Articles Posted in California marijuana legalization

Inmates in prison are not allowed to possess recreational marijuana while incarcerated, according to a new ruling by the California Supreme Court. The court overturned a lower court’s decision that held prisoners were allowed to have the drug, so long as they didn’t use it. Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

The case, California v. Raybon, involves five inmates in a California state prison who were convicted on felony charges after being found with marijuana in their cells. The men appealed to the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento, which overturned their convictions after determining that while they could not legally eat or smoke pot in prison, possession of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense. As our Los Angeles marijuana defense lawyers can explain, this ruling conflicted with those of other appellate courts.

The state supreme court weighed in after a challenge from the state attorney general. In a split 5-2 ruling, the high court held that Prop 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in California, was not applicable to prison inmates. The majority opinion held that there as nothing in the ballot materials for the law that indicated voters had considered or were even aware of how this might impact possession of the drug in prison. The court stated, “it seems implausible that the voters intended to essentially decriminalize marijuana in prison.”

Had the public intended to alter the laws and policies regarding possession of cannabis in prison settings, they would have stated so explicitly, the court ruled. Further, it would make no sense that voters would wish to continue to criminalize the consumption of cannabis in prison, yet allow inmates to legally posses it. Continue reading

Our Southern California cannabis lawyers have been carefully eyeing the legal developments happening at the federal level, with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York recently releasing draft legislation that would legalize marijuana in the U.S. Los Angeles marijuana lawyer

It’s called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. It’s similar to a bill passed by the House in December. The House’s approval of such a measure isn’t surprising, given its political makeup. The Senate, however, is much more conservative and a different story. How good of a chance does a measure like this actually have of becoming reality?

A poll conducted last year by the Pew Research Center reveals 6 in 10 Americans favor legalizing pot for both medicinal and recreational use. However, the majority party in the Senate has a lot on its plate, with presidential priorities being immigration, policing and infrastructure. Cannabis isn’t on that list, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t have forward momentum. Continue reading

marijuana bankingThe state of California has now permitted the legal use of marijuana for two years. And tax dollars collected from the cannabis industry are already showing great impact across a variety of sectors.

Since its passing in 2016, Prop 64 has earmarked its entire cannabis industry tax revenue, minus regulatory costs, to supporting public health, repairing the environment, and bettering public safety.

New parks, healthier children, broader educational opportunities, forest clean ups, drugged drivers removed from the roads, and criminal records cleared are just some of the areas already seeing big improvements thanks to Prop 64 tax revenue contributions.

And this is just the beginning. In mid January this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed another $332.8 million in cannabis tax revenue would be allocated to social services for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

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Los Angeles marijuana lawyerLos Angeles officials announced that cannabis vape cartridges seized from unlicensed storefronts late last month were tainted with potentially hazardous additives. These include an agent that is known to thicken substances, and is also blamed for causing the vaping lung illness sweeping the nation.

In December, California investigators also raided unregulated storefronts throughout Los Angeles and confiscated illegal vape products. According to state testing results, many of those products showed as far less potent than labeling suggested.

In some cases, the oil cartridges THC contents showed to be only a portion of that claimed and were diluted more than one-third by undisclosed but likely dangerous additives.

Los Angeles officials tested a sample comprising more than 10,000 randomly selected illegal vape pens confiscated in those raids. Results showed three in four vapes contained the thickening agent vitamin E acetate, which federal regulators blame for the majority of lung illnesses linked to the national vaping health crisis.

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An all-encompassing cannabis reform bill inches the nation’s marijuana industry ever closer to federal legalization, as the U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted 24-10 in favor of the bill carried by California-Dem. Kamala Harris in the Senate.

The MORE Act
Should the bill become law, the 2019 Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act) has the potential to extend vast business opportunities for licensed cannabis outfits, especially in states like California where legal operations have already had time to become well established.

However, the bill is not expect to be reviewed by the full House until at least 2020. And in the event that the full House does pass the measure, the current Republican-controlled senate will likely be a difficult obstacle for the Democrat lead bill to overcome prior to next year’s federal election.Marijuana policy
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In January, the state of California kicked off an online rollout of its marijuana inventory tracking system. At a glance, marijuana businesses across the Golden State appear to be successfully reporting product inventory each day, via the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace (CCTT) system. But not without some growing pains.

To start, the idea of tracking marijuana traveling throughout the supply chain sounds simple enough. In theory, all cannabis products would be given unique identification numbers, noting from which ‘batch’ or ‘lot’ they were born. Products would then be sent to labs for testing. Next, approved products would be passed from producer to distributor, and finally to retailers for sale. At each step, the state should be able to track each piece of marijuana as it moves through the chain, making sure nothing is being redirected out of state, and ensuring everybody is paying their required taxes.

