September 28, 2014

Retail Sales Surpass Medical Marijuana Sales in Colorado

Since recreational pot shops opened in Colorado in January, sales have topped medical marijuana sales for the first time. According to recent tax figures released by the Colorado Department of Revenue, the state received $838,711 from a 2.9% tax on medical marijuana and $2.97 million from the 10% sales tax on retail marijuana. According to the report, retail sales were estimated at $29.7 million and medical sales approximately $28.9 million. The report has been considered a victory for legalization advocates who predicted that the revenues from retail priced marijuana would be profitable for the state.

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Still, some reports indicate that the revenues have lagged behind some earlier projections. Regardless, the massive revenues have been a guidepost for other states considering the potential benefits of legalization. Our Orange County medical marijuana attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of users, dispensary owners, and others involved in the marijuana business. Our firm has continued to track legal trends and developments in California, Colorado and nationwide. In addition to staying abreast of local trends in marijuana law, we also provide strategic advocacy to protect the rights of our clients who are under investigation or charged with marijuana crimes. We can also help to insulate individuals and business owners by helping to ensure regulatory compliance.

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September 26, 2014

Berkeley Ordinance Mandates "Welfare Weed"

Berkeley City Council has passed an ordinance that will require medical marijuana dispensaries to distribute 2 percent of their stash to those making less than $32,000 per year or $46,000 per family.

Those residents with a prescription who meet the annual income minimums will be eligible for what has been dubbed "welfare weed." According to the New York Times, the ordinance was approved unanimously with the hope of making medical marijuana affordable and available for all residents. The 'charity cannabis' mandate has significant support throughout the city and region, though it has also been mocked in the city known for its liberal leanings.

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While many say the ordinance will help residents get access to the drug they may need for pain relief and other medical symptoms, other critics say that more access to weed is not going to help them get out of economically difficult situation. Our Orange County medical marijuana attorneys are abreast of the legal changes in marijuana law in Southern California and nationwide. In addition to keeping up with trends in sales and regulatory matters, we also represent individual marijuana users, dispensary owners, and others involved with the industry. We can help ensure compliance and protect our clients against liability.

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September 24, 2014

Pot Brownies Send San Francisco Students to Hospital

Parents, school officials, health care advocates, as well as legislators have pointed to the dangers of edible products when ingested by children and teens. While regulatory changes and some precautions can be taken to keep edibles safe and out of the hands of underage users, there are still health risks in California and nationwide.

According to a recent report, five students from a high school in the San Francisco Bay Area fell seriously ill and were taken to an area hospital after consuming pot brownies brought to school by another student. Two of the students had to be hospitalized after falling unconscious from consuming the brownies.

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Police reports indicated that a 17-year-old senior brought and sold the pot brownies on the schoo premises for $3 each or $5 for two. While the students knew that they were "pot brownies" they likely did not know the dosages or that the brownies were a health risk. Our Orange County medical marijuana attorneys are abreast of the legal and safety issues impacting residents of California. In addition to representing marijuana users, dispensary owners, and advocates, we are also concerned with local issues and cases that may impact marijuana law.

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September 22, 2014

Colorado Pot Seized by U.S. Postal Service on the Rise

As the state leading in marijuana growing, sales, and distribution, it isn't surprising that entrepreneurs in Colorado are seeking new avenues for profits. Though marijuana has been legalized throughout the state, it is still illegal to transport, ship, and sell the product across state lines. According to The Guardian, the U.S. Postal Service has seized more than 493 pounds of pot from packages in 2013, up from 57 pounds in 2010. The statistics were released by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Packages were most often intercepted between Colorado and Florida, Maryland, and Illinois.

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The report did not take into consideration packages shipped throughout 2014 since recreational pot shops were opened in the state. Research suggests that more people are shipping pot by mail, though it is possible that the postal service is becoming more proactive in pursuing investigations. Our Orange County marijuana dispensary attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients, including medical card holders, dispensary owners, and others involved in the marijuana business. Our attorneys are abreast of changes in marijuana law and can help to ensure compliance as well as prevent criminal liability.

