Articles Posted in Federal Enforcement/ California Marijuana

In late June, the Food & Drug Administration for the first time approved a cannabis-derived drug, and it could marijuana lawchange the landscape of marijuana in the United States, possibly within the next month. Epidiolex contains an active ingredient of CBD found in marijuana, and was approved to treat severe forms of epilepsy in children. 

According to a report from The Philadelphia Inquirer, the CEO of the company responsible for Epidiolex said before the drug can be prescribed, it must be reclassified to be lower than it’s current Schedule I status, Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. He said he expects this to happen within 90 days of the FDA approval. This means marijuana could very well be reclassified by late September. It doesn’t mean that there will be a total free-for-all on cannabis use, but a lower scheduling will mean that the federal government will finally acknowledge the plant has medicinal benefits, and medical marijuana programs across the country can be released from the grips of the federal ban. 

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A new bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in hopes of easing up burdens on federal employees whomarijuana lawyers work in states where marijuana has been legalized by allowing them to benefit from their state’s laws without fear of losing their job. HR-6589, the Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under States Laws Act, would protect the employment of anyone working for or applying to work for a local office serving the federal government who is caught using cannabis so long as the person is abiding by proper state laws, according to a report from Washington Times.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Charlie Crist (D-Florida) and Drew Ferguson (R-Georgia) once again proving cannabis is an issue that truly brings people together across the aisle.

In many ways, one would not know that marijuana is prohibited by federal law in the United States. In 30 states and Washington, D.C., cannabis has been legalized for medical use, with about a third of those permitting recreational use. While more than half of the states in the U.S. have legalized some form of marijuana, many Americans still have to make careful decisions about whether or not to consume for the sake of their careers. Even where cannabis is legal, employers are perfectly within their rights to drug test and to hold employees accountable for marijuana found in their systems. This includes employees who have a recommendation from their doctor. It becomes even more complicated when the employer serves the federal government. Federal employers must abide by federal law, regardless of the state in which they are located.  Continue reading

The hysteria regarding marijuana laws and the heightened attention to border security have cannabis business lawyerscombined 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.

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State law, federal law, and religious liberties have collided to form an unholy trinity in a casecannabis lawyers 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 marijuana businessconcrete 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 Organizationmedical marijuana 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 differentcannabis business 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 landmarkmarijuana rights 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 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