The hysteria regarding marijuana laws and the heightened attention to border security have combined to reach a new fever pitch, with border patrol reportedly enforcing wildly audacious rules and ruining lives in the process. U.S. border guards have allegedly started turning away Canadian citizens entering the U.S. if it is revealed that they work in the cannabis industry, regardless of whether or not they are in compliance with Canada’s laws or even if their business deals directly with the drug or not, according to The Vancouver Star. Involvement in the cannabis industry means you are profiting from illicit drug trading, in the eyes of U.S. border patrol, an offense that can get you banned from entering the U.S. for life. Once you’re on the list, you never fall off, and admittance into the country would require the help of an immigration attorney and special temporary waivers. Even admitting to ever using cannabis has reportedly led to Canadians being turned away at the border.
State law, federal law, and religious liberties have collided to form an unholy trinity in a case involving First Church of Cannabis. The church had put in a bid attempting to allow smoking of marijuana as a religious sacrament in Indiana. The group sued the state, attorney general, and then Gov. Mike Pence in 2015. But a judge out of Marion County Superior Court recently ruled against the church, according to RTV6.
Indiana currently has extremely limited medical marijuana provisions and relatively strict laws against recreational use. Attempts to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana were thwarted in 2013, and instead an amendment to IC 35-48-4-11 was added to HB 1006 to increase penalties of certain types of possession to felonies rather than misdemeanors. Some attempts to legalize medical marijuana also failed a few years ago, but last year the legislature was able to push through a bill allowing CBD oil specifically for seizures. Considering all of the people nationwide who have found relief from cannabis for a wide variety of ailments, this seems to be the absolute least they could do. Continue reading
A bipartisan blend of politicians has come together to support a bill that could finally offer some concrete relief from the oppressive federal law that continues to bind the hands of marijuana businesses despite state legalization. The STATES Act, Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States, is a more formal way of declaring that state laws regarding cannabis usurp the federal government’s Schedule I classification under Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812.
According to a report from Leafly, the bill allows representatives who refuse to step into the 21st Century to support marijuana businesses without taking a stance on marijuana at all. It turns the matter purely into a states’ rights issue, which has become the great unifier in the cannabis debate. It also removes industrial hemp from the definition of “marijuana,” freeing many industries that create products unrelated to the psychoactive properties of cannabis. Continue reading
While we try to hash out how to handle marijuana laws across the U.S., World Health Organization is bringing their findings to the global stage. WHO was tasked by secretary general of United Nations to deliver a recommendation on the level of international control necessary for cannabis, according to a Mother Jones report. It is of no surprise to our cannabis law firm that the first report from WHO described marijuana as a “relatively safe drug.”
An international team of marijuana experts contributed to the report, which was presented to the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. The report analyzed both THC and CBD and found evidence it has medical benefits, particularly in relieving symptoms of cancer treatments, pain relief, and anxiety. It also concluded that driving under the influence of cannabis is risky, but not as risky as alcohol. Marijuana use also can also be risky for pregnant women and children. Continue reading
One of the biggest obstacles for any farming community is how to best control pests. Each plant attracts a different set of insects and animals and requires special care to deter wildlife from harming crops. Farmers must also take into consideration how pest-control methods could harm natural surroundings and affect the people who will consume the product. Cannabis farms are no different, though they lack the years of shared wisdom other farmers have gathered. In fact, cannabis farmers have to be even more thoughtful in some ways about what they use because their end product isn’t easily washable like an apple. Although it wouldn’t seem a cannabis attorney would be your first consult on this front, it’s worthwhile to review it with your counsel so you are sure you’re abiding local and state environmental regulations.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation, has been tasked by California’s Medicinal Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act to provide guidelines for pesticide use in cannabis farming. The department said there is not a pesticide product federally registered for use specifically for cannabis farmers. However, there are plenty of pesticides that can legally be used on cannabis so long as they meet certain criteria. Continue reading
An ally in the fight for states rights to enact marijuana legislation has come from an unlikely place. A landmark Supreme Court decision is primed to have a major effect on marijuana rights throughout the country, but the content of the case is not cannabis: It’s sports gambling. The recent decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association opposed a federal law that prohibited states from legalizing gambling on sports. At the heart of the lawsuit is a states’ rights issue, one that will set a precedent far beyond betting on games.
