How Will Legalized Marijuana Affect You and Your Business?

marijuana-leafOn November 8, 2016 California voters passed Proposition 64, “The Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” which legalized the recreational use and possession of marijuana for adults 21 and over in the state of California.  California is now the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana, after being the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.

As of November 9, 2016, adults 21 and over can now legally use and possess up to an ounce of marijuana buds, and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana.  However, such use must be done privately, as it is still illegal to smoke in public places, or on the grounds of a school, day care center, or youth care center while children are present.  Furthermore, it is still illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana or any other drug.

It is unlikely that residents will be able to walk into a dispensary to purchase marijuana without a medical card until January 1, 2018, the deadline for the state to set up a licensing system for dispensaries.

In the meantime, adults are permitted to grow up to six marijuana plants in their private home, inside or outside, as long as the plants are in an enclosed and secured space.  Residents can grow more than one ounce at a marijuana-illustrationtime, but any amount in excess of the statewide limits must remain in the home.  Growers are free however, to give away any excess marijuana they cultivate, as long as it is free of charge.

For Previously Convicted Individuals

Proposition 64 will also affect those with prior marijuana convictions, as it authorizes re-sentencing and deconstruction of records for old convictions that would now  be legal under the new law.

What does this new law mean for California employers?

For now at least, nothing changes.  Employers still have the right to maintain a drug-free workplace, and drug test prospective or current employees in keeping with the current law and their policies. This means that an employee can still be fired for testing positive for marijuana, even if their last use was off-work hours or because of a medical disability. However, employers should be cautious, as the latter could lead to disability discrimination claims.  This issues can be address in an Employee Handbook, which should be revised annually to reflect changes in California law.

Effective January 1, 2018, a 15 percent excise tax is imposed upon purchasers of all marijuana and marijuana products. Additionally, a tax on cultivators of marijuana is imposed as follows:

  • $9.25 per dry-weight ounce of marijuana flowers
  • $2.75 per dry-weight ounce of marijuana leaves

The new law is expected to bring in at least $1 billion in additional revenue to California annually, which will be deposited into a new California Marijuana Tax Fund, and allocated to drug research, treatment programs, and law enforcement.


  • JGrady Firm-Logo-2016The Grady Firm, P.C. attorneys specialize in helping businesses grow and succeed through employment, business, and immigration law advising for clients in California.  For California employers, they help perform personnel audits, train employers on employment law compliance, provide on-demand legal analysis for hiring and firing questions, provide leadership and sexual harassment training in English and Spanish, and answer any questions about changes in federal and state law.

To learn more about ensuring your business is compliant with state and local laws, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (323) 450-9010; or fill out a Contact Request Form.

*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.

Minimum Wage & Paid Sick Leave Law Updates for California Cities and Counties

On April 4, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed the “Fair Wage Act of 2016,” a bill that aims to increase California’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by the year 2022. Under California law, employers must also offer employees at least 3 days, or 24 hours, of sick leave per year. This statewide law applies to all cities and counties within the state of California. However, some cities within California have chosen to add to the statewide laws with their own more expansive minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinances. As it can be difficult for employers to keep track of all these constant changes, we have taken the time to highlight some of those changes in several major California cities.

CALIFORNIA STATE LAW- ALL COUNTIES

As of January 1, 2016 the required minimum wage for the state of California is $10.00 per hour. On January 1, 2017, the minimum wage for business with 26 employees or more will increase to $10.50 an hour. On January 1, 2018 it will increase to $11.00 an hour and by $1 each subsequent year until it reaches $15.00 in 2022. Employers with 25 employees or less will have an extra year to comply with the new law, and the wage increase will not go into effect until January 1, 2018.

In addition, any employee who works in California for 30 or more days is entitled to receive paid sick leave. An employer is required to provide a minimum of 3 days of sick leave per year, and after 90 days of employment an employee may begin to accrue sick leave at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Accrued sick leave may be carried over to the next year, however an employer may choose to cap the amount of paid six leave an employee may use per year to 6 days or 48 hours.

Notice to Employees

Employers must provide notice of these laws to employees by: (1) Displaying the state’s official poster; (2) Including paid sick leave information in the wage notices of nonexempt employees; and (3) Including the amount of paid sick leave available in the employees’ wage statements. Employers must also keep records documenting hours worked and paid sick leave accrued for the last 3 years.

These minimum statewide laws apply to all cities and counties in California, and includes the regions below.

