Articles Posted in California marijuana criminal defense

If a Louisiana coroner’s report is to be believed, a 39-year-old woman in the Bayou State became the first person on record who died of a marijuana overdose. On the other hand, marijuana experts are highly suspicious of the coroner’s cause-of-death listing, especially as she indicated it with “100 percent certainty.”cannabis attorney blog

But that certainty stemmed from the fact she could find no other obvious cause for why a woman with healthy organs, no alcohol or other drugs in her system and no obvious illness would have been discovered dead on her couch.

Can THC Really Result in a Fatal Overdose?

Probably not. Although this may have been a tough case to crack, the reality is Americans use billions of cannabis products annually. This has been true for a long time, not just since legalization came about, and this is the very first time an overdose has been formally attributed to cannabis – and skeptics abound.

The coroner noted that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, can result in severe heart palpitations and anxiety, perhaps leading to heart failure, and it was present in 15 times the detectable amount in this patient. Although this might seem startling at first, the reality is marijuana in the bloodstream is not like alcohol; it passes slowly through the system and lingers, long after the effects. A regular user could have high levels of concentration in their blood, yet not even be “high.”

While our cannabis lawyers concede the circumstances are puzzling, a number of medical and scientific experts have expressed deep skepticism, especially given an asserted conclusion of 100 percent certainty when the report reflected circumstantial evidence and process of elimination AND there have been no recorded deaths attributable to marijuana overdose, per to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A number of medical experts quoted in a series of media reports called the coroner’s conclusion “highly unlikely.” Continue reading

California residents and visitors over age 21 have for the last couple years enjoyed access to legal, recreational cannabis –  up to an ounce and within the regulations set forth by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control.cannabis lawyer

But what if a person is found with pot in prison?

That was the question before a California appellate court weighing the legality of five convictions for possession of marijuana while incarcerated by the state. The court ruled to overturn those criminal cannabis convictions.

Justices did note that while ingesting or smoking marijuana while in prison may still be considered a felony charge, possession of the drug isn’t spelled out in the plain language of pertinent statutes, California Health and Safety Code section 11362.45 and 11362.1, which expressly impose penalties for use, but not possession. Continue reading

In a first-of-its-kind cannabis lawsuit, the City of Los Angeles is suing an unlicensed marijuana dispensary for selling products to the public that contained dangerous pesticides. The city attorney warned the civil litigation against the South Los Angeles owner would not be the last, as his office joins the fight to crackdown on booming black market bud.unlicensed dispensary defense

Legitimate cannabis companies say they’re being crippled, some already driven out, by the presence of unlicensed operations. Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers know these firms have an unfair market advantage over those abiding the law because they are burdened by the intense regulatory oversight developed by the California Cannabis Control Bureau.

It’s a process that involves rigorous (and expensive) pesticide testing. Cannabis dispensaries not weighed down by these requirements – among others – effectively carving out an unfair financial advantage over licensed dispensaries. Customers may opt to purchase the drug legally, especially for concentrates and edibles, which are bound by stringent labeling and packaging requirements. On the other hand, they can get it for a whole lot cheaper from an unlicensed dealer.

L.A. Warns: Patronize Illegal Pot Shops at Your Own Risk

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Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers know that cannabis companies are feeling the burn of the black market. Fresh off paying their taxes (in cash) and still weighted by cumbersome California cannabis regulations that tiptoe around the federal law from which they have loose protections, many companies are fed up with the fact that doing it all the right way has them taking a black seat to illicit street sales.Los Angeles marijuana business lawyer

Ever since Prop. 64 legalized marijuana, the drug has been readily available in many communities throughout the state – just not always on the up-and-up. Because illicit marijuana sales bypass the regulatory framework set forth by the Bureau of Cannabis Control (which includes seed-to-sale tracking, laboratory testing for pesticides and potency and stringent rules on regulation), they have carved themselves an unfair market advantage.

Our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers work with these firms to help ensure they are abiding regulatory compliance and also to fight back against the unlawful sales that threaten their livelihood. We also help cannabis entrepreneurs trying to do it the right way, despite numerous setbacks due to bureaucracy, do all they can to claw their way into the market. We also help those facing federal and state marijuana criminal charges, regulating that a big part of the problem is the lack of uniformity not just throughout the country from state-to-state but within California from community to community. Continue reading

Using marijuana is legal in California, but apparently, if you’re up for top-level security clearance with the U.S. government, you may want to think twice. employment attorney

The Orange County Register reports The Pentagon is reviewing the federal security clearance of California tech billionaire Elon Musk following an on-air marijuana toke on a comedian’s podcast last fall. Musk reportedly refiled the SF-86 security form required of federal contractors and/or employees who seek security clearance. The form requires filers to answer truthfully whether they have used any illegal drugs at any point in the previous seven years. Musk reportedly had a higher-level secret clearance, thanks to his position spearheading a company (Space Exploration Technologies Corp. – SpaceX for short) that is permitted launch of military spy satellites.

The company’s day-to-day operations aren’t overseen by Musk, and the company won several national security space launch contracts in the wake of the podcast, but the Register reports it’s only with the refiling that Musk may have some issues.

Employers, Contractors Allowed to Set Ground Rules for Off-the-Clock Cannabis Use Continue reading

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy scheme to get rich by robbing a marijuana dispensary – and cover it up by making it look like a government raid – did not go according to plan. Now, he’s facing 40 years-to-life in federal prison after pleading guilty to five felonies related to the faux raid. The nearly $650,000 in cash, money orders, half-ton of marijuana and Mercedes-Benz he allegedly heisted during the operation were also turned over to federal authorities. L.A. marijuana criminal defense lawyer

Los Angeles marijuana criminal defense lawyers have taken note that this is one of the most brazen robberies of a dispensary in recent memory. The Los Angeles Daily News reports the law enforcement officer, age 41, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and armed robbery. He was also convicted of depriving others of their rights under color of law.