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September 20, 2014

More Banks Open Doors to Marijuana Dispensaries

For marijuana businesses, banking and investing can be complicated given federal prohibitions against marijuana sales. While a growing number of states are approving marijuana for medical use or recreational use, those involved in the marijuana business face a legal predicament with regards to banking.

Local and national financial institutions do not the risk of taking "drug money." Many businesses have been forced to operate on a cash-only basis, leaving them vulnerable to theft and other crimes. Despite previous challenges, recent reports indicate that the banking industry and federal regulatory agencies may be opening doors to dispensaries.

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Since Colorado legalized recreational pot at the start of 2014, more than 100 banks and credit unions nationwide have begun banking with marijuana dispensaries and other companies. While this is only 1% of the total banks in the country, it indicates marijuana business owners are getting more opportunities in the financial sector. Our Orange County marijuana dispensary attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of clients throughout Southern California. We are abreast of changes in marijuana law, compliance issues, as well as complex legal questions for pot business owners and operators. In addition to helping ensure compliance, we are also able to provide strategic representation in the event of a criminal investigation.

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September 17, 2014

Teen Marijuana Use Linked to Problems Later in Life

Even in states where marijuana use is still prohibited, teens always find ways to purchase and smoke pot. As voters and legislators debate the merits of legalization, one issue on the table is the potential harm caused to teens who regularly smoke marijuana. According to a recent study, frequent use of pot by teens has been linked to a greater likelihood of problems later in life, including suicide attempts and incomplete education. The study was performed by researchers in Australia and New Zealand as those countries consider the impact of decriminalizing cannabis.

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In California, nationwide, and throughout the world, marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug. Many American teens will start smoking at a young age, leaving them vulnerable to some physical, emotional, and cognitive effects. Our Orange County medical marijuana attorneys are abreast of the issues that impact medical marijuana users, distributors, and legalization advocates. In addition to staying abreast of legal changes, we also follow research and studies that could sway local, state, and federal marijuana laws.

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September 15, 2014

Government Wants to Buy 12 Acres of Marijuana for Research

While the federal government has not yet legalized the use of marijuana for research, a branch of the National Institutes of Health has posted an ad, seeking out 12 acres of marijuana for testing and research on drug use and addiction. To complete the research, the agency is soliciting proposals from those who process, analyze, store, and distribute cannabis. According to a Times Report and the federal website, the agency is looking for bids from growers who have a secure facility with video surveillance. Successful bids should also be capable of growing and processing 12 acres of marijuana and building a 1,000 square foot greenhouse for test planting. Based on information provided in the site, the agency is looking to test the plants and have the premises secured by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration.

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The government agency is looking to test specific strains of plants that may be related to drug addiction and abuse. Our Orange County marijuana attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of medical card holders, dispensary owners, and other individuals and entities involved in the marijuana business. We are committed to raising awareness about developments in local, state and national marijuana law. Our attorneys are also committed to keeping marijuana business owners abreast and in compliance with the law.

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September 12, 2014

Prosecutors Allege Illegal Growing Operation and Harm to Federal Land

Criminal charges related to marijuana can range from illegal possession and distribution, to federal charges for illegal growing operation. Federal prosecutors are pursuing criminal charges against growers in Sacramento, California, alleging that their large marijuana growing operation damaged land in a national forest. This has resulted in additional criminal charges, including marijuana cultivation and "depredation of public lands and resources." Individuals who are charged and convicted of these serious crimes could face significant penalties, including fines and jail time.

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According to local reports, a grand jury indicted the 21-year-old Mexican defendant on three counts for connection to the pot growing operation. Our Orange County marijuana law attorneys understand the severity of marijuana criminal charges and will aggressively defend the interests of any defendant. We are experienced with cases involving marijuana distribution and dispensaries, sales, and charges related to illegal possession. If you are under investigation or you have been charged with marijuana crimes, it is important to involve an experienced attorney in your case as soon as possible.

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September 9, 2014

State Marijuana Taxes and "Pleading the 5th"

Even though the Justice Department has decided to largely remain hands off when it comes to state legalization and medical marijuana, the federal government can still prosecute any marijuana crime--even if your home state says it is legal. One trap for the unwary involves paying taxes, as paying taxes on marijuana income is an admission of the crime. In a recent case, a federal court held up a Colorado tax on marijuana despite the claims that paying it amounts to self-incrimination. The plaintiff has argued that paying the tax was a violation against her Fifth Amendment rights.

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According to a Forbes report, the debate over self-incrimination and marijuana taxes is not over yet. Our Orange County marijuana law attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of clients involved in marijuana distribution, sale, growing operations, or who have been charged with a criminal offense. We understand the complex nature of marijuana cases and will help to protect California marijuana business and individuals in state and federal matters.

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September 6, 2014

Prosecutors: Growing Operation Harmed Federal Land

Criminal charges related to marijuana can range from illegal possession and distribution, to federal charges for illegal growing operation. Federal prosecutors are pursuing criminal charges against growers in Sacramento, California, alleging that their large marijuana growing operation damaged land in a national forest. This has resulted in additional criminal charges, including marijuana cultivation and "depredation of public lands and resources." Individuals who are charged and convicted of these serious crimes could face significant penalties, including fines and jail time.

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According to local reports, a grand jury indicted the 21-year-old Mexican defendant on three counts for connection to the pot growing operation. Our Orange County marijuana law attorneys understand the severity of marijuana criminal charges and will aggressively defend the interests of any defendant. We are experienced with cases involving marijuana distribution and dispensaries, sales, and charges related to illegal possession. If you are under investigation or you have been charged with marijuana crimes, it is important to involve an experienced attorney in your case as soon as possible.

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September 3, 2014

Oregon Weighs In: The Impact of Legalization on Teens

One of the criticisms of legalization is that it will give underage users, including teens, additional access to the drug. Some say it will even promote teen marijuana use. In light of this attack on legalization, many teens are speaking out, saying that legalization will not increase underage or illegal use. Some have compared the use of the drug to underage drinking, saying that making it legal or illegal doesn't impact teen choices at all. If they want to use, they won't care if it is legal or not.

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In the state of Oregon, Measure 91 is on the ballot, which would legalize marijuana for adults 21 years and over. Essentially, many of the same rules would apply when comparing marijuana use to alcohol. Our Orange County marijuana attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of marijuana dispensaries, distributors, as well as medicinal cardholders and users. We understand the complexities of local, state, and national marijuana law and can effectively protect the rights and interests of our clients. In addition to advocating for marijuana rights in California, we are also abreast of national changes in marijuana law.

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August 31, 2014

A Pursuit, A Car Crash, and an Exposed Grow Operation

While some marijuana grow operations are uncovered after months or even years of investigation, others are discovered by law enforcement, almost by accident. In a recent case, a police chase in Huntington Park ended when a car collided with a warehouse wall, exposing an illegal grow operation. Not only did law enforcement officials catch their target, but they also were able to pursue criminal charges against the individuals responsible for the property. According to authorities, there were 800 plants sized after the wall exposed the growing operation inside.

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The property was shared with other businesses who claim that they often smelled marijuana emanating from the warehouse. According to reports, the owner of the property was renting the area of the warehouse to store vintage cars. Now authorities have evidence that this was an illegal growing operation. Our Orange County marijuana law attorneys are experienced in representing marijuana dispensary owners, medical marijuana users, and other individuals who have been charged with marijuana crimes. We have a thorough understanding of California criminal laws as well as medical marijuana law to best protect the interests of our clients. Our team will also review the evidence obtained through any search and seizure to ensure that law enforcement authorities acted lawfully.