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Santa Monica, CA Minimum Wage Increase to Take Effect on July 1, 2016

california.unsplash

On April 28, 2016, the Santa Monica City Council adopted a mandatory minimum wage increase to $10.50 per hour, which will take effect on July 1, 2016.

Santa Monica’s new ordinance mirrors the minimum wage laws adopted by Los Angeles earlier this year. Continue reading

Starting or Relocating a Business Within California? Check out these Little-Known Tax and Setup Incentives

california.unsplashby Jennifer Grady, Esq.

The State of California offers numerous incentives and assistance programs to  businesses of all sizes and industries that are considering expansion into the Golden State, whether they plan to have 3, 50, or 20,000+ employees.

From tax breaks, to help with site selection, to employee training, and development bonds, there are numerous government-sponsored programs in place to help small to large businesses successfully transition to opening business in the state. Below are some examples of the types of business support available in California.

Programs and Services from GO-Biz, The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development

 Site Selection AssistanceGO-Biz Logo (web)

GO-Biz will conduct a confidential site selection search on your behalf, or provide you with a broker to guide you through the local commercial real estate market.

In addition, GO-Biz will send out a Request for Information to city managers and economic development departments to obtain off-market information about city, state, and county-owned properties available for lease for discounted rates, even as little as $1.00 per year.

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The Grady Firm Joins the Roster for LA Innovation Week as Presenter on Startup Legal Issues & Solutions #LAIW2015

Los Angeles Innovation Week 2015 Launches With More Than 100 Events, Exhibiting LA’s Global Leadership in Innovation

LAIW#The Grady Firm, PC has been selected as a presenter at Los Angeles Innovation Week, a countywide celebration of the breadth of innovation and creativity within Los Angeles sponsored by LA Metro, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), and the Los Angeles Times. From clean tech, to gaming, to aerospace, digital media, and beyond, Los Angeles is a leading global center for innovation and entrepreneurship rooted in boundless creativity and diversity.  Other hosts of Innovation Week events include Cross Campus, Microsoft, WeWork, Apple, ExpertDojo, and YouTube Space LA.

On Tuesday, October 20, Jennifer Grady will be addressing entrepreneurs with ways to protect their innovative small businesses thorough The Top 10 Tools Business Owners Need to Know From a Business and Employment Law Attorney.”  The presentation will take place from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. at The Grady Firm headquarters in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles. Continue reading

$11 Million Awarded in Job Training Funds to Employers by California Employment Training Panel

California-State-Capitol1SACRAMENTO – On September 25, 2015, the State of California’s Employment Training Panel approved more than $11 million to train more than 12,880 workers throughout California.  In total, the panel approved 42 training contracts aimed at supporting job creation and retention while increasing opportunities for workers through the development of job skills and training. The Employment Training Panel (ETP) provides funding to employers to assist in upgrading the skills of their workers through training that leads to good paying, long-term jobs.

The ETP was created in 1982 by the California State Legislature and is funded by California employers through a special payroll tax.  There are millions of dollars in this account accessible to employers each year. The ETP is a funding agency, not a training agency; therefore employers can determine their own training needs and who provides their training.

“These training contracts are significant economic development tools for businesses and their employees,” said Stewart Knox, the Employment Training Panel’s Executive Director. “Workers receive job training for well-paying jobs, and businesses can grow their workforce and revenue.”

Changes to California Paid Sick Leave Requirements on July 13, 2015

sick leaveBy Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

The new Paid Sick Leave law that went into effect in California on July 1, 2015 was already amended less than two weeks after it took effect on July 1, 2105. This means that employers may have to revisit, and most likely update their paid leave policies and Employee Handbooks.

An employer must individually notify all employees hired prior to January 1, 2015 of changes to terms and conditions of employment that relate to paid sick leave within 7 days of the actual change. Information concerning any new or previously existing paid sick leave program that includes information required to be given to each employee by Labor Code section 2810.5(a), must be provided to all employees. A revised DLSE notice form may be used for providing individual notice to these existing employees unless the employer chooses an authorized alternative method. Continue reading

July Ushers in New Paid Sick Leave Requirements for California Employers

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

sick leaveOn July 1, 2015, a new law affecting millions of Californians went into effect requiring that employers – both public and private – provide paid sick leave to all their employees. Under the new law, employers will have to modify or update existing paid sick leave or time off policies, as well as payroll, recordkeeping, and employee notice procedures.