California Cannabis Lawyers

But in practice, a few hiccups quickly come to light. First up, only businesses holding ‘provisional’ or ‘annual’ licenses are required to subscribe to the track-and-trace system. And until last month, there were more than 600 marijuana businesses operating on ‘temporary licenses,’ who would not have had to track-and-trace. This means, there was no way regulators could comprehensively account for every legal product moving about the state.

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cannabis defense lawyersEver since cannabis was legalized in California in January 2018, a flood of marijuana businesses have opened, hoping to take their share of the pot market. But it’s no secret that many industry stakeholders are unhappy with the current state of affairs.

Today there are 182 licensed marijuana dispensaries operating throughout Los Angeles, and many of those business have paid well into the tens of thousands of dollars to operate legally. First by registering their companies and covering licensing fees, then paying city taxes and continually meeting strict safety standards imposed by the state.

Meanwhile, there are countless other outfits operating slightly more under the radar. They are able to skip paying licensing fees and, as predominantly cash run businesses, also avoid paying taxes. To the frustration of legal business owners, rouge pot shops attract a slew of customers with undercut pot prices, prices that legal outfits have a hard time matching given their higher operating costs.

While regulation of cannabis use and sale continues to undergo assessment and tweaking in the state of California, many licensed cannabis business owners have reached boiling point. The biggest reason, illegal pot shops continuing to operate comfortably, with little pressure from state authorities requiring them to toe the line.
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marijuana businessMarijuana supporters in California rejoiced late last month as legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives could afford the industry more freedom to grow. Currently, the recreational use and sale of marijuana is legal in California, along with 10 other states, and Washington D.C. But federal law continues to classify cannabis as a Schedule 1 narcotic. While it is yet to happen, this makes folks in the cannabis industry weary, as the door remains open for the federal government to prosecute against cannabis related businesses, even in states that have legalized marijuana.

The Blumenauer-McClintock Amendment
The lauded legislation, known as the Blumenauer-McClintock amendment, would prohibit the Department of Justice from using federal funds to interfere with California state laws, or the laws in any state or district, legally permitting the regulated adult-use of cannabis.

Supporters for marijuana law reform are praising the legislation. Justin Strekal, Political Director for pro-marijuana organization, NORML, called it “the most significant vote on marijuana reform policy that the House of Representatives has ever taken.” That’s because the cannabis industry would certainly welcome extended protections within states that already permit the legal use and sale of marijuana.
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As many as 50,000 Los Angeles marijuana-related convictions are to be dismissed or reduced, the L.A. District Attorney said, noting completion will not only align with California’s 2020 deadline for prosecutorial review of expungement for pot crimes – it will beat it by nearly 9 months. Los Angeles marijuana expungement attorneys understand this was made possible with the aid of a nonprofit called Code for America, which developed a digital algorithm that allowed prosecutors to more quickly identify eligible candidates. Los Angeles marijuana expungement

This same group was reportedly also involved in helping San Francisco expunge more than 9,000 marijuana convictions earlier this year – even though some of those date back to 1975. The Los Angeles D.A. has said she expects the same to be the case here, pointing out that Department of Justice records in cannabis cases go back more than seven decades.

Los Angeles marijuana expungement attorneys know the chances of someone with a 1940s cannabis conviction is both alive and has any real interest in having their name cleared, is unlikely. The D.A.’s office has said they aren’t necessarily starting with the oldest cases first, and will instead be prioritizing those individuals who are looking for:

  • Housing
  • Employment
  • A fresh start

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More than two dozen cities that restrict legal cannabis sales are suing California over the issue of legal pot delivery. Los Angeles marijuana delivery business attorneys are paying close attention to this litigation, wherein plaintiff cities argue that by allowing home deliveries in cities where it is restricted, the state is breaking key provisions of Prop. 64, the legislation that opened the door to legalized recreational marijuana in California.Los Angeles marijuana delivery attorney blog

The California Bureau of Cannabis Control and its chief are named defendants in the case, which was filed in the Fresno County Superior Court. The dispute over marijuana deliveries comes shortly after the regulation adopted by state bureau earlier this year, holding that businesses licensed by the state have permission to deliver marijuana – even in municipalities that have expressly banned the operation of marijuana retail locations.

Cities Make the Case for Local Authority to Restrict Cannabis Deliveries

Among the most significant concerns cited about a free-for-all on cannabis home delivery:

  • Public safety risks, particularly robbery, given the cash-only model of legal marijuana sales;
  • An influx of illicit marijuana delivery/sales that may be difficult for law enforcement to identify/shut down.

City officials point to the specific provision of Prop. 64 that was woven into the statute with the purpose of appeasing police chiefs and city leaders: That which offers significant local control of California marijuana sales. Plaintiff asserts local control was baked into the ballot proposition with the express intent of allowing local governments to regulate activities related to marijuana sales, and that the state lacks authority to insist on allowing cannabis deliveries against local ordinances because state law guarantees local veto power within those respective jurisdictions. Continue reading

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