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A new bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in hopes of easing up burdens on federal employees whomarijuana lawyers work in states where marijuana has been legalized by allowing them to benefit from their state’s laws without fear of losing their job. HR-6589, the Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under States Laws Act, would protect the employment of anyone working for or applying to work for a local office serving the federal government who is caught using cannabis so long as the person is abiding by proper state laws, according to a report from Washington Times.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Charlie Crist (D-Florida) and Drew Ferguson (R-Georgia) once again proving cannabis is an issue that truly brings people together across the aisle.

In many ways, one would not know that marijuana is prohibited by federal law in the United States. In 30 states and Washington, D.C., cannabis has been legalized for medical use, with about a third of those permitting recreational use. While more than half of the states in the U.S. have legalized some form of marijuana, many Americans still have to make careful decisions about whether or not to consume for the sake of their careers. Even where cannabis is legal, employers are perfectly within their rights to drug test and to hold employees accountable for marijuana found in their systems. This includes employees who have a recommendation from their doctor. It becomes even more complicated when the employer serves the federal government. Federal employers must abide by federal law, regardless of the state in which they are located.  Continue reading

Two monoliths of cannabis advocacy have joined forces in California, aiming to protect what many estimate to be thecannabis lawyers world’s largest marijuana market. California Growers Association, based in Northern California, is merging with Southern California Coalition out of Los Angeles to leverage their combined strength when voicing needs of the cannabis industry to political representatives, according to Los Angeles Business Journal. A headquarters location for the far-flung group has not yet been selected.

Anyone who is familiar with the cannabis industry knows there are major cultural differences across the board — from the numerous farmers working the fertile lands of the “Emerald Triangle” in Northern California to posh dispensaries in L.A, and all of the laboratory testers, drivers, and processors in between. Each faction of the industry has different priorities, which has often kept the groups and their interests separate. Many in the state, however, are learning that more can be accomplished when we work together. The new CalGrowers-SoCal Coalition Collaboration is now 1,600 members strong, making the group a force to be reckoned with. Continue reading

A new first for cannabis businesses recently took place, with the first initial public offeringcannabis business on a U.S. stock exchange by a marijuana producer. Ontario, Canada-based cannabis conglomerate Tilray went public on New York NASDAQ recently. The stock price spiked 30 percent in one day proving what we have been saying all along: cannabis is very, very good for business. According to a report from Quartz, investors rated the value of Tilray at time at $2.65 billion. Continue reading

A survey from the Department of Veterans Affairs recently indicated about a millionmedical marijuana veterans are using medical marijuana. This is in spite of the fact that the department does not allow its doctors to recommend marijuana. The department cites Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812 as the reason for this policy, stating they are bound by the federal ban on cannabis being part of a federal agency. The department even shies away from studying the benefits of cannabis, instead focusing their research almost entirely on its problems, according to an article from New York Times.

For veterans who rely on medical treatment through the VA, this can mean they never receive access to medical marijuana. Many veterans have reported cannabis to be an effective treatment for chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder – two common issues among those who have fought in wars. It could also mean that veterans will still seek a way to obtain medical marijuana, either by visiting a physician certified to recommend cannabis other than their VA doctor, by purchasing recreational marijuana if they live in a state where it’s legal, or by illicit means. None of these methods are ideal, and this certainly is not the way we should be treating those who have served our country. There are, however, a few things that would be helpful for veterans to know about medical marijuana and the VA. Continue reading

New medical research is revealing significant findings in the treatment of concussions thatmedical marijuana involves cannabis. A joint project by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine,  Toronto’s Scythian Biosciences  Corp., and The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has led to the development of a “concussion pill,” which combines CBD and an NMDA amino acid anesthetic, according to UPI. Pre-clinical studies on rodents are showing improved cognitive function after traumatic brain injury, more so than either component of the pills does on its own. Trials also showed no adverse effects caused by either component individually nor in combination.

Traumatic brain injuries have made headlines in recent years as more attention has been brought to the dangers of aggressive contact sports, such as football, and the long-term damage caused by concussions. Meanwhile, football players have become some of the strongest advocates for medical marijuana. Cannabis, particularly CBD, has proven to be effective at treating chronic pain caused by sport-related injuries, and does not have the addictive properties of opioids, which are typically prescribed for such injuries. Other players suffer from conditions unrelated to sports, but using medical marijuana has made it possible for them to enjoy activities with fewer limitations. For example, medical marijuana is proving to be a breakthrough treatment for severe seizures, paving the way for people with epilepsy to perform at a competitive level like never before. All of these factors make athletes ideal for receiving the benefits of medical marijuana treatments. Yet continued backward thinking about the drug is holding us back.
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Now that adults are starting to gain a better understanding of cannabis and itsmarijuana attorneys benefits, many parents and teachers are facing their next challenge: How do I talk to kids about marijuana? California has been tasked with establishing new education programs to effectively prevent children from consuming cannabis, while making them aware of the choices they will have to make as an adult in a post-legalization world. As such, we are seeing the classic “Just Say No” campaigns shift to a new message: “Delay.” According to an article from Brit + Co, the new strategies focus on lifelong health and good decision making.

