Medical Marijuana in Mendocino County Overruled by Feds

Medical marijuana in California and 15 other states and the District of Columbia has been legalized. In more than half of these areas, government officials have been launching new medical laws that could lands these people involved in the industry with criminal charges and stiff fines.
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Back in 1996, California was the first state in the country to make marijuana legal for various medical uses. It has recently come under some serious scrutiny from federal officials. Our laws remain the most liberal, to some, in the country, allowing doctors to hand out medical marijuana recommendations for a variety of conditions. One that same hand, officials have been granted broad discretion and little ways to implement it. Mendocino County thought they had found an effective way, until the feds stepped in.

Our Southern California medical marijuana attorneys understand the fight against unreasonable medical marijuana regulations is far from over. The state law conflicts with federal law. The federal government rules that marijuana is still an illegal substance with absolutely no health benefits. Still, state law allows dispensaries.

After years, residents in Mendocino County thought that they had come to peace with absurd medical marijuana regulations and enforcements. Two years ago, the sheriff made an agreement to stop raiding those who produce medical marijuana as long as they paid to have their collections inspected.

This payment was a $1,500 fee and was used to keep growers in compliance with rules regarding distance from neighbors, odor control, water usage and the limitations stating that growers could only grow 99 plants on five acres of land, according to the Huff Post.

This program, requiring growers to pay the fee, earned the sheriff’s department more than $663,000. Other jurisdictions quickly inquired about creating their own similar program after seeing its success.

The program’s under scrutiny now. After crackdown efforts from the state’s federal prosecutors, the board of supervisors put an end to Mendocino County’s experiment. The program was halted after the U.S. attorney for Northern California threatened take the county to court for helping residents to produce a drug that was illegal under federal law, but still legal under state law.

“We thought we had something that was working and was making our life easier so we could turn our attention to other pressing matters,” Supervisor John McCowen said.

McCowen thought that the city really was on to something. That is, until the feds stepped in.

Melinda Haag, Northern California’s U.S. attorney, said that the County’s licensing system doesn’t meet federal standards. She says her and the other federal officials are just trying to push the federal laws banning this substance.

In recent crackdowns in Southern California, nearly 100 dispensaries have been shut down. Many of these dispensaries received threats from feds saying that they better close up shop or they could face criminal charges and fines.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Orange County and the nearby areas. Call 714-937-2050 to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

California Medical Marijuana: Different Fed Response, Regulation Than Colorado, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, February 24, 2012