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August 29, 2014

Marijuana Black Market Still Exists Despite Legalization

One of the positive consequences of legalization is the eradication of the black market. Reduced crime rates, taxes on once prohibited products, and transparency in the law can smooth regulatory practices and reduce risks. Despite legalization in Colorado, recent reports indicate that a black market for marijuana still exists. Even though many industry leaders have forged ahead with dispensaries, bed and breakfasts, and mobile apps, there remains an underground market of drug sales.

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Colorado has allowed medical marijuana since 2000, permitting growers to cultivate 16 doctor-prescribed plants. Owners of the card are not able to sell what they cannot consume or to have a second operation. Still there are underground shops and sales throughout Colorado. Our Orange County marijuana defense attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of dispensary owners as well as individuals who use medical marijuana. In the event of a state or federal investigation, we are able to protect your rights to prevent liability. Understanding the complexities of marijuana law, our lawyers remain abreast of the changing legal landscape in California and nationwide.

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August 27, 2014

14 Arrested and 5000 Marijuana Plants Seized in San Bernardino County

A sweeping drug bust in San Bernardino County resulted in 14 arrests and the seizure of approximately 5000 marijuana plants. According to law enforcement authorities, the drug bust was part of the crackdown on illegal marijuana cultivation in several unincorporated areas of the county. Over a two day period in the end of August, members of the police force conducted investigations and obtained nine search warrants for residential properties in various locations throughout the area. Though medical use is legal in California, growers must operate within the confines of state law and violations could result in criminal liability.

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This case is a reminder to growers, distributors, and users of marijuana in Southern California and statewide, that criminal liability still exists. Our Orange County marijuana crimes defense attorneys are experienced in providing strategic, comprehensive advocacy to defendants. We understand the severe penalties related to drug charges and will work hard to protect the rights of our clients. In addition to providing defense, we are abreast of legal developments in the area that may impact the interests of marijuana dispensary owners and medical marijuana users.

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August 27, 2014

Medical Marijuana Policies Complicated by Push for Recreational Use

In the past few years, medical marijuana use has gained momentum with widespread approval by voters, legislators, and lobbyists. For many of those who are passionate about medical usage, recreational use can be a distraction, potentially threatening medical marijuana legalization. The move towards legalization is facing resistance from medical marijuana users and caregivers who are concerned that the recreational use will significantly reduce income for those who have distributed marijuana for medical purposes. Widespread legalization could also create a host of issues related to driving under the influence, underage consumption and other problems that could compete with the greater good of medical marijuana.

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According to recent reports, medical marijuana users and distributors have already faced significant regulatory hurdles. Advocates of current medical marijuana policies do not want to see the regulatory system compromised by an overhaul for recreational use. For states such as California, Maine, Nevada, Alaska, and Oregon with longtime medical marijuana usage laws, the shift towards legalization will require the dismantling of the current medical use market and policies. Our Orange County medical marijuana law attorneys are dedicated to advocating for businesses and individuals in California regarding regulatory and criminal matters. We can provide strategic advocacy and help prevent liability in cases involving marijuana law.

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Recent Entries

September 28, 2014 Retail Sales Surpass Medical Marijuana Sales in Colorado Since recreational pot shops opened in Colorado in January, sales have topped medical marijuana sales...

September 26, 2014 Berkeley Ordinance Mandates "Welfare Weed" Berkeley City Council has passed an ordinance that will require medical marijuana dispensaries to distribute...

September 24, 2014 Pot Brownies Send San Francisco Students to Hospital Parents, school officials, health care advocates, as well as legislators have pointed to the dangers...

September 22, 2014 Colorado Pot Seized by U.S. Postal Service on the Rise As the state leading in marijuana growing, sales, and distribution, it isn't surprising that entrepreneurs...

September 20, 2014 More Banks Open Doors to Marijuana Dispensaries For marijuana businesses, banking and investing can be complicated given federal prohibitions against marijuana sales....

September 17, 2014 Teen Marijuana Use Linked to Problems Later in Life Even in states where marijuana use is still prohibited, teens always find ways to purchase...