One of his co-defendants pleaded guilty to many of the same charges, as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm. That individual was also convicted in state court of burglary in the second-degree, as well as possessing marijuana for sale and assault with a deadly weapon. He is also facing a lifetime behind bars.

Sentencing is slated for early summer. Four other defendants are also accused, one having signed a plea agreement to testify against the others.  Continue reading

To answer a question that still commonly crops up for our Los Angeles marijuana criminal defense attorneys: Yes, you can still get busted for cannabis-related offenses in the state of California.Los Angeles criminal defense marijuana

When California legalized cannabis for recreational purposes with Prop. 64, broadly opening the market for adult consumers earlier this year, it did not legalize all cultivation, production, sale and possession of the drug. Instead, marijuana legalization was inducted into a highly-regulated market. And while criminal arrests for cannabis possession are down, there is still a risk of running afoul of state regulations and criminal codes.

This summer, a crime report issued by the state revealed that while marijuana-related arrests in mid-2018 saw a significant drop this year compared to last (56 percent overall, with felony marijuana arrests down 74 percent), there is still a risk that Californians and visitors could face substantial jail or prison terms, hefty fines and criminal records. Still, the number facing those risks fell by 8,000 from 2016 to 2017.

Los Angeles marijuana criminal defense attorneys as well as those with the Drug Policy Alliance and other supporters who have long-backed marijuana legalization efforts, overall this is good news, as it means less taxpayer-funded law enforcement resources are being dedicated to non-violent drug-related offenses, and the focus now can rightly shift to more serious crimes.  Continue reading

Los Angeles marijuana attorneys know the cannabis industry has worked diligently since Proposition 64 was passed to shed its past image of lawlessness. An alleged plot in San Diego isn’t helping, though the case has helped bring to light certain marijuana businsess regulatory loopholes that state lawmakers are now working to address. Los Angeles marijuana lawyers

Local news media is reporting a prominent property owner and marijuana owner, along with two associates, is accused of cooking up a plan to kidnap and murder a business partner while in Mexico. He has been arrested on charges of criminal conspiracy, leaving the Southern California cannabis community stunned. Many trade industry groups have refused to discuss this case, and while our Los Angeles marijuana attorneys will point out that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, it is important to point out that even if proven, this conduct is not reflective on the rest of the cannabis business community – despite the way in which staunch prohibitionists in many communities will undoubtedly attempt to twist it.

The truth of the matter is concerns regarding public safety that were raised time and again by die-hard cannabis prohibitionists haven’t been realized. The truth of the matter is in San Diego, where these individuals reportedly worked, has not reported any noticeable uptick in violence among operators of the city’s lawful marijuana dispensaries. Of those violent incidents that have been reported, almost all involved illegal, unregulated cannabis dispensaries. Legalization and regulation is a form of protection not only for owners and operators of the business itself, as well as neighbors, customers and connected industries.  Continue reading

A couple from Minnesota was recently convicted on federal possession with intent to distribute charges after they were accused of hauling more than 1,000 pounds of California cannabis in their RV and were on their way home when they were stopped in Montana. They face between 5 and 40 years in prison for the charges, plus a $5 million fine and up to four years of supervised release. It’s not clear exactly how officers were tipped off to the pair, though Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers understand Montana authorities were notified via the Minnesota drug task force before they were stopped leaving a casino. Defendant reportedly told authorities he was paid $20,000.Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

Transport of marijuana across state lines has always been a federal crime, and the fact the drug can now be obtained legally by adults in states like California has not changed that. Even traveling from a state like Washington to California – where the drug is legal for recreational purposes in both states – is technically a crime in the eyes of federal law. It may even be considered trafficking, and you could face five years in prison for possession with intent to distribute as little as 50 grams.

Practically speaking, if you transport cannabis across state lines from one state to another where both have legalized cannabis for recreation, you may not incur any serious penalty. But if this is something you are thinking about or planning, take no action before first speaking with a Los Angeles marijuana attorney because technically, to do so IS a crime. Continue reading

For as long as the people of California have sought marijuana, the black market has existed. Even when the state legalized medicinal use in 1996 and then paved the way for lawful recreational use with a ballot measure last year, Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know the reality is illicit pot shops and sales have always outpaced the legal market. The hope was we’d see a shift, a significant tapering off of demand for illegal marijuana now that with recreational pot now available. But as of right now, they have retained a larger hold than facilities operating according to the stringent regulatory guidelines set forth by state and local officials.Los Angeles marijuana lawyers

Los Angeles marijuana lawyers had seen many long-time operators on the California cannabis scene try to work their way into the newly-forged legal market to finally be legitimate, only to end up continuing to work the riskier – bit more lucrative – illicit market. This includes unlawful medical marijuana collectives, cannabis delivery services and cultivation farms that haven’t been properly vetted according to stringent state law.

Some of these individuals are focused on pursuing “OT” money, generated from “out-of-towners.” Of course, such sales are especially risky because, as our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know, rules can vary from city to city and certainly from state-to-state and country-to country. Black market sales are playing with fire given the uncertainty of how federal authorities are going to handle future sales. Despite the Jan. 1st legalization of recreational use and sales in the Golden State, cannabis is considered an illegal crop from the top-down under the Controlled Substances Act, and as a Schedule I narcotic, it’s one of the most most heavily regulated – despite being one of the most commonly-cultivated and sold. And it’s going to be extremely difficult to move away from that given its history with illicit sales and use.  Continue reading