A Marijuana Shipping Initiative That Defies Federal Prohibition

In Washington and Colorado, where recreational pot has been legalized, business owners are exploring innovative and effective ways to distribute their products without being held liable under federal law. Given the federal prohibition of marijuana use, possession, sale or distribution, many business owners have struggled to ensure compliance while also remaining innovative in the growing market. One family in Colorado is taking a bold effort to expand their marijuana business to a national market despite federal laws.

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According to The New York Times, the family has been selling a certain strain of cannabis to help treat epilepsy. The strain has been grown in greenhouses and outdoors in accordance with regulations, but now the business is planning to ship the extract to other states. This decision is arguably in violation of federal law; however the family has deemed the product “industrial hemp” or a low-level THC strain. Our Orange County marijuana attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of marijuana dispensary owners, growers, and medicinal card holders. We are also abreast of the changes in marijuana laws in California and nationwide.

Calling their crop “industrial hemp” means that they can deliver their product to thousands of recipients rather than only the hundreds in Colorado where marijuana is legalized for recreational use. While the state has accepted the definition of industrial hemp for the crops, it is unknown whether the federal government will accept the interstate sale and transfer of the strain. In the event that the federal government fails to accept this semantic shift, the Colorado family-owned company could face federal penalties. On the other hand, federal approval means that the company could ship their cannabis across state lines and open up opportunities for other cannabis growing operations.

Though the federal government has largely remained “hands off” in states with regulated marijuana markets, it is possible that they could intervene once growers attempt to sell their products across state lines. This family’s attempt to produce and ship their cannabis oil to other states is one example of competing state and federal laws. For businesses and individuals, the complexity is not only knowing the law, but knowing which laws are actually enforced. Currently, there are a host of other hemp products that are displayed in health stores, including granola and shampoo, even though they are technically in violation of federal law.

According to The New York Times, if this family successfully ships their oil over stateliness, it will be the first time anyone has attempted to sell hemp products nationwide. The oil has been a coveted product for families with children who suffer from epileptic seizures. Since the product has been made available, families have flocked to Colorado to purchase the strain, known as “Charlotte’s Web.” Several organizations and entities have called for the legalization of the product, including the Epilepsy Foundation. While preparing to begin shipments of domestic hemp, the family remains hopeful that the federal government does not intervene in delivering the oil to sick children who could benefit from its medicinal qualities.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

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, July 8, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog