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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

The hysteria regarding marijuana laws and the heightened attention to border security have cannabis business lawyerscombined to reach a new fever pitch, with border patrol reportedly enforcing wildly audacious rules and ruining lives in the process. U.S. border guards have allegedly started turning away Canadian citizens entering the U.S. if it is revealed that they work in the cannabis industry, regardless of whether or not they are in compliance with Canada’s laws or even if their business deals directly with the drug or not, according to The Vancouver Star. Involvement in the cannabis industry means you are profiting from illicit drug trading, in the eyes of U.S. border patrol, an offense that can get you banned from entering the U.S. for life. Once you’re on the list, you never fall off, and admittance into the country would require the help of an immigration attorney and special temporary waivers. Even admitting to ever using cannabis has reportedly led to Canadians being turned away at the border.

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Extremism breeds extremism, a concept seen pretty clearly in the marijuana industry. In amedical marijuana country where, despite mounting evidence, the federal government is stubbornly standing by marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I narcotic, it’s discouraging to see facts seemingly ignored. It’s no wonder, then, people would take the opposite extreme stance to combat. A report from Los Angeles Times delves into the phenomenon of pro-marijuana hyperbole in the face of anti-cannabis hysteria.

Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812, deems that marijuana has no medical benefits, is addictive, and would be harmful to use even under a doctor’s supervision. Thirty states and Washington, D.C., disagree with this assessment and have passed medical marijuana laws as such. Those states laws, however, can only go so far to usurp the authority of the federal government. Continue reading

In the fight for medical marijuana, there has been no more compelling of a battlegroundmedical marijuana than opioid addiction. Both U.S. and Canadian governments have dubbed the rapid increase in overdoses to be a crisis or epidemic. Meanwhile, cannabis has demonstrated itself to be the potential key to unlocking the addictive cycles, adding to the urgency in passing more effective medical marijuana laws. In New York, emergency rules have been put in place to allow medical marijuana as an opioid replacement. Yet in Ontario, where medical marijuana is permitted at the federal level for a variety of conditions, workers are still having opioids pushed on them.

New York state Department of Health recently added opioid dependency to the list of 12 other conditions that qualify patients for medical marijuana recommendations, according to Marijuana Moment. Chronic pain, one of the key issues opioids are used to treat, is already on the list, but specifically adding opioid substitution gives doctors the freedom to recommend cannabis to those with opioid addictions regardless of the reason they started taking them. Officials are hoping this strategy reduces the number of opioid deaths, noting that states with pro-medical marijuana laws on the books have seen a 30 percent drop in opioid prescriptions for Medicaid users. Continue reading

State law, federal law, and religious liberties have collided to form an unholy trinity in a casecannabis lawyers involving First Church of Cannabis. The church had put in a bid attempting to allow smoking of marijuana as a religious sacrament in Indiana. The group sued the state, attorney general, and then Gov. Mike Pence in 2015. But a judge out of Marion County Superior Court recently ruled against the church, according to RTV6.

Indiana currently has extremely limited medical marijuana provisions and relatively strict laws against recreational use. Attempts to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana were thwarted in 2013, and instead an amendment to IC 35-48-4-11 was added to HB 1006 to increase penalties of certain types of possession to felonies rather than misdemeanors. Some attempts to legalize medical marijuana also failed a few years ago, but last year the legislature was able to push through a bill allowing CBD oil specifically for seizures. Considering all of the people nationwide who have found relief from cannabis for a wide variety of ailments, this seems to be the absolute least they could do. Continue reading

Sparklers weren’t the only things people were lighting up across the country this Fourth of marijuana lawyerJuly. Residents of states with adult-use marijuana laws were enjoying newfound freedoms to consume cannabis products. This was especially true here in California with this being the first Independence Day with legalized recreational marijuana.

The holiday came just a few short days after regulations went into place for packaging and sales of cannabis in California. The new rules mean that all products must meet certain standards of quality control, pass tests for safe pesticide content, and have packaging that clearly displays warnings and the makeup of the product, including THC levels. This spurred retailers to offer deep discounts on cannabis products last month that did not meet new standards, putting an influx of marijuana in the hands of Californians ahead of the July 1 deadline. This made for a very happy Independence Day for many users, indeed. Continue reading

At Cannabis Law Group, we discuss at length the groups who support marijuana marijuana criminal defenselegalization: from health organizations and doctors to veterans, cancer patients, and NFL players. Support crosses age groups, socio-economic status, race, and gender. A recent report from High Times, however, revealed some groups who do not support marijuana legalization, and it paints an interesting picture of those who have profited most off of the criminalization of this relatively benign drug.

Several of the groups on the list are, no surprise, involved in the arrest and incarceration of marijuana users. Law enforcement officials, for example, have received a great deal of funding over the years that was earmarked for the barbaric and misguided “War on Drugs.” Despite much more dangerous and lethal street drugs, marijuana users have always been a favorite target. It’s no wonder, considering the docile effect cannabis can often have on users, as opposed to the aggressive, violent, and hyperactive responses other drugs can induce. Marijuana has allowed police officers the ability to go after low-hanging fruit, pull in big numbers, and still get paid the same. Many police stations have also benefitted greatly from asset forfeiture programs, in which they line their budgets with money made off of auctioning seized property in marijuana raids. It’s not like there would even be a lack of work to be done. Without marijuana, officers will have to focus their time and resources on more risky areas, such as meth labs and opioid rings, which will be far more challenging. Continue reading

Recreational marijuana is now officially legal in Vermont, but it looks quite a bit different recreational marijuanathan it does in California. According to Associated Press, the new law that recently went into effect did not include provisions for how to tax and regulate marijuana production. As our marijuana attorneys can explain, this means while residents can possess and consume cannabis, they cannot open up a business to sell recreational products.

Broken down into more precise terms, this is what adult-use legalization means for those in Vermont. Residents are allowed to have four immature cannabis plants and two mature plants in their homes, so while it’s true there are no stores to purchase from, marijuana can be grown at home. Plants must be in enclosures that are secure and obscured from public view. Renters, however, must have permission from their landlords before they are allowed to begin a grow. Those 21 years and older are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, but it cannot be consumed in public spaces. Continue reading

medical marijuanaOklahoma recently became the 30th state to approve some form of medical marijuana, a significant step in proving cannabis support is a non-partisan issue and that old-school propaganda tricks aren’t working to scare an informed electorate anymore.

State Question 788 passed with 57 percent approval despite almost half a million dollars spent on a campaign to shut down the proposal. Gov. Mary Fallin and Sen. James Lanford (R) joined several health and law enforcement organizations to voice opposition to the ballot initiative, according to a report from Forbes. Some voters claim the issue did not even appear on their ballot, causing speculation as to how far some would go to stop the measure. Even the fact that the issue was placed on a primary ballot rather than during a general election seemed to be tactically designed to set it up for failure since voters who show up at primaries tend to lean more conservative. The passage of the measure in spite of such obstacles, however, proves what cannabis advocates like our medical marijuana attorneys have been saying all along: marijuana is not a partisan issue. Continue reading