The “Healthy, Workplace, Healthy Families Act” (AB-1522) signed into effect by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. applies to all employees who work in California for thirty (30) or more days in a year. The law defines “employer” as any person employing another under any appointment or contract of hire” regardless of how many (or few) employees they have, and covers employees whether they are full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary. Specifically, the new provision provides that employees who work thirty (30) or more days within a year from commencement of their employment will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty (30) hours worked.

Employees become entitled to their sick leave beginning on the ninetieth (90th) date of employment. However, an employer may limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours—or three (3) days—in each year of employment, which results in no carryover requirements. Click HERE for the full text of the new law. Continue reading

Looking for Path to a Green Card? Try the EB-5 Investor Visa

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

For foreign investors wishing to obtain a visa to live, work, and attend university in the United States with in-state tuition rates, there are two options available through the E-2 and EB-5 investor visa programs.  The E-2 Visa requires less startup capital and is the fastest way to obtain a visa, although it is not a path to Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card).  The EB-5 Visa requires an initial investment of USD $500,000 to $1 million, and comes with Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card), and ultimately, US citizenship.  This article will discuss the EB-5 “million dollar visa” option.  What may be surprising is that an investor can be eligible for this visa with only a $500,000 investment in a rural or targeted employment area. Continue reading

The E-2 “Entrepreneur Investor” Visa Provides a Path for Small Business Owners to Live and Work in the US

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

Dolla billFor foreign investors wishing to obtain a visa to live and work legally in the United States, there are two options available through the E-2 and EB-5 investor visa programs.  The E-2 Visa requires less startup capital (around $100,000), and is the fastest way to obtain a visa, although it is not a path to Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card).  The EB-5 Visa requires an initial investment of USD $500,000 to $1 million, and comes with Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card), and ultimately, US citizenship.  This article will discuss the details of the E-2 “Entrepreneur Investor Visa.”                     Continue reading

New Paid Sick Leave Requirements for California Employers Starts July 1, 2015

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

sick leaveStarting on July 1, 2015, a new law affecting millions of Californians will require that employers – both public and private – provide paid sick leave to all their employees. The “Healthy, Workplace, Healthy Families Act” (AB-1522) signed into effect by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. applies to all employees who work in California for 30 or more days in a year. The law defines “employer” as any person employing another under any appointment or contract of hire” regardless of how many employees they have,  and covers employees whether they are full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary. Specifically, the new provision provides that employees who work 30 or more days within a year from commencement of their employment will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty (30) hours worked.

Employees become entitled to their sick leave beginning on the ninetieth (90th) date of employment. However, an employer may limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours—or three (3) days—in each year of employment. Click HERE for the full text of the new law. Continue reading

How Do You Save Your Marriage from Your Startup? Who Gets the Company in the Divorce?

Excerpt From Inc. Magazine

Image“Maintaining a marriage is hard enough as it is. The national divorce rate is at an all-time high, and it has doubled for Americans over age 35 in the past two decades, according to an April report by researchers at the University of Minnesota. Nearly half of all people who have been married undergo a divorce or separation by their late 50s. Though there has been scant research on the topic of entrepreneurs and divorce, many founders say that the overwhelming pressures and demands of launching a company have wreaked havoc on their marriages. What’s worse, a failed marriage can all too easily destroy even a thriving entrepreneurial business.

Even some of the most successful entrepreneurs have experienced marital failure. Last year, Google co-founder Sergey Brin separated from his wife, Anne Wojcicki, the co-founder of DNA-testing company 23andMe. In 2010, Wynn Resorts founders Steve and Elaine Wynn got divorced–for the second time. And Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has been divorced twice since 2010.

Nine states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin) have community property laws that dictate all assets accumulated by the couple during the marriage be split down the middle. That includes company stock. In some cases, companies have been sold to raise cash to pay off spouses. In others, brawling exes have been forced to become business partners.

Even if you try to shield your spouse from the daily travails of running a company–the nearly missed payrolls and the personnel problems–those pressures have a way of following you home.”

Read the full article here.

The Grady Firm, P.C. is a full-service law firm catering to business owners and their families. As the “pre-nup attorney for businesses,” founder Jennifer Grady, Esq. and her team of attorneys in the Business Advising Department draft Bylaws, Operating Agreements, Buy/Sell Agreements, and Shareholder Agreements to protect their entrepreneur clients from their partnerships going awry.  The Grady Firm’s Estate Planning Department protects business owners’ assets through trusts and asset protection methods.

To find out how to protect your family and your business, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation today, or call (323) 450-9010.