February 3, 2016

New Statewide Regs Push for Local Bans on Medical Marijuana

Since medical marijuana was legalized in the State of California back in the mid 1990s, there has been a lack of statewide regulation for the most part. The state did not want to get involved, so, for that reason, people often compared the emerging industry to the gold rush of mid 1800s, where there was very little regulation and people were fighting each other (and sometimes the law) in hopes of making as much money as possible.

law-library-1241321.jpgIt was a different world when the federal government, including the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), was making it clear that medical marijuana was very much illegal under federal law, as marijuana was and still is the most dangerous controlled substance according to Congress, even though that classification as a Schedule One Controlled Dangerous Substance was much more political than based in science or even facts of any kind.

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January 31, 2016

Florida Citizens Pushing for Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative

Every year, we see additional states legalizing medical marijuana. In some states and the District of Columbia, we have actually had votes for full legalization of marijuana, even for recreational purposes. This definitely seems the way things are going. However, for the most part, the states along the eastern seaboard have been more reluctant to legalize medical marijuana than western states like California. Even in NY, which has recently allowed for the first dispensary to be opened, it is very difficult to get a medical marijuana license to purchase medical cannabis unless you have a terminal illness or severe neurological disease.

578107_vote_here_woman.jpgHowever, the residents of Florida to a large extent are trying to buck this trend and get medical marijuana legalization on the ballot for the upcoming election. According to a recent report from the Sun Times, advocates for legal medical marijuana have just obtained more than 500,000 signatures on the petition for the ballot initiative.

Under local law, in order for the initiative to legalize medical marijuana to get on the ballot for the upcoming election, the group needs to have at least 683,168 signatures no later than the first of February 2016. With the People United for Medical Marijuana organization having turned over approximately 523,000 signatures this week, there are still over a hundred thousand signatures left to get, but the group believes they are on track to get the medical marijuana initiative on the ballot.

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January 29, 2016

Medical Marijuana Laws in CA More Liberal than in NY

There has been a huge increase in the support for medical marijuana legalization across the nation since California legalized medical marijuana 20 years ago. However, it has been in the past 10 years that we have seen such a large surge of support and more and more jurisdictions voting to legalize medical marijuana. Although, it should be noted that in most jurisdictions, politicians seem unwilling to pass legislation without a voter-driving mandate or proposition, because even though the majority of the public supports legalization of medical marijuana, politicians do not think it is politically expedient for them to make such a proposal.

laweducation.jpgThe latest state to legalize medical marijuana was New York, where medical cannabis became legal on January 10, 2016. However, unlike in Los Angeles, where medical marijuana is easy to get and readily accepted by society, the governor of New York is only doing just enough to comply with the law, according to a recent news feature from Clapway.

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January 27, 2016

NAACP Supports California Marijuana Initiative after Changes are Made

In all likelihood, there will be enough signatures on the petition to get the Adult Use of Marijuana (AUMA) on the ballot for the next election, so California voters can decide if they want to follow two other states and the District of Columbia and legalize marijuana for recreational use. Technically, this will not interfere with the already established medical marijuana programs, but it will clearly have a significant effect on the industry.

handcuffs.jpgWhile the majority of Americans now support legalization of medical marijuana, and it is legal in 23 states so far, there is not as much widespread support for full legalization of marijuana. In order to the get the ballot measure pass, organizers would like as much support from as many organizations and interest groups as possible. One of the groups with the potential to bring a lot of voters is the NAACP. Until recently, the NAACP said it could not support the proposed ballot measure, because nobody spoke with their organization and sought their input in drafting the measure according to a recent news feature from Associations Now.

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January 25, 2016

More Orange County Cities Race to Ban Medical Marijuana

According to a recent news feature from the Orange County Register, cities throughout Orange County, California are "scrambling" to ban medical cannabis cultivation or distribution and delivery in their respective jurisdictions. For the most part, these were already places that did not permit medical marijuana dispensaries or grow operations, but now that the state has required an overt ban and a fast approaching deadline, these jurisdictions are going out of their way to fight against medical marijuana.

dutch-weed-2-jpg-1206038-m.jpgThe deadline set by the state for these cities in Orange County and across the state to ban medical marijuana in their communities is March 1, 2016. The proposed bans will include cultivation of medical marijuana, brick and mortar dispensaries, and mobile delivery services. Much like so-called dry counties that exist in some parts of the nation that do not allow for the sale of alcohol by the drink or in stores, it does not mean that it is illegal for private citizens to purchase the banned substance elsewhere and bring it home.

