as they age. Current treatment methods include wearing an eyepatch, eating a specialized diet, and, in the worst case, having brain surgery, but none of these have a consistent success rate. Marijuana seems to be the miracle drug these patients have been waiting for. Researchers specifically developed a strain for a young Dravet’s Syndrome patient named Charlotte. This strain, called Charlotte’s Web, has a much higher level of CBD and almost no THC, making it optimal to treat seizures without inducing a high. This CBD dominant strain is a huge success, reducing Charlotte’s monthly seizure count of 1,200 to only three.

Click Here for more information about how FDA regulations can impact your business in medical marijuana, E-cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, and more.


Wang IP Law Group, P.C. is a Los Angeles based full service legal firm that specializes in intellectual property law (patent, trademark, copyright, and licensing agreement), business and commercial litigation, and a wide range of other legal matters including immigration, real estate, and landlord/tenant cases. Our multilingual attorneys represent clients from all over California and internationally from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel.

If you have questions or would like a consultation in regards to the content of this publication, please contact us by calling (888) 827-8880 or email us at info@TheWangIPLaw.com. For more information about the firm and the services please visit www.TheWangIPLaw.com.

Trading Privacy for Health?

Looking healthy has been increasingly in vogue in the past decade, runner-888016_1280with the Hollywood obsession of looking slim, tanned, and fit. People spend hours in the gym lifting weights, doing yoga, and jogging on the streets. Active wear is practically high fashion these days. Health is becoming a culture, where you compete with your friends over how many steps you take a day, how many protein shakes you have had this week, and how many hours of sleep you got last night.

And modern technology has never been so convenient about recording all of these things and streamlining all that information into accessible places. You put on your Fitbit or Apple Watch and it easily tracks information about heart rate and the amount of steps you ran on the treadmill or walked home from work. You place your phone on your nightstand and it tracks your sleeping cycles while you are sleeping at night. Synchronization makes it so that all of this information is available on your phone, tablet, laptop, or whatever other device you want. You download a program that organizes all of these things into colorful graphs, plotting sleep against blood pressure and the amount of sugars eaten against quality of sleep.

All of these applications that you have been linking together for convenience share your personal information with each other: height, weight, sleeping patterns, and diet. Although these are normally considered confidential information and protected when gathered by medical practitioners, this situation hardly calls for medical experts. This information is simply gathered and sorted by programs that collect metadata on you. GPS tracking is used to track your footsteps and used to find the places that you frequent. Internet connection lines and IP addresses allow the websites that you visit to collect information about your location. The information that you, yourself, enter into applications, such as a diet tracker about everything that you have eaten this week, is there and fair game, but the applications will also learn something about your meal times or free times that you have, during which you enter this information.

By sharing and linking more and more information about yourself, you disclose that very private information to parties that may not be trustworthy. Although there are regulations to ensure that medical applications on mobile devices have medical information locked by good cyber security, many applications are merely used to gather medical data and are thus do not fall under these standards. It is possible that your information could be collected and sold to other companies for data mining and other purposes. Your devices could be used to record your medical data without your permission, and then transmitted to someone else.

Technology tends to evolve faster and proliferates information and innovation, while laws can do naught but spend its entire time chasing after technology with policies and statutes. Whether this feels like a huge violation of privacy or just an unavoidable effect of modernization is a personal opinion, although if it is something that you feel strongly about, you should take steps to minimize the information spread.

This is likely the direction that medical care will take in the future. Already, Apple Watch has partnered with medical database Mayo Clinic to impart fitness information as well as give suggestions about living a healthy lifestyle. It is likely that in the future, medical applications will begin to diagnose health problems and even preemptively detect irregularities in health patterns. Although privacy laws can be improved upon, collection of this information already seems inevitable.

Keep in mind that the invention of the telephone was a miracle once upon a time, and people back then could not even have fathomed the necessity for a landline in every home. Today, many people no longer even have landlines, preferring to streamline all calls into their smartphones, which also act as television, computer, and camera.  Technology only continues to advance in an effort to make life more convenient for people. You can either work with the flow, or against it.

Click Here for more information about the modernization of technology and laws relating to new media.


Wang IP Law Group, P.C. is a Los Angeles based full service legal firm that specializes in intellectual property law (patent, trademark, copyright, and licensing agreement), business and commercial litigation, and a wide range of other legal matters including immigration, real estate, and landlord/tenant cases. Our multilingual attorneys represent clients from all over California and internationally from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel.