The case began with Congress passing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 1992, which made it illegal for states to allow sports gambling if they did not already have laws permitting the activity on the books, according to an article from The Hill. Years later, in 2011, New Jersey voters passed a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution and put in place sports gambling permissions and regulations, which sparked the lawsuit with NCAA and sports leagues. It was determined this was in violation of PASPA, so New Jersey legislators instead repealed the laws they had in place forbidding sports bets in casinos, hoping to create one legal avenue. Federal courts stuck down this action as well, which forced a Supreme Court decision on the matter. The Supreme Court, however, sided with New Jersey, stating that PAPSA violated anti-commandeering doctrine. Continue reading
We want to be able to trust our leaders to make the best decisions for our society. It’s difficult, though, when they demonstrate time and time again that they are not working with all of the facts, particularly when it comes to marijuana. Take Robert Patterson, chief of the Drug Enforcement Agency. He recently gave testimony during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on the opioid abuse crisis. The topic of medical marijuana came up frequently, yet Patterson was embarrassingly unprepared to discuss cannabis and its ability to help free people from opioid addictions. In fact, he didn’t seem to have much of a grasp on information about marijuana in general, according to a report Dispensaries.com.
The committee is rightfully concerned about opioids. According to the committee chairman during the hearing, almost a third of drug overdoses in the United States in 2016 were from synthetic opioids, at more than 20,000 deaths. He went on to say that in 2018 more than 2 million people will suffer from opioid addiction, whether obtained by prescription or illicit means. Studies and anecdotal evidence are growing that show cannabis is an effective replacement for opioid prescriptions and, therefore, ultimately could prevent overdoses. However, Patterson claimed to be unaware of these studies, a rather shocking statement for the top drug enforcement official in the country. Continue reading
As of now, only one establishment has been given Drug Enforcement Administration clearance to manufacture marijuana for research: University of Mississippi. This is in spite of a 2016 decision to allow DEA to approve medical marijuana manufacturers for research purposes and dozens of applications to join the pool, according to a McClatchy article. But a bipartisan bill aims to break down some of the barriers currently standing in the way of necessary and groundbreaking research. HR-5634 would force an increase in the number of registered manufacturers producing cannabis “for legitimate research purposes.”
It also would lift restrictions on medical practitioners at the Department of Veteran Affairs, who as of now must follow federal law and are therefore not allowed to recommend cannabis to any of their patients. If passed, the bill would open the door to federally approved clinical trials for veterans seeking help through the VA. This is a crucial next step in the fight for medical marijuana legalization nationwide. Veterans have long reported relief for post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms through cannabis, but if they seek treatment through VA medical professionals, they cannot access medical marijuana, even if they live in one of the 29 states that have legalized medical use. Even Washington, D.C., has approved medical marijuana, despite being the epicenter of restricting marijuana nationwide. 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.
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
The American people have known for years that times are changing when it comes to marijuana. Now, it seems some politicians at the federal level are starting to wise up and take this issue seriously as well. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) is introducing a bill to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I narcotics as part of Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. He said he also wants to leverage this issue as a way to bolster women and minority cannabis business owners.
Politicians have been slow to take a stance in favor of cannabis, even though most of us know it can be a life-changing, medically useful drug. Some have supported passive measures here and there trying to give states some freedom without themselves taking a stand. For example, the Rohrenbacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which has to be renewed annually by Congress into the spending bill, prevents the Department of Justice from using federal funds to seek action against medical marijuana activity that has been legalized in that state. Some have tried to inaccurately portray cannabis as a partisan liberal issue, but even democrats have been shy to give full support. However, as The Washington Post reported, Sen. Schumer has acknowledged that the American people have evolved on this issue and it’s time for a big change. Continue reading