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January 23, 2016

Kosher Medical Marijuana for Orthodox Patients Available

There is no question that medical marijuana is big business. In some jurisdictions where medical marijuana is legal, there are no real restrictions on the types of products allowed to be sold. Some areas, like California, have basically every type of medical marijuana product that has ever been produced. If you do not want to smoke marijuana, you don't have to, as you can get it in liquid form to cook with or vaporize. You can purchase cannabis infused candy such as lollipops or even THC gummy bears.

403_dutch_weed.jpgOn the other hand, there are jurisdictions where you can only get medical marijuana in the form of pills or THC oil. The THC oil can be ingested or used for cooking medical marijuana edibles, as well as other purposes. This oil form has been shown to be incredibly helpful in treating children with seizure disorders after so-called conventional medical treatment has failed. Since you cannot have a child smoking pot, it makes sense to use a few drops of THC oil from an eyedropper. The drops are either placed directly on the patient's tongue or mixed into a drink.

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January 21, 2016

Medical Marijuana Seller is Looking at Prison Despite Legal Marijuana Legislation

One of the hardest things to resolve when dealing with medical marijuana and even recreational marijuana legalization is how people are still being sent to prison on marijuana related charges in states where the drug is legal. Part of the problem is that possession of any amount of marijuana is illegal under the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (USCSA).

Thumbnail image for supremecourt.jpgAccording to the USCSA, marijuana is a Schedule One controlled substance. This means that Congress considered marijuana to be highly dangerous, highly addictive, and a drug that has absolutely no valid medical use. Despite the fact that we now know that none of those attributes are true, marijuana has remained a Schedule One controlled dangerous substance for more than 40 decades. This is as a result of lobbying, issues with taxation, and utter nonsense like "Reefer Madness" which was an anti-marijuana propaganda film made in 1936. This movie shows how marijuana leads to murder.

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January 19, 2016

California Sheriff's Deputy Arrested with 250 Pounds of Marijuana

According to a recent news feature from the Evening Sun, a California sheriff's deputy has just been arrested for allegedly being in possession of around 250 pounds of marijuana. Authorities in York, Pennsylvania have said they were involved in an investigation into the sale of illegal drugs that resulted in the arrest of the three defendants, including the deputy from California.

police-on-the-scene-1172422-m.jpgDuring a press conference following the arrest, police and prosecutors had a table displaying many bags of marijuana, a lot of cash fanned out to show they were mostly $100 bills, as well as a semi-automatic handgun. There was also evidence the police allege were indicia of attempts to sell the marijuana. Though, regardless, of whether or not there as any paraphernalia consistent with the sale of narcotics, it would be pretty difficult to credible argue that 250 pounds of marijuana was for personal use. Authorities have also stated there were several different agencies that were participating in a taskforce that was ultimately responsible for the large scale marijuana arrest of a defendant from California.

Specifically, this large scale drug bust occurred Christmas week and began with a traffic stop. In the car were the three defendants who were trying to the deliver the marijuana to a local buyer. However, as a member of taskforce stated, this traffic stop was not conducted, because they noticed the car had a broken tail light. At the time officers approached the car, they already had a warrant in hand to search the vehicle. While they obviously knew the car allegedly contained marijuana, they did not know that one of the defendants was a California sheriff's deputy. They reported finding his badge and his service weapon (the handgun displayed on the table) along with other evidence. In total, they reported to have discovered 122 sealed bags of marijuana weighing a total of 250 pounds, and $11,000 in cash.

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January 18, 2016

California to Earn Huge Income from Taxes Should Legalized Marijuana Pass

Washington and Colorado have become the first two states in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. There were many predictions about what would happen if pot was legalized, and some of those predictions included increases in crime and high school dropout rates. There were also predictions that the respective state governments would make a lot of money in tax revenue from the sale of legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.

piggybankonmoney.jpgAs it turned out, we did not see a rise in crime or an increase in the number of kids dropping out of school. However, the predictions about all of the money that would be made from legalized recreational marijuana were all proven correct. According to a recent news article from the Orange County Register, Colorado raked in over $76 million in taxes in 2014, and, in 2015, that number increased almost a hundred percent with a revenue of more than $130 million. Washington state earned over $40 million in the first year and half, and is currently on a pace to reach over $60 million in the current fiscal year.

