New Jersey, like many other states, allows for the cultivation and sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Marijuana is not yet allowed for recreational use in New Jersey. While medical marijuana use and consumption is legal under New Jersey state law, it remains illegal under Federal law, which leads to an interesting and complicated situation when an applicant seeks zoning approvals for a marijuana facility. Planning and/or Zoning Boards are essentially asked to approve a use that is illegal under Federal law.

Continue Reading Obtaining Zoning Approvals for Marijuana Facilities in New Jersey

Last month, Congress approved the final 2018 version of Section 7607 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the “Farm Bill”), which received bipartisan support in the Senate. The Bill removes “hemp,” a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species, from the Federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) and legalizes hemp cultivation as an agricultural commodity similar to grain, meat, and dairy. Commentators expect the historic new Farm Bill to considerably encourage and promote innovation, development, production, and consumption of hemp in the United States. But to understand the significance of the 2018 version of the Farm Bill, it is important to take a step back and understand what industrial hemp is, what distinguishes it from marijuana, which remains a Schedule 1 prohibited substance, and what the future of hemp looks like in this Country.

Continue Reading No Harm in Growing Hemp on Your Farm: Inside the 2018 Farm Bill

2018 represented another busy year for Chapter 11 retail bankruptcy filings, with Sears dominating the headlines in the last quarter of 2018 and Toys “R” Us closing all of its US stores before the third quarter.

As the New Year unfolds, there could be companies in trouble in 2019. The following are 10 retailers to watch for a possible Chapter 11 filing this year:

Continue Reading 10 Retailers to Watch for a Bankruptcy Filing in 2019

I was in the middle of writing a blog about the 2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and the non-alimony changes, when a friend of mine posted something on Facebook. This is friend who contracted a virus when we were in junior high school which left him in a wheelchair. Yet, he has always been one of the most upbeat and inspirational people I have ever known. He posted a list of 8 things to quit in 2019, and I realized it was the basis for my first post of the New Year. The tax laws will just have to wait.

The top 8 things to Quit in 2019, from a Family Lawyer’s Perspective:

Trying to please everyone: I think this is on the top of the list for a reason. It simply can’t be done, so stop trying! It’s impossible in the best of situations, and when a person is going through a divorce or other family law matter, the guilt of unsuccessfully trying to please everybody is simply going to drag you further into morass. Moreover, the reason it’s impossible even in the best of situations is that it’s not your responsibility to please everyone. It’s your responsibility to act fairly, listen to the other person’s perspective with an open mind, and be the best parent, son, daughter, former spouse or partner you can be.

Continue Reading Top 8 Habits to Quit (from the Perspective of a Family Law Attorney)

A former Cinnabon employee in Washington can now move forward with a proposed antitrust class action suit over the company’s allegedly anticompetitive “no-poaching” agreements. These agreements are alleged to prevent franchises from hiring away workers from other Cinnabon franchises, thereby eliminating wage competition.

Continue Reading Cinnabon ‘No-Poach’ Lawsuit Moves Forward

Credit Card Miles and Points in DivorceIt is well known that when parties divorce, there will be an equitable distribution of the marital assets and debts that the parties acquired during the marriage. Many people also know that it rarely matters whose name that the asset or debt was acquired in.

I cannot stress enough that the preparation of a financial statement, or a Case Information Statement, is perhaps the most important step of the entire divorce process. Getting bank balances and mortgage payoff statements is easy, and tasks that no one thinks twice about. However, there are other assets, or benefits in a marriage that are easily overlooked, and can result in an inequity to a spouse if not considered.

Most of us have a credit card (or two, or three) that accumulate miles which can be traded in for airline tickets, hotel points, or some ability to trade points for something of value.

Continue Reading Counting the Miles (And Other Hidden Assets in Divorce)

dispensary insurance costRisk management is important for any business let alone a startup in a developing industry, but it takes on a whole new meaning for cannabis companies looking to make their mark on the burgeoning cannabis market. As more and more states go green and join the mounting number of sovereigns that permit, tax, and regulate medical and adult-use marijuana, the need for cannabis related banking, insurance, and real estate continues to grow.

As any cannabis entrepreneur and operator knows, the business is risky, capital intensive, and presents many unforeseen challenges. Proper and adequate insurance coverage and risk management is therefore paramount in such an uncertain, undulating industry.

Continue Reading Obtaining Cannabis Insurance Coverage: What Plant-Touching Businesses Can Expect

In a precedential Trademark Trial and Appeal board (TTAB) decision, the Board held that an applied-for trademark consisting of multiple colors on product packaging, without any distinct shape, pattern or design, can never be inherently distinctive. See In re Forney Industries, Inc., Serial No. 86269096 (September 10, 2018). Applicant Forney Industries, Inc. sought to register a color scheme on the Principal Register, consisting of a black banner above a yellow to red color gradient for use on the product packaging of its various metal hardware and other small welding tools.

Continue Reading Shades of Gray: Color Marks Can Never Be Inherently Distinctive

This is part 3 of a 3 part blog. Please click here to read Part 1 – Generic Marks. Please click here to read Part 2 – Merely Descriptive & Geographically Descriptive

A mark can be refused registration if it bears a significant resemblance to a government insignia. In In re Shabby Chic Brands LLC, 122 USPQ2d 1139 (TTAB 2017), Shabby Chic Brands, LLC sought to register an image of “an ornate, feathered crown” for a variety of furniture and decorative housewares. The Trademark Examining Attorney refused registration based on Section 2(b) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits registration of marks that “consist of or comprise the flag or coat of arms or other insignia. . . of any foreign nation.” The Examining Attorney believed the proposed mark resembled the official emblem of the Prince of Wales, according to the illustration filed in accordance with the Paris Convention.

Continue Reading Hurdles to Federal Trademark Registration Part 3 – Government Insignia & Surname