Articles Posted in California marijuana criminal defense

The “War on Drugs,” specifically marijuana, has resulted in many casualties over the years,marijuana criminal defense including numerous deaths as a result of overly aggressive pursuits. The latest death out of Pennsylvania is evidence of how far we still have to go before we fully grasp the harm caused by hostile anti-marijuana stances. According to a report from American Civil Liberties Union, a man was run over by a bulldozer recently during a pursuit, after the man was allegedly caught growing a whopping 10 plants on state gaming property. The death was reported as accidental, but regardless it is an example of how needless and reckless brute force is in enforcing marijuana laws.

The small grow site was found after a game commission employee on the bulldozer was clearing brush and spotted a vehicle. He called the police after he investigated and found the marijuana plants. What followed was the definition of overreaction. Upon their arrival, police spotted two men emerging from the underbrush. They apprehended one, but the other escaped on foot. The 10 plants apparently warranted a full search with police and the game commission joining forces. Police officers called in a helicopter to search the surrounding area, while the game commission employee continued the search on the ground. Somehow, the suspect was caught up in the thick underbrush. Cause of death was listed as traumatic injuries caused by the force of the bulldozer. Continue reading

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

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

Cannabis legalization isn’t enough to protect someone from being arrested on marijuana criminal charges. Being onemarijuana criminal defense of the trailblazing marijuana business owners in the state isn’t even necessarily enough. Just ask the woman who opened Ventura County’s first legal medical marijuana dispensary. She has spent the last year and a half facing down charges for perjury, possessing and transporting marijuana, and maintaining a place to sell the drug. These charges, however, were recently dropped, freeing her to focus on her business at last.

The woman is also president of a collective in Ojai, Calif. The property of the collective and her own home in Ventura were raided in November 2016, just before Proposition 64 passed on the ballot. She lost many personal possessions in addition to property of the collective. At the time, the collective was operating under the guidelines of Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which regulated use and sales of medical marijuana in the state, but investigators said she was in violation of those rules, according to a Ventura County Star article. Continue reading

Nine drivers in Northern California are speaking out against what they say are shady practices by marijuana criminal defensepolice departments who allegedly are targeting businesses while transporting cannabis and seizing their delivery and cash. North Coast Journal conducted an investigation of these cases and found a pattern of confiscations over the past three years without any charges ever being filed against the drivers. Each of the incidents allegedly occurred during traffic stops with local police officers, and some said they were not even in the jurisdiction of that department when the stops were made.

It is not unusual that officers would share duties with other departments near major highways, like Highway 101, to patrol those long stretches of road. It’s not even unusual that they would be intercepting illegal drug transports, as the department in question was part of joint efforts to go after cocaine, meth, opioids, ecstasy, and methamphetamines. Also on the list of targeted drugs, though, was marijuana, and drivers alleged officers showed no interest in whether or not drivers were in compliance with state and local laws. One driver described a briefcase full of all necessary paperwork he carried on his route in case he was pulled over, but it allegedly did not protect him, and the contents of his vehicle were confiscated. Continue reading

If you are a cannabis retailer in Los Angeles and you do not yet have all of the necessary licenses and regulations inmarijuana criminal defense place, it’s time to get your house in order with the help of a trusted legal team. The city attorney and Los Angeles Police Department have made clear their commitment to ending the unlicensed marijuana marketplace in the city and have already filed 36 criminal cases, according to High Times. Punishments could include fines up to $1,000 and even jail time. Other shops are receiving cease-and-desist letters, and officials hope this round of charges will show others that they mean business.

These raids did not come without warning. Earlier in the year, officials from California Bureau of Cannabis Control sent warning letters to several hundred businesses they knew to be operating without licenses and promised civil and criminal action should they continue operating illegally.  Continue reading

Technology is playing a big part in reclaiming the lives of California residents who were adversely affected by past marijuana arrestcannabis convictions. In San Francisco, for example, Code for America is assisting the District Attorney’s office in identifying people eligible to have their marijuana arrest records cleared, according to a report by Fast Company. The organization created an algorithm that could scan old case files for qualifying criteria. The system then takes it a step further by filling out the necessary paperwork, as well.

This is a huge victory for communities hit hardest by the politically motivated and often misguided “War on Drugs.” Minority communities and neighborhoods have historically been targeted the hardest when it came to convicting for marijuana use, while similar crimes in predominantly white communities were largely ignored. This has left a trail of destruction for predominantly black areas, with families broken apart by loved ones serving jail time and futures being damaged. It is more difficult for those with convictions on their records to find good work and obtain housing, meaning that even once people have fulfilled their punishment, they can be haunted by their records years later. Continue reading

Flying with marijuana used to earn travelers a one-way ticket to jail (do not pass “Go,” and you’ll be paying a lot more than $200).

Since then, standards have relaxed considerably, particularly locally at the Los Angeles International Airport. However, it’s not necessarily the same at your destination spot, so it’s important to be informed about your rights and responsibilities.

marijuana criminal defense

Current policy for marijuana at LAX essentially follows California state law, according to a report from Los Angeles Times. If an adult passenger has less than an ounce on hand, airport police allow them through security. This is true even if the person is headed to a location where marijuana is illegal. Transportation Security Administration agents have bigger fish to fry, so they leave dealing with issues like nominal amounts of cannabis up to local airport law enforcement, who have mostly been passive.

Los Angeles Councilperson Mitch Englander would like to give more consideration to federal law by encouraging passengers to surrender their cannabis before going through security. He proposes adding an “amnesty box” at the airport, where marijuana can be deposited before a flight – no questions asked, no penalties. Continue reading

Marijuana has proven so replete with benefits with so few side effectsmarijuana criminal defense, it is almost laughable how many misguided politicians and policymakers are still fighting against it. It is clear to our experienced cannabis attorneys that this conundrum is exactly why many good law-abiding citizens turn to dangerous knockoff substances that have weaseled their way into the market. They do not want to break the law or fail drug tests, but they want to enjoy the benefits of marijuana.

“Synthetic cannabinoids” have been around for years, marketed as legal marijuana knockoffs, when their relation to marijuana stops at their cheeky branding and colorful packaging. Reports are rolling in from Michigan and Illinois of people using K2 or “Spice” and ending up in emergency rooms with uncontrollable bleeding, according to a report from Michigan’s WILX10. A representative from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services claimed in the Midwest, more than 100 have been hospitalized and two have died from this drug. Other forms of so-called artificial pot in the past have reportedly caused side effects such as hallucinations, seizures, heart-rate issues, and other serious medical problems.  Continue reading

Prop 64, or the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, does a lot more than the title might suggest. In addition to legalizing marijuanamarijuana criminal defense in California (and regulating and taxing), it offers a unique opportunity for the state to make reparations of sort to the people and communities who have suffered the most from the destructive “War on Drugs,” which turned out to be more of a slanderous attack on marijuana and an assault on minorities.

According to ACLU, most drug arrests between 2001-2010 were for marijuana, and a whopping 88% of those were for possession. Worse yet, black people were more than 3 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana-related crimes than white people despite having almost equal rates of use.

San Francisco and San Diego are leading the way in the state toward making amends for past marijuana-related crimes. The city’s district attorneys are proactively reviewing cases on the books and expunging misdemeanors that are no longer crimes, giving those who previously have been punished a clean slate. They also are checking for charges that can be reduced to lesser crimes.

But what about the rest of the state? Continue reading