Cannabis Litigation: An Introduction to California’s Anti-SLAPP Statute

As I mentioned in my last post, litigation claims continue to evolve and expand in the cannabis industry, and we’ve noticed substantial interest in defamation claims. In follow up, here a primer on California’s anti-SLAPP statute, codified at Code of Civil Procedure, section 425.16. Subsection (a) outlines its purpose:

“The Legislature finds and declares that there has been a disturbing increase in lawsuits brought primarily to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the public interest to encourage continued participation in matters of public significance, and that this participation should not be chilled through abuse of the judicial process. To this end, this section shall be construed broadly.”

“SLAPP” stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” Anti-SLAPP motions involve a two-step process for determining whether a case or a cause of action falls within the scope of the statute. In order for a case or claim to be subject to anti-SLAPP, the plaintiff’s claim must (1) arise out of defendant’s protected speech or petitioning, and (2) lack minimal merit. Procedurally, it is the defendant’s burden to show

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