Marijuana legalization has had major effects on the lives of adults across the country, with 30 states and the District of Columbia allowing for medical marijuana, and about a third of those states permitting recreational use. Many of the results of this legalization have been expected, including relief for debilitating medical conditions, such as chronic pain, epilepsy, and PTSD. Cannabis also has become an alternative to alcohol in social situations, without the same negative long-term health effects as alcohol. Also expected has been the boost for government coffers with an influx of marijuana tax revenue. The way legalization would come to effect the way we educate children was a bit unexpected. It makes a lot of sense, though, considering the way marijuana functions in our lives is entirely different than it was even 10 years ago. Continue reading

July 1 marked a huge shift for cannabis businesses in California, as certain regulationscannabis business embedded in Proposition 64 became law. Although businesses knew the change was coming, it marked a major change in the supply chain for marijuana throughout the state. No longer was the focus solely on growers and dispensaries. These new regulations have shed light in a whole new way on the importance of testing labs.

According to an article from Leafly, the history of testing labs in the state has come a long way, evolving from van-based operations to highly sophisticated units protecting Californians from contaminants, pesticides, and helping measure strength and makeup of different strains and products. Until now, labs haven’t really been able to fully get off the ground. Like any production cycle, added steps are generally avoided wherever possible in order to cut down on costs. As such, not all cannabis products in California went through the lab-testing stage until laws absolutely mandated it, especially those produced by small businesses. Now labs are overwhelmed with work. Though lab workers did what they could to prepare for this day, it’s still difficult to operate a business at full capacity on profits that are not yet coming in, making it necessary to go from skeleton crew to all hands on deck in a matter of weeks. Continue reading

The “War on Drugs,” specifically marijuana, has resulted in many casualties over the years,marijuana criminal defense including numerous deaths as a result of overly aggressive pursuits. The latest death out of Pennsylvania is evidence of how far we still have to go before we fully grasp the harm caused by hostile anti-marijuana stances. According to a report from American Civil Liberties Union, a man was run over by a bulldozer recently during a pursuit, after the man was allegedly caught growing a whopping 10 plants on state gaming property. The death was reported as accidental, but regardless it is an example of how needless and reckless brute force is in enforcing marijuana laws.

The small grow site was found after a game commission employee on the bulldozer was clearing brush and spotted a vehicle. He called the police after he investigated and found the marijuana plants. What followed was the definition of overreaction. Upon their arrival, police spotted two men emerging from the underbrush. They apprehended one, but the other escaped on foot. The 10 plants apparently warranted a full search with police and the game commission joining forces. Police officers called in a helicopter to search the surrounding area, while the game commission employee continued the search on the ground. Somehow, the suspect was caught up in the thick underbrush. Cause of death was listed as traumatic injuries caused by the force of the bulldozer. Continue reading

Riverside City Council has made its temporary moratorium on marijuana businesses officialmarijuana business with a recent 4-3 vote that put a nail in the coffin for residents hoping to one day be able to legally purchase cannabis in their city. According to The Press-Enterprise, council’s decision effectively bans dispensaries, commercial cultivation, and any outdoor grow sites. Medical marijuana dispensaries were already banned by the city in 2007, and an intensive law enforcement strategy has kept illegal dispensaries at bay. Cannabis testing will, however, be permitted.

The tight vote is illustrative of how divided the city is over the issue. Riverside County was one that supported Proposition 64 by about 42,000 votes. Yet the county has banned cultivation, manufacturing, and retail, with individual cities also enforcing their own similar bans. When residents vote one way and their representatives vote in the opposite manner, it truly flies in the face of the will of the people. Try as they might, the city and county governments do not have the power to ban everything, though, no matter how many scare tactics they use to justify their agenda.
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One of the benefits of expanding marijuana legalization across the country is that it has afforded an opportunity to correct themarijuana criminal defense disparity in marijuana arrests along race and socio-economic lines. These disparities have negatively impacted black people, Hispanics, and other oppressed groups. The efforts, however, are not producing immediately successful results. A report from New Frontier Data is showing that even now black and Hispanic suspects are arrested at nine times the rate of suspects who are white, despite the fact that data shows the three subgroups sell cannabis at similar rates.

According to the data, from 1997 to 2016, marijuana arrests made up more than 40 percent of drug-related arrests, totaling 15.7 million. Arrests overall from cannabis-related offenses have declined slightly in recent years, down from their height in 2007. This is likely reflective of states expanding marijuana legalization, though the numbers are not significantly lower than the overall average since 1997. For example, arrests for possession hit a low in 2015 of 575,000, but went up again in 2016 to 588,000, neither of which is much lower than 599,000 way back in 1998. Considering 30 states now allow provisions for medical marijuana and nine, plus Washington, D.C., have recreational laws on the books, these numbers should be improving more drastically over the 20-year-old stats.  Continue reading