Category Archives: Business Law

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Woody Harrelson Applies to Open Marijuana Dispensary in Hawaii

Harrelson, 54, applied for a license in Honolulu County under his company, Simple Organic Living.

The Hawaii Department of Health posted the list of 66 applications on its website Friday. The state is now reviewing applications for dispensary permits, which they will award in April.

Video game entrepreneur Henk Rogers also applied for a license under his company, Blue Planet Foundation, which advocates for energy independence across the state. Rogers, 61, is famous for designing the video game “Tetris” more than 20 years ago, and lives in Hawaii in an entirely solar-powered home.

Among other applicants include Dirk Fukushima, producer of the local television show, “Hawaii Stars,” and former University of Hawaii Regent Charles Kawakami.

If selected, dispensary applicants must have $1 million cash before applying for a licenses, plus $100,000 for each dispensary location. All applicants must have been Hawaii residents for more than five years.

Under a law passed in 2015, the state will grant eight licenses for marijuana business owners across the islands. The law allows medical marijuana businesses to have two production centers and two retail dispensaries, for a total of 16 dispensaries statewide. Six are allowed on Oahu, four on Hawaii Island, four on Maui and two on Kauai.

Dispensaries are set to open in July.

Hawaii became the first to legalize medical marijuana through the legislative process 16 years ago. Lawmakers have introduced laws to legalize recreational marijuana; however they don’t think they’re likely to pass this year.

Sourced from – http://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/celebrity/woody-harrelson-applies-open-marijuana-dispensary-hawaii-n512641

Apple’s clash with the FBI will be a tough legal fight

BY SERGIO HERNANDEZ & CHRISTINA WARREN

Apple may face an uphill climb in its latest fight with the feds over digital privacy.

The company’s CEO, Tim Cook, said in a statement on its website Wednesday that Apple opposes a federal court’s order to write special software so federal investigators can penetrate the passcode for an iPhone once used by Syed Farook.

Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were the perpetrators of a shooting spree in San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 2, which killed 14 people and injured 22 others. The shooters were later killed during a gunfight with police.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and lawyers from the Justice Department have said Farook’s phone, and iPhone 5C, may contain key evidence about his communications in the weeks before the attack, but they cannot access it without Farook’s passcode.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym issued the Apple order on Tuesday, after the local U.S. Attorney petitioned a federal court for Apple’s help.

FBI agents have been unable to access the phone’s contents because of security features built into the device’s software. Those include one that forces users to wait several minutes before entering different passcodes. Another erases a decryption key necessary to access the device’s data if a user enters a wrong passcode too frequently.

The judge’s order instructs Apple to write custom software, called a “Software Image File,” to bypass these security features so the FBI can quickly test an unlimited number of passcodes until it finds the right one. Once that as-yet-uncreated software is installed on the phone, security experts say it would take no more than a day to find the code.

News of the order triggered fierce debate last week as technologists wondered whether Apple can, as a matter of technical ability, comply with the demand, while privacy advocates said engineering such software could have dangerous security implications. Legal experts said it raises constitutional questions about how far the government can go when conscripting private, third parties to assist with law enforcement.

Cook’s statement, which indicated the company planned to fight the order in court, prompted the Justice Department to file a new motion on Friday, asking Pym to compel Apple to comply with her previous order.

Read Full Article – http://mashable.com/2016/02/21/apple-fbi-legal-issues/#Im3rLfAR_iq9

Is Sports Betting About To Become Legal Outside Of Nevada?

I cover the intersection of sports and money.

The State of New Jersey has fought for years to establish a sports betting scheme that would allow it to bring in more money for its troubled budget and provide a boost to its struggling casino industry. Each effort has been shot down, with the NCAA and the “Big Four” American professional sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA) claiming that allowing New Jersey such an exception would be a blatant violation of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (“PASPA”), which bans states from offering any form of sports betting to individuals within their borders. The one exception among the U.S. states that is allowed a sweeping form of sports betting is Nevada, as it was grandfathered in when PASPA was passed.

There may finally be hope for New Jersey and others states that seek to implement a sports wagering system. This Wednesday, February 17, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals will rehear New Jersey’s case as to why it believes it should be able to permit casinos and racetracks within the state to offer sports betting at such venues. A majority of judges in the Third Circuit were required to vote for a rehearing in order for it to be granted, which is a promising sign for New Jersey in its ongoing quest to essentially circumvent PASPA.

Why is the Third Circuit’s rehearing so important?

Rehearings are extremely rare; circuit courts of appeal are reluctant to grant such requests. By way of example, in 2006 a total of 1,028 motions for rehearing were filed in the Fourth District Court of Appeals and only twenty-one of them were granted. That makes the granting of New Jersey’s case a special exception to the rule and may be read as a positive sign as to the likelihood of success on the merits of the state’s argument.

“It’s huge,” said New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak when the rehearingwas initially announced. ”Chances are, they wouldn’t have vacated the ruling if they were only going to later on confirm it.”

While New Jersey has certainly gained an edge over its prior position by way of receiving approval for a rehearing, it is not case closed for the state. It still must prove that the prior decisions were wrong and that New Jersey should be entitled to enact the sports betting system it selected in the past.

