Articles Posted in marijuana arrest

When voters in California legalized recreational use cannabis six years ago, a major component included a legal pathway through which courts could clear most past marijuana convictions – or at least lower the charges to something less severe.Riverside marijuana conviction lawyer

This made good sense for several reasons:

  • Most marijuana convictions were for non-violent, low-level offenses.
  • Minorities and the economically disadvantaged were greatly disproportionately impacted by marijuana laws.
  • To right the injustice of people now making good money (it’s a multi-billion dollar industry in California) for the same activity that previously sent others to prison.

But despite this and a 2018 law passed with the intention of speeding up the process for tens of thousands of Californians still stuck grappling with felony and misdemeanor marijuana convictions on their record, our Riverside marijuana lawyers know that the process has been slow-going. This fact was confirmed by a recent Los Angeles Times investigation.

It’s worth noting that the process was never going to be fully automatic. But at this point, there are still an estimated 34,000 people in the state with marijuana crimes on their record that haven’t been processed for the clean slate they deserve. There were twice that many before last August, which is when the Times started raising questions about why it was taking so long (presumably lighting a fire under officials to prioritize the effort).

It appears the primary bottleneck in the process that involves 58 prosecutors’ offices and the state Department of Justice is the courts. Some counties have been working with a fair amount of diligence to clear records for people in their communities. In total, 117,000 cases have been processed in California. Others, however, have been incredibly slow. For example, in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, not a single case has been processed. Others, like Kern County, are only at 18 percent. Continue reading

Measuring one’s degree of marijuana impairment has long been an interest of not only scientists, but law enforcement prosecutors and some employers. Many thought there could be a parallel to alcohol testing; but instead of measuring one’s blood-alcohol concentration they could measure the amount of THC (the primary psychoactive component of cannabis) in one’s blood. The big problem with this, of course, is that THC doesn’t behave in the body the same way alcohol does. It isn’t processed as quickly. Thus, it’s not an accurate measure of one’s degree of impairment. Los Angeles marijuana dui lawyer

This is something our Los Angeles marijuana DUI attorneys have argued for years. Now, this same conclusion was backed by a federally-funded study. Backed by a grant from the National Institute of Justice, researchers tested the THC levels of 20 individuals who either vaporized or ate varying levels of THC. They were then subjected to numerous cognitive and field sobriety tests, similar to what are used by law enforcement.

The groups that received higher doses of THC (above 5 mg) were adversely impacted in terms of their sobriety – their psychomotor skills were visibly impaired – the level of THC in their blood and other biofluids didn’t reliably reflect that. Thus, the amount of THC in one’s blood was not a good indicator of marijuana intoxication. Continue reading

Calls around the country to “defund the police” have been growing, with social activists decrying the systemic racism apparent in the criminal justice system and insisting many of the problems we trust to law enforcement agencies can be better handled by social service networks. Meanwhile, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control has been looking to hire more law enforcement. California cannabis lawyer

The Sacramento Bee reports the BCC’s latest budget request calls for the creation of nearly 90 new police officers who would be tasked with enforcing the 2016-passed Prop. 64, which legalized recreational marijuana. This new branch of law enforcement would involve absorbing nearly 60 positions (47 sworn) from the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cannabis Enforcement Unit and then hiring about 30 more. Continue reading

Anymore when we talk about criminal charges for cannabis companies, it has to do either with unlicensed dispensaries or unlawful sales. Since the 2013 Cole Memo de-funded prosecution of state-legal marijuana businesses and especially since Prop. 64 nixed pot prohibition in the state three years ago, it’s rare that federal authorities will pursue charges against cannabis companies or operators in connection with their work.cannabis lab attorney

Recently, though, two California cannabis company top executives were arrested, their company also charged, for allegedly dumping 1,500 pounds of toxic waste in violation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The indictment, filed last month in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California, notes a history of illegal dumping of waste material from the firm’s cannabis extraction lab. Specifically, drums of ethanol waste. Continue reading

Police and prosecutors across the country are grappling with questions regarding the impact of federal hemp laws on criminal marijuana investigations. As one state attorney in Florida put it: Legal hemp is going to make state-level marijuana arrests a whole lot tougher.marijuana arrest

Los Angeles marijuana criminal defense lawyers understand it comes down to the way marijuana trafficking investigations are so often initiated around the country: The ever-objective nose test.

To be fair, cannabis does have its own distinct olfactory properties. As many defense attorneys will tell you in states where the drug is still either banned entirely or restricted to card-carrying medical users, a sizable percentage of marijuana arