Articles Posted in California Marijuana

California employers long have long availed themselves of their right – as affirmed by the state’s high court – to carry out zero tolerance policies against workers who use drugs – even if that drug use takes place off-the-job. That means many companies require new applicants to pass a drug screen before they start and employees (so long as it’s totally random or the company has some reason to suspect drugs are being used on-the-job). This was true even here in California, where medical marijuana has been legal since 1996 and even with the passage of Prop. 64 that legalized recreational use.California cannabis drug testing

We could see this changing, especially because part because the California Supreme Court’s ruling in Ross v.  Ragingwire Telecommunications (one of the most recent to address this issue) was predicated at least partially on the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court had affirmed challenges to the federal law in part because deemed marijuana dangerous Schedule I drug. Recently, the U.S. Attorney General said he’d favor a new bill protecting cannabis businesses and users from federal prosecution as long as they were in compliance with federal law. This measure has broad bipartisan support, as does another that would shield banks doing business with these companies from federal money laundering charges.

It’s not clear either measure would necessitate de-scheduling the drug, but doing so likely impact legal precedent in numerous areas of law – including employment and its zero tolerance. for drugs.

The History of Employer Zero Tolerance Policies Continue reading

In the two years since California legalized recreational marijuana, a half-a-dozen government corruption prosecutions alleging California cannabis-related official bribery, fraud and other crimes have been reported. The causal dynamics are in dispute. Those who were always opposed to legalization are saying, “I told you so,” while proponents of the legal market blame the clash between state-and-federal law, the patchwork of city laws and a glut of cannabis crop fueling the black-market because the legal market is too difficult to gain entry.Los Angeles cannabis lawyer

Los Angeles cannabis defense attorneys recognize the difficult state in which many marijuana businesses find themselves. Many are bogged down by too much supply and onerous product testing requirements, leaving them either forced to take a financial loss or turn to the black market. Some try getting their foot in the door to legal sales, but do it trying to buy silence or support from those with power and influence.

In one instance detailed by The Los Angeles Times on the issue, federal investigators launched an investigation after a sheriff from Siskiyou County reported receiving an offer of $1 million from a man allegedly operating several illegal marijuana farms. The man suggested it could go to a foundation the sheriff spear-headed. When the man tried to make his down payment with tens of thousands of dollars stuffed into envelopes, federal authorities swooped in. The man was later indicted on federal bribery charges.

Laws on the CBD food craze are all over the map, and misinformation is rampant. CBD, known formally as cannabidiol, is used in everything from blended drinks to savory sauces, and unlike its cousin THC, it doesn’t make consumers high. Some have referred to it as a natural form of Xanax and Tylenol – without the adverse health impact. No substantial research exists with regard to the health benefits of the compound, yet we do know it’s part of a significant health food craze. Even Martha Stewart has taken on a role advising a marijuana company on CBD food products for both people and their pets.Los Angeles CBD lawyer

Los Angeles CBD lawyers can explain that overlapping federal and state laws have created substantial confusion among restauranteers about what’s legal and what’s not. Consulting with an attorney before launching your latest line of CBD products is advisable.

California and Federal Laws on CBD in Food and Drink Products Continue reading

Authorities in Los Angeles allege three men in Southern California received funding from China to engage in a scheme to purchase residential real estate and turn it into lucrative marijuana grow operations. Los Angeles marijuana criminal defense

NBC-4 Los Angeles reports the men, ages 37 to 44, all of Pasadena, were each charged in an L.A. federal court with one count of manufacturing, distributing and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute. As our L.A. marijuana criminal defense lawyers can explain, depending on the amount of marijuana purportedly involved, this could result in a maximum prison term of anywhere from 5 years to life, per 21 U.S.C. § 841.

Investigators allege the men were wired millions of dollars from China in order to buy homes that would be used in illegal cannabis grow operations. During one of the search warrants executed, authorities reportedly seized some $80,000 in cash plus 1,650 marijuana plants. Federal authorities took possession of at least seven houses, with an estimated cumulative value of $5 million, per the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Continue reading

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