Articles Posted in Federal Enforcement/ California Marijuana

We want to be able to trust our leaders to make the best decisions for our society. It’s difficult, though, when they medical marijuanademonstrate 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 medical marijuanamarijuana 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.

marijuana criminal defense

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 somecannabis business 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

Now that marijuana has become legalized in some form in 29 states as well as Washington, D.C., we are gathering moremedical marijuana data than ever on its potential uses and benefits. With the stigma dissipating and access increased, people are more freely sharing their personal stories surrounding this life-changing plant. These anecdotes are important evidence in the fight to legalize marijuana nationwide.

A recent survey conducted by Sleep Cycle, an app designed to track your sleep cycle, has found that 14 percent of respondents used marijuana to help them sleep, according to Herb. The company surveyed about 1,000 of its application users on what methods they used to help them gets to sleep. Tea topped the list at 21 percent, melatonin came in second with 15 percent, and cannabis tied with milk and cookies at 14 percent. Continue reading

For more than a year, the country has faced uncertainty over the future of cannabis, thanks to the long-time and aggressive anti-marijuana business lawyersmarijuana stance of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. That uncertainty remains, but there is some evidence we could be seeing some positive shifts on the horizon.

Well-known marijuana advocate Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) recently had a conversation in which President Trump agreed to support Congressional protections of states with legalized cannabis, according to The Washington Post. This comes after Sen. Gardner had been taking advantage of the narrow party margin in the U.S. Senate to block nominees for the Justice Department. The senator agreed to start approving nominees in exchange for the president’s support. Continue reading

Public support for pot is on the rise. More states are looking to legalize marijuana or expand accessibility. In fact, cannabis is one of the few issues thatmarijuana legalization politicians on both sides of the aisle can agree on these days, particularly medical marijuana. It’s a time when cannabis is poised to go mainstream and become an accepted medical resource, cultural norm, and economic powerhouse. Yet, since the current administration entered Washington, D.C. and Jeff Sessions was asked to helm the Justice Department, the industry has faced uncertainty and instability.

That’s why states that strongly support marijuana legalization, including California, have requested a meeting with Sessions with the goal reconcile the stark contrast between state law and federal law, according to the Associated Press. The state treasurer from California was joined by Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Illinois in crafting a letter to open dialogue with Sessions about what banks and marijuana businesses can expect from the federal government in terms of enforcement moving forward. As our skilled lawyers can explain, the federal government is holding firm to marijuana’s Schedule I classification as part of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. To receive this classification, a substance must not demonstrate medical benefits, be considered unsafe, and have a high potential for abuse. To make these claims about cannabis is absurd, and frankly, Sessions is standing on the wrong side of history on this one.

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When President Trump signed a recent spending bill, he not only prevented the looming third federal government shutdown of the year, but also letmedical marijuana the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment slide through, thus continuing protections of state-compliant medical marijuana operations. While seemingly small, this was a pretty significant victory for those who depend on medical marijuana, whether as a patient or cannabis business owner. Marijuana users have been somewhat nervous since the change in administration, particularly with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions openly making it his mission to eradicate all advancements in the marijuana industry.

First introduced as Rohrabacher-Farr in 2001, the amendment as we know it was not signed into law until December 2014. As our medical marijuana attorneys can explain, while it does not legalize medical marijuana federally, it essentially restricts officials from spending government funds to disrupt any medical marijuana-related actions or businesses that are in compliance with relevant state and local laws. The catch is, the amendment must be renewed every year to remain in effect. It is essentially a bandage Congress created to stop the war being waged between states and the federal government. More states now have legalized medical marijuana than not. Meanwhile the federal government is clinging to an outdated Schedule 1 classification of marijuana under Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812.

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Marijuana users in Main will no longer have to choose between marijuana and their jobs. cannabis legalizationThanks to the implementation of IB 2015, c.5, “Question 1 – An Act to Legalize Marijuana” in February, employers can no longer drug test applicants for marijuana or fire workers for using cannabis on their own time.

This part of the new law has taken effect despite the fact that other portions are still lagging, namely the regulations necessary to begin sale of cannabis and cannabis products.

Voters in Maine approved recreational use, sale and taxation of marijuana back in November 2016. Initially, the law was supposed to go live in January 2017, but it soon became clear that wasn’t nearly enough time to get all the necessary regulations in place and build the foundation of a pot economy. So they moved the deadline to launch legalization out to February 2018, putting Maine on a similar timeline to California’s roll-out of Proposition 64, which also was voted on in 2016, and began implementation Jan. 1. Unlike California, though, Maine has yet to finalize rules for legal sales yet. To be fair, California had a lot more experience since our state legislators had been working with medical marijuana operations since 1996, while Maine only legalized medical marijuana a few years ago. But Maine state senators also did not extend the moratorium on the deadline to make sales legal, according to a report from The Press Herald.

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In the midst of tax season, the paradox of tax-paying marijuana business owners being treated like criminals takes center stage. The San Francisco marijuana businessChronicle recently described the scene as marijuana retailers brought bags of cash to tax administration offices. Some retailers reported bringing in up to $80,000 at a time.

But what other choice did they have? California has opened the door for legal recreational sales with the implementation of Proposition 64 this year, which is bringing a new wave of money-making opportunities for cannabis entrepreneurs. And where there is money-making, there are also taxes. These businesses want to pay their taxes, but without the option of processing transactions and savings in a bank like a normal business, cannabis companies end up paying taxes with cash out of bags.

As our marijuana attorneys can explain, at the heart of this issue is Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. According to the federal government, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I narcotic under this act. A Schedule I classification means that a drug “has high potential for abuse” and has no accepted medical use in the United States. And even under medical supervision, it would not be considered safe to consume. Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to marijuana. For more than 20 years, cannabis has been offering relief to patients in California for everything from cancer to arthritis to anxiety thanks to the Compassionate use Act of 1996. Continue reading