“We are glad that the ruling – which robbed New Jersey of the opportunity to benefit from the billion-dollar sports betting industry – will be reconsidered and heard by the full court,” said Congressmen Frank Pallone, Jr. and Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey in October 2015. “Not only do the citizens of New Jersey overwhelmingly support legalized sports betting and the revenue that would come to the state with it, but existing federal law picks winners and losers, and is unconstitutional and arbitrary.  We remain committed to seeing sports betting become legal in New Jersey, and this reconsideration is a positive and important development.”

How will the rehearing work?

New Jersey’s rehearing on its sports betting plan will require that the court sits “en banc.” That is a Latin phrase meaning that all judges of the Third Circuit will participate in the rehearing, which is atypical, as standard Third Circuit decisions are provided by a panel of three judges.

There will be a total of twelve judges participating on Wednesday. Some of the judges have been involved in this case the past, either siding with the State of New Jersey or the NCAA and professional sports leagues in their efforts to keep sports betting banned.

Importantly, the en banc court’s decision will carry the day. The panel’s decision, which ruled against the State of New Jersey, was vacated when the en banc rehearing was granted. It is as though the prior decision of the court never existed.

If the en banc court of twelve judges vote in a 6-6 tie, then the district court’s original ruling will be reinstated. Thus, the State of New Jersey wants a 7-5 result in its favor, or better.

What is at issue?

This is New Jersey’s second major attempt to allow for sports betting within its borders. The first time around, PASPA’s constitutionality was challenged as a violation of states’ rights. New Jersey lost in a 2-1 decision, which indicated that the state is not prohibited from repealing its own ban on sports wagering under PASPA.

Thus, New Jersey repealed its own sports betting ban to the extent that it would only allow for casinos and racetracks to accept sports wagers. The state was told again, in a 2-1 decision, that its plan was unlawful. The court did not view New Jersey’s plan as a repeal, but instead deemed it to be a wrongful authorization for select entitles to be involved in sports betting.

The real issue is reconciling the two decisions, which may appear to contradict each other. The first loss for New Jersey indicated that the state could repeal a ban on sports betting, but the second loss seems to state that it cannot be done on a preferential basis. What an approved system would look like and how it would comport with PASPA are questions that remain unanswered.

What’s next after the rehearing?

Do not expect a ruling from the en banc court on Wednesday nor in close proximity to the rehearing. These decisions can take upwards of six monthsbefore actual rulings are released.

If New Jersey fails to win on rehearing, then it could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the U.S. Supreme Court receives roughly 8,000 petitions for cases to be heard per year, and it grants and hears oral argument in approximately eighty of them. Thus, the statistical odds of this case making it to the U.S. Supreme Court are slim.

Should New Jersey prevail, then it would be extremely likely that the NCAA and professional sports leagues file an appeal. Additionally, the NCAA and professional sports leagues would be destined to seek an injunction against New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks offering any forms of sports betting while an appeal is ongoing. Either way, the en banc court’s decision on rehearing may not be the end of this lingering battle concerning sports betting.

A ruling in favor of New Jersey not only has the potential to change the sports betting landscape within the state, but could have ramifications for other states that seek implementing a similar system. If the court deems that New Jersey’s effort is permissible, then we could see a similar structure adopted by other states, possibly leading to more lawsuit, but also potentially resulting in the death of PASPA.

Read Full Article – http://www.forbes.com/sites/darrenheitner/2016/02/15/is-sports-betting-about-to-become-legal-outside-of-nevada/#56e2cf745c02

U.S. legal marijuana sales were $5.4B in 2015, higher than Trump’s net worth and several times the cost of the Space Shuttle

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, February 3, 2016, 9:15 PM
SETH PERLMAN/AP

Marijuana plants are shown at an Illinois medical marijuana cultivation center. Legal weed sales jumped 17% last year.

Americans spent more money on legal marijuana in 2015 than Donald Trump is worth, research revealed Monday.

The $5.4 billion in legal pot sales outpaces the magnate and presidential candidate’s $4.5 billion net worth and dwarfs the $1.7 billion cost of NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavour. And weed sales will overtake the price of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in a few years.

Analysts from ArcView Market Research and New Frontier Data unveiled their annual report on the size of the legal pot market Monday, showing a 17% increase over 2014.

The marijuana market researchers predict overall sales will grow to $21.8 billion by 2020 at a compound annual rate of 30%. Voters in at least seven states will consider allowing adults to get high legally this year and 86% of Americans now live in states with some form of legal marijuana use.

Legal pot sales in U.S. outpaced The Donald’s $4.5 billion net worth.

“Many in the business and financial sector have taken a ‘wait and see’ approach to the legal cannabis industry,” the publishers wrote in an introductory letter. “The data in this report confirms what pioneer investors and entrepreneurs suspected: legalization of cannabis is one of greatest business opportunities of our time and it’s still early enough to see huge growth.”

Yet the figures already lend themselves to fun comparisons. They may never add up to the $710 billion Americans spend each year at bars and nightclubs or the $400 billion projected overall cost of the Department of Defense’s most costly and ambitious fighter jet program.

But the 2015 sales would buy 33 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, based on the Government Accountability Office’s estimate. And when legal weed sales grow to $12 billion in 2018, the proceeds would be more than enough to pay for the city-sized USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier currently in the works.

Read Full Article – http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/u-s-legal-marijuana-sales-5-4b-2015-article-1.2519611