Despite the changing tides for entrepreneurship in states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana sales and use, many business owners are still hesitant given the potential for Department of Justice involvement or DEA enforcement of federal law. A historic measure similar to the one passed by the House earlier this year would end DOJ and DEA interference in states where marijuana has been legalized. The House and Senate have developed a budget bill that includes an amendment to curb federal enforcement in states where medical marijuana is legal.
The measure was originally passed in May by the House in a 219-189 vote and aims to prohibit the DOJ from using taxpayer dollars to undermine state medical marijuana laws. This is a giant step forward for patients, healthcare providers, as well as medical marijuana dispensary owners in California. In addition to extending patient protection, the law is also in agreement with American voters who have passed laws to legalize marijuana for medical use. The law gives patients protection against federal intervention and prosecution and prevents valuable tax dollars from being spent on investigating and prosecuting marijuana crimes. Advocates for medical marijuana have applauded the Congressional action in protecting the rights of patients and ending the decades-long attack on members of the medical marijuana community.
The measure signals a shift in the federal approach to medical marijuana and recreational laws. Though marijuana has not been reclassified and is still considered an illegal drug, loosening the DOJ and DEA approach could indicate that Congress is prepared to take additional steps towards decriminalization the future. The budget bill must still be approved by the full House and Senate in a vote expected in mid-December. If the bill is passed by Congress, it will be sent to the President to be signed into law.
Once passed, the budget bill will dictate and change how federal law enforcement is carried out in states where medical marijuana has been legalized. In addition to preventing future raids and aggressive investigations, it could potentially derail the pending prosecutions against medical marijuana patients. The law would restrict DOJ investigations and enforcement and will also reshape DEA practices that have been blamed for the aggressive raids taking place in California and nationwide. It could also put an end to the forfeiture cases being waged against licensed dispensary owners in Orange County, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland.
For dispensary owners in California who have long lived in fear of federal prosecution, the measure will put an end to the threat of retaliation. It could also pave the way for more states to legalize medical marijuana. Our Orange County medical marijuana attorneys understand the pressures and threats against dispensary owners in California. Our priority is to help protect the rights of individuals and entities who have been under investigation or who are facing marijuana related charges. We are also abreast of regulatory changes and can help you protect your rights while ensuring compliance with state and federal laws.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
More Blog Entries:
More Banks Open Doors to Marijuana Dispensaries, Sept. 20 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
Flying with Pot: Is it Legal?, November 25, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog