Articles Posted in California Marijuana

The appointment of Jeff Sessions to the office of U.S. Attorney General had many pro-marijuana advocates in California and throughout the country on edge. Sessions was known to take a hard line against all drugs, and marijuana was no exception. Those fears were confirmed when Sessions formally rolled back the Cole Memo, a federal directive under the Obama administration not to pursue criminal actions or civil forfeiture against marijuana businesses that were abiding state law. Sessions even declared at one point that people who use marijuana were “not good people.”Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer

After Sessions resigned (forced to leave, one could argue), there was concern President Trump’s next appointment would be more of the same. Those fears weren’t quelled when he named Bill Barr to take the post. TheGrowthOp dubbed Barr, “a well-documented drug warrior.” Barr previously served as attorney general during the George H.W. Bush administration, and during that tenure garnered a reputation for escalating the drug war back in the 1990s. He’d called for the construction of more U.S. prisons in order to lock up more drug offenders, most of whom were in hot water over crimes related to marijuana. It didn’t seem like much would change after he signed a Washington Post editorial published in November came out in swinging support of Sessions, calling him “outstanding” and praising him on his tough-on-crime approach to drug dealers.

But then, as reported by VOX, Barr responded to U.S. Senators preparing to hold his confirmation meeting that he would not be pursuing a crackdown against legal marijuana if he attains the position. He wrote, “I do not intent to go after parties who have complied with state law in reliance on the Cole Memorandum.” He clarified it was possible he might seek further guidance from the administration on this approach, but that such matters were ultimately guided by the legislature, not the administration. He personally, however, is opposed to marijuana legalization. Continue reading

A federal lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice, challenging the constitutionality of the federal law designating marijuana a Schedule I controlled substance proceeded recently to the next level with oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. As our Los Angeles marijuana patient attorneys can explain, the crux of the argument by plaintiffs of the claim, first filed in 2017, is that the designation ignores the merits of the drug for medicinal purposes. The appeal was heard last month by the three-judge panel. Los Angeles cannabis lawyer

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include a 12-year-old epilepsy patient, an 8-year-old Leigh’s syndrome patient, an Iraq war veteran and sufferer of post-traumatic stress disorder, a former NFL player who heads a hemp company hawking sports performance products and a non-profit that helps minorities get ahead in the legal cannabis market. Defendants are acting-Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, the acting director of the DEA and the federal government.

The appeal, limited to presentations of just a few minutes per side, rests on a dispute of the assertion that the Controlled Substances Act violates the 5th Amendment, which guarantees the right of citizens to preserve life and health.  Continue reading

Marijuana did not pass muster as a holy sacrament with an Indiana state circuit court judge last year, citing now-Vice President-then-Indiana-Governor Mike Pence’s championed Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Whether the state appellate court might have agreed about the legitimacy of the First Church of Cannabis and its use of the drug for religious purposes won’t be known anytime soon. According to Indiana Public Media, the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed the case after the plaintiff, founder of the church, failed to pay a court transcript fee or respond to the state’s motion to dismiss with an argument for why the court should allow the case to move forward. cannabis attorney

Los Angeles marijuana attorneys know the case won’t have much of an impact here in California, but it was interesting from a legal standpoint for how it might have impacted other states where the drug remains illegal for any purpose.

The state’s RFRA established a legal standard (unique to Indiana) requiring the government prove a compelling reason to restrict someone else’s religious practices and a burden of proof to show that it is doing so in the least burdensome way possible. Continue reading

This year was the first in which Californians could freely grow, sell, buy and use marijuana purely for purposes of recreation without the constant threat of criminal law enforcement intervention. However, almost nowhere in the Golden State can new marijuana business owners say it’s been an easy road.Los Angeles dispensary lawyer

Prop. 64, which opened the doors to recreational marijuana, imparted a significant amount of power and discretion to local jurisdictions to decide the type and volume of marijuana businesses that would be allowable. Some communities, like San Jose and San Francisco, embraced commercial cannabis at the outset. Meanwhile, others like Fontana have tried to outlaw the shops entirely. Those with the harshest restrictions have in some cases (Fontana, for instance) been successfully challenged.

For the most part, communities agree the drug should be legal, but just practically speaking, it takes time to supplant an unregulated market. Questions have still arisen regarding how the wealth should be distributed, who gets a chance to participate and how tight should restrictions be. A dedicated California marijuana dispensary attorney can advocate on behalf of all types of cannabis corporations, whether a brick-and-mortar store, a delivery service, farmers or ancillary business.  Continue reading

Amid the booming Southern California cannabis industry, the City of Sacramento is weighing whether to lift the existing cap on the number of marijuana dispensaries licensed to operate in the city, the primary goal being to offer more opportunities to minorities. Since 2014, the number of pot dispensaries permitted by the city has been capped at 30. When recreational marijuana was legalized in California almost a year ago, the city maintained that cap, allowing only those dispensaries that already existed authorization to continue selling. No new licenses were distributed. Of those dispensary owners, not a single one is black. This is problematic and has been vocally opposed by the California Urban Partnership. City officials say they don’t track dispensary owner race. California marijuana dispensary attorneys

Still, it is considered an issue worth addressing, particularly considering people of color are more likely to have been victimized by the failed War on Drugs and have prior drug-related convictions. The city did form a program, CORE, that will waive permit fees for new dispensaries, but because of the cap, no new dispensaries can even be opened once the program officially launches.

Talk of raising the number of dispensaries allowed in the city arose for this reason, though the mayor conversely suggested preference could be given to minorities should one of the existing dispensaries happen to close. However, that’s fairly unlikely, given how lucrative California marijuana dispensaries are and will almost certainly continue to be.  Continue reading

There is a huge push to legalize cannabis across the country, where 30 states plus Washington, D.C. have some form of lawful marijuana, nine allowing for recreational use. However, some politicians and advocacy groups still staunchly opposed fear they will suffer “de facto” legalization of marijuana in their states if all or most surrounding states have passed laws allowing it.marijuana lawyer blog

Of course, with the majority of states now allowing marijuana (California being the first with medical marijuana legalization in 1996), this is not an invalid concern – nor a new one. It’s true there is conflict when bordering states have different marijuana laws. Issues arise when people travel – for work or school or leisure – and what is perfectly legal in one state is criminalized in the next.

The biggest problem is that marijuana is forbidden under federal law, still considered a Schedule I narcotic, highly addictive and with no legitimate medicinal purpose. Of course, that’s laughable in reality, but U.S. drug policy hasn’t historically been closely aligned with medicine or science or smart public policy. And yet, it has lower schedule classifications for opioids and amphetamines, which are unequivocally more addictive and dangerous.  Continue reading

There is no question marijuana, including medical marijuana and marijuana for recreational use is big business in the greater Los Angeles area.  Like any business, advertising is often needed to bring in new patients or customers, but many are concerned about where and how marijuana businesses choose to advertise.

l.a. marijuana lawyerAccording to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times, this massive growth in the legalized marijuana industry has led to equally massive ad campaigns some of which feature full-sized billboards being placed around our area.  One of the major concerns is that legalized marijuana will lead to an increase in illegal marijuana use among minors, especially in the case of teenagers.  Continue reading

While there may come a day when marijuana is legal for recreational use all across the nation, that day is nowhere in sight yet.  President Donald J. Trump has said he would be willing to remove marijuana from Schedule One of the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (USCSA), but that is far from something certain to happen in light of his Attorney General’s feelings about marijuana, and marijuana users.  It would be certainly be a good thing for the nation if marijuana were legal for adults everywhere, but for now, those few states which have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes are finding themselves at a distinct advantage when it comes to what is now being called marijuana tourism, and those in the recreational marijuana business in Los Angeles are hoping to cash in on this.

recreational marijuanaThere was a time when people had to travel to Amsterdam for legal marijuana, and now they can go to Canada as our neighbors to the north have legalized marijuana nationwide, but according to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times, local hotels are trying out new strategies to make their properties more marijuana friendly and hopefully make a big impact in this growing market.   Continue reading

For many decades before recreational marijuana was legalized in California, people were buying marijuana illegally. This included literally buying it on the street in open air drug markets as they are called by the Los Angeles Police Department, and they were also buying on what is often dubbed the marijuana gray market. Now that marijuana is legal for adults to purchase it for recreational purposes, it would seem people would no longer have to buy it illegally.

marijuana tax lawyerThe problem is that people are able to get high quality cannabis products on the gray market, and will not be charged with possession of marijuana under state law for having it, and if they want to purchase it legally, they may be forced to pay much higher prices.  This is not to say there is no risk to those selling marijuana illegally as they can be arrested and charged with various criminal offenses, but there is not much risk to the consumers.  Continue reading

Mendocino County is the latest to sign an agreement with the California Cannabis Authority in an effort to help local governments with regulatory compliance and assist in creating a rich poolcannabis business of data about the cannabis industry. Our attorneys know one of the most difficult things about establishing any new industry is lack of concrete data. There can be a lot of growing pains as authorities and economic leaders gather a foundation of facts that help in making critical decisions about public safety, regulations, and taxation. This is particularly true when dealing with a controlled substance, like marijuana. Even though marijuana has been legal for medical purposes in California since the passing of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, the switch to recreational legalization in the state as of Jan. 1 was a real game changer. MAUCRSA, Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulations and Safety Act, was created to combine guidelines for medical marijuana with all the new stringent licensing rules for recreational cannabis, so all regulations lived under one umbrella.

The mission of the newly formed California Cannabis Authority is to “develop and manage a statewide data platform that will gather, collect, and analyze information from a myriad of data sources into one resource.” The more local governments that participate, the more compelling and significant the data will be for everyone who accesses it.

The group was created by the California State Association of Counties Finance Corp. The group started with San Luis Obispo, Humboldt, and Monterey Counties on board, with Mendocino following suit. According to a report by the Ukiah Daily Journal, the platform will make it easier to track tax payments, provide compliance information to county departments, and allow health officials to access product information. Continue reading