If you have questions or would like a consultation in regards to the content of this publication, please contact us by calling (888) 827-8880 or email us at info@TheWangIPLaw.com. For more information about the firm and the services please visit www.TheWangIPLaw.com.

How to Write a Business Plan

A business plan is one of the most important documents to have, whether your business is just beginning, or readily established. Many people mistake it as a tool only used in order to attract investors and obtain bank loans, and believe it is not necessary if they feel their company is already financed. However, a business plan also lays out growth projections and the direction you wish to take the business in a few years’ time. Drafting a business plan forces you to review your business strategies in order to make sure your goals are viable.

Before You Write:

Length: Concise and straightforward is the way to go. The plan can be anywhere from ten to forty pages. Just make sure it’s long enough to clearly state your goals and projections.

Language: Try to stay away from very technical language and acronyms, as that would be confusing to a regular person. You want your business plan to be as accessible as possible and easily skimmed when read.

Visuals: A block of text is too dense to read comfortably. Back up your data with appealing graphs and charts so that readers will have an easier time understanding the information. This will also make it easier to put together a presentation for investors later, who prefer engaging with visuals and oral explanations rather than written ones.

Business Plan Body: 

Executive Summery: This first part of your business plan gives a quick “elevator pitch” style summary about your business, including the mission statement and long-term goals that the business has. Include financial information, growth highlights, and also a convincing argument on how your business differentiates itself from the competition. Your executive summary should be short and to the point, so that people will be interested in reading the rest of your business plan.

Business Description: Go into more detail about your business, the services that you provide, as well as information about the business owners. This includes information about the market your business belongs to, the marketplace’s needs, and how your services satisfy those needs. What makes your business different from others? Why do you think your business will succeed?

Marketing Strategies: Explain your industry, making sure to include its historical trends and future projections, the size of the market, and the types of customers you expect. Who are the major players, both consumer and competition? Address the needs that your services are solving for potential customers and how much of the market you are expecting to capture, as well as the demographics of the targeted consumers. You should also take the time to discuss your pricing and promotion strategies and how aggressively you plan on marketing in your initial years. Additionally, note any government or industry regulations that may impact your market and how they could affect your business.

Competitive Analysis: What is the market competition like? What percentage of the market do they control and how much overlap is there between your target consumers and your competitors’? Think about the barriers to entry and the ease of success in the market. Ensure that you have a thought-out market penetration plan and growth strategy. Make projections for the next year, three years, and five years. These will become your goals and keep you on track after your business gets rolling.

Operations and Management Plan: How is your business structured? List out the important directors and managers and describe their roles and qualifications. Additionally, describe the different departments in your company and their purpose. Block and line charts, as well as flow charts are useful in situations like this. Explain the backgrounds of the owners as well. Underline the merits of the organizational team that you have put together, explaining how every person’s strengths complement each other.

Financial Plan: If your business has been established for some time, you should include your public financial information, including cash flow statements, income statements, loan collateral, and balance sheets for the previous three years. If you are just starting your business, include your forecasts for all of the above, as well as other financial information projections such as capital expenditure budgets. It is important that your funding requests are compatible with your projections. Be sure to include graphs and charts in this section to aid the visualization of the information you have shown.

Appendix: Depending on your business, you may or may not need an appendix. This section is used to include information you may not want to disclose in the body of your business plan. While your business plan is public, certain readers such as creditors and banks will request your credit history, permits, leases, or legal documents. Add these to the appendix on a need-to-know basis in their copies of the business plan.

A business plan is often called the roadmap of your business because it dictates your goals and plans on achieving those business goals. It provides guidance and reassurance. You should revise your business plan once every few years in order to set new long-term goals for your company.

Click Here for more information about business plans and other business law related matters.


Wang IP Law Group, P.C. is a Los Angeles based full service legal firm that specializes in intellectual property law (patent, trademark, copyright, and licensing agreement), business and commercial litigation, and a wide range of other legal matters, including immigration, real estate, and landlord/tenant cases. Our multilingual attorneys represent clients from all over California and internationally from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel.

If you have questions or would like a consultation in regards to the content of this publication, please contact us by calling (888) 827-8880 or email us at info@theWangIPLaw.com. For more information about the firm and the services please visit www.TheWangIPLaw.com.