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January 15, 2016

10 Major Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana remains classified as Schedule I substance under federal law. This designation is supposed to apply only to substances which do not have any accepted medical uses. This is clearly the wrong designation for marijuana, as cannabis has been proved time and again to have significant health benefits for patients, with minimal side effects. health-1549627.jpg

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January 13, 2016

Prosecutors Don't Always Disclose The Full Consequences of Plea Bargains

Those who face arrest for marijuana-related crimes may be given the opportunity to negotiate a plea bargain. Plea bargaining can appear to be a better option than taking your chances in court, especially if you are facing federal charges as most drug defendants face in California since the state has decriminalized most types of cannabis offenses. Before you enter into a plea deal, however, it is imperative that you make the most informed choices and fully understand the long-term consequences of the decision you are making. handcuff-1425387.jpg

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January 12, 2016

How the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Resulted in Harsher Penalties for Drug Defendants

California has allowed medicinal marijuana use for two decades and is moving towards allowing recreational use of cannabis if a 2016 ballot initiative passes. This does not, however, mean those who grow or sell cannabis in California are immune from the threat of prosecution. The federal government still interferes with legal marijuana businesses in the state, even as Congress has passed restrictions preventing the Department of Justice from using any of its funds to interfere with marijuana businesses which are legal within the state. police-action-1618280.jpg

For those who face any federal charges for drug-related offenses, the consequences can be very serious. Many non-violent drug defendants have been sentenced to harsh criminal penalties, and will continue to be sentenced to lengthy prison terms if they are convicted of federal offenses. A big part of the reason why drug defendants on the federal level face such harsh penalties is because the Federal Sentencing Guidelines focus strongly on imprisonment. A recent article published on Social Science Research Network and prepared by officials from U.S. District Courts explores how the federal sentencing guidelines have contributed to mass incarceration, and to harsh penalties for drug defendants.

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January 11, 2016

Congress Diminishes DOJ Asset Forfeiture Program

The Asset Forfeiture Program operated by the Department of Justice has long been controversial. Civil asset forfeiture regulations allow officials to seize property and money if it is believed the money comes from illegal activities, including activities related to the cultivation or sale of cannabis products. Civil forfeiture cases allow for the seizure of assets if a case can be made based on a preponderance of the evidence, which is the lowest burden of proof in the justice system (and much lower than the beyond a reasonable doubt standard used in criminal cases). money-1239608.jpg

Not only do regulations make it easy for officials to seize property, but the DOJ's Asset Forfeiture Program actually incentivized local law enforcement to make seizures by allowing local law enforcement organizations to keep up to 80 percent of the value of assets obtained in joint federal-local operations. This program led to more asset forfeitures, and allowed local law enforcement to circumvent efforts in their own states to put a stop to abuses of the civil forfeiture system. Now, however, Washington Post reports DOJ is suspending the equitable sharing program and local law enforcement will no longer receive a share of federal funds which are confiscated through the civil forfeiture process.

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January 10, 2016

AUMA Moving Forward & Likely to Go Before California Voters in 2016

Recreational marijuana legalization is expected to be on the ballot in California in 2016 and is expected to be approved by voters. While most agree marijuana legalization is likely, the big lingering question relates to exactly what ballot initiative will move forward and what framework will be established for legalization. ballot-box-1519379.jpg

Now, however, it looks like this question may be answered according to AlerNet. The California Control, Tax, and Regulate Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) has big money behind it and has been endorsed by many board members of ReformCA.

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January 9, 2016

Restrictions Loosened for Clinical Trials on Cannabidiol

Research into the benefits of cannabis is essential to provide new treatment alternatives to patients. In particular, it is imperative for scientists to have the ability to research cannabidiol (CBD), which is the most abundant cannabinoid with non-psychoactive properties that is found within the cannabis plant. Past studies have shown tremendous benefits from CBD, particularly in children and adults suffering from epilepsy and seizure disorders. With broad opportunity to conduct clinical trials and other scientific testing, even more health benefits of CBD may be discovered. lab-work-1575839.jpg

Unfortunately, the federal laws classifying cannabis as a Schedule I substance result in severe restrictions on the ability to conduct research. Fortunately, steps are being taken in the right direction. The Drug Enforcement Agency has recently eased some of the myriad regulatory requirements which the Controlled Substances Act imposes on research of CBD and other cannabis derivatives. While many more changes need to occur to federal drug laws, cutting some of the red tape should allow for much more effective research into the many health advantages of marijuana which are already beginning to come to light.

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Recent Entries

January 31, 2016 Florida Citizens Pushing for Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative Every year, we see additional states legalizing medical marijuana. In some states and the District...

January 29, 2016 Medical Marijuana Laws in CA More Liberal than in NY There has been a huge increase in the support for medical marijuana legalization across the...

January 27, 2016 NAACP Supports California Marijuana Initiative after Changes are Made In all likelihood, there will be enough signatures on the petition to get the Adult...

January 25, 2016 More Orange County Cities Race to Ban Medical Marijuana According to a recent news feature from the Orange County Register, cities throughout Orange County,...

January 23, 2016 Kosher Medical Marijuana for Orthodox Patients Available There is no question that medical marijuana is big business. In some jurisdictions where medical...

January 21, 2016 Medical Marijuana Seller is Looking at Prison Despite Legal Marijuana Legislation One of the hardest things to resolve when dealing with medical marijuana and even recreational...