Articles Posted in Federal Enforcement/ California Marijuana

While excitement over marijuana legalization continues to rise at the state level, the incoming clouds of the federal government continue to threaten tomarijuana legalization rain on the parade. And while some hope to just wait out the storm, others are taking the matter into their own hands.

Berkeley City Council is putting its city and citizens first by becoming a sanctuary city for adult-use marijuana, according to CNN. The council passed a resolution recently that would prevent local agencies from using city funds to enforce federal marijuana laws. That means if federal agents try to come down on anyone in the city, they can do so within the boundaries of their own authority, but not with the assistance of the city or its employees. No financial assistance. No help from employees. No access to information.

The city is taking it a step further as well by actively fight against any steps by Drug Enforcement Administration to close down recreational marijuana businesses in the city.

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In the David versus Goliath of weed, five plaintiffs are taking on the federal government’s archaic stance on cannabis, claiming they have “suffered medical marijuanaharm, and … are continually threatened with additional harm” as a result of marijuana’s Schedule I classification under Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812.

Arguments recently began in U.S. District Court Southern District of New York for the lawsuit filed against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Department of Justice, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and its director Chuck Rosenberg, and, to top it off, the United States of America.

Plaintiffs include a military veteran who uses cannabis for post-traumatic stress disorder, a former pro football player with a business that sells hemp-based products, representatives for two young children, each of whom suffer from severe medical issues, and Cannabis Cultural Association, a non-profit organization meant to help minorities benefit from the cannabis industry, according to an article from Associated Press. The lawsuit also outlines that, while not a class action, it would benefit tens of millions of Americans who depend on marijuana’s medical properties. Continue reading

One of the beacons of hope for medical marijuana businesses during these uncertain times has been Rohrabacher-Blumenauer, an amendment thatmedical marijuana lawyers blocks the Justice Department’s ability to spend money on prosecuting medical marijuana operations that are compliant with their state’s relevant laws.

However, this amendment is not a permanent structure and is put in peril every time the government shuts down and Congress must pass a spending measure. Given the tumultuous nature of the current budget debates at the federal level, this has already happened multiple times this year. Each time Congress goes for a vote, the medical marijuana community must hold its breath and wait to see if the amendment will be included in the next budget parameters. That’s no way to treat respectable business owners.

So far it has survived each round, but with another vote coming up in March, we’re not in the clear just yet, according to Leafly.

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The more understanding of cannabis changes, the more enforcement of archaic laws stays the same.cannabis legalization

In Los Angeles and other areas in California, government employees are getting warning letters reminding them that they are not allowed to consume marijuana, even while off-duty, saying their employers strict no-drug policies have not changed, even as state laws have evolved into the 21st century, according to NBC Los Angeles.

The warnings were spurred by the passing of Proposition 64, which led to legalization of recreational marijuana in California as of Jan. 1. Los Angeles is one of the cities which has welcomed legalization efforts and cannabis businesses. Meanwhile, it is clear many will not be able to enjoy the same freedoms as their fellow residents.

No one is arguing the merits of such a policy when it comes to consuming anything that might impair a worker while on the clock. But prohibiting marijuana use on one’s own time is as ridiculous as forbidding an employee from enjoying a glass of wine after a long day at work. Continue reading

Recently, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era Department of Justice Directive that essentially urged federal prosecutors tomedical marijuana ignore marijuana crimes so along as alleged violators were in compliance with state laws. This step gave states the space to figure out how they wanted to handle recreational and/or medical cannabis laws without interference from the federal government.

Sessions, however, has made it clear he intends to revive marijuana prosecutions based on the drug’s current Schedule I controlled substance designation under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. By rescinding the 2013 order, Sessions has given federal officials the freedom to pursue charges against anyone for these violations – even if they follow state and local laws to the letter. Our marijuana attorneys in L.A. encourage all cannabis business owners in California to seek prompt legal counsel to best protect themselves and their livelihood.

Some don’t see this as an immediate threat, citing the lack of resources to go after so many operations. They also point to a lack of support among citizens to pursue such charges, meaning juries will be more reticent to convict. Others are less optimistic. Continue reading

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions is doing all he can to hold states to federal law regarding marijuana, some representatives are pushing to Los Angeles marijuana legalizationeliminate federal grasp over cannabis altogether and begin the healing process of the destruction caused by the war on drugs.

The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 was originally introduced in the Senate by Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) in August, where it stalled. Two representatives from California — Barbara Lee (D-CA 13th District) and Ro Khanna (D-CA 17th District) — are now trying to get a companion bill before the House of Representatives. The objective of these bills is to remove marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic in the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812.

This move comes on the heels of Sessions rescinding a directive, known as the Cole Memo, issued in 2013 by the Department of Justice during the Obama administration, which indicated that federal prosecutors should not pursue charges in relation to illegal marijuana activity so long as those in question were abiding by state laws. Continue reading

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently rescinded an Obama-era Department of Justice memo, which directed federal prosecutors to lay off cannabis Orange County recreational marijuana charges in states where activity is legal. This has effectively opened the doors for officials to pursue legal action against operations per the federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812, even though they are abiding state laws.

That isn’t stopping states, though, from pressing forward with marijuana legalization.

Vermont is the latest state to make recreational marijuana legal for adult use, joining California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. But what makes Vermont unique is that this is the first recreational marijuana law passed through legislation rather than a ballot initiative, according to a report from Huffington Post. This was necessary, however, because the state does have a system for voting on such measures. Continue reading

In 2013, Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued what was known as The Cole Memo, a directive during the Obama administration that toldmarijuana business lawyers federal officials to back off of prosecuting those selling, distributing, growing, or using marijuana, so long as the offenders were following state laws. The memo was issued to reconcile the federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic, with the wave of state laws that allow cannabis sales and use, either medically or recreationally. The move gave hope to the growing number of Americans in favor of full cannabis legalization nationwide.

However, the U.S. recently took a big step backward when current Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the directive, re-opening the door for federal prosecutors to allocate resources at their discretion for cracking down on marijuana operations.

Leaders in states that have legalized marijuana have no intention of going down without a fight, though. With many more making moves to legalize cannabis in state legislatures or on ballots this year, they might have even more allies by their side. Continue reading

It’s no news that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has strong feelings about the cannabis industry. Since his Marijuana Lawyersappointment almost a year ago, he has promised to uphold federal cannabis law, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic under Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. This path is in stark contrast with the narrative in the rest of the country: 30 states as well as Washington, D.C., have some form of marijuana legalization on the books. Eight of those states (including California) and the District of Columbia allow recreational marijuana sales and use, with more planning ballot initiatives and legislative votes in 2018.

Up until now, those states have been able to manage their marijuana laws as they saw fit without meddling from the federal government thanks to a directive put in place at the Department of Justice during Barack Obama’s presidency that discouraged enforcement.

However, Sessions recently rescinded that directive, opening the door for prosecutors to go after states that have established legal cannabis.  Continue reading

There is no question that more of the American public supports medical marijuana and the legalization of cannabis for recreational use than at any other point in our nation’s history.  Currently, more than half of all U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for either medical use, recreational use, or both.

brief caseHowever, despite the growing wave of support behind the legalization movement, there are some who oppose medical cannabis or recreational use of cannabis.  Some of these opponents have formed their own political action groups to work to challenge state bills and direct voter action campaigns.  According to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times, one of these groups may be facing trouble related to alleged campaign finance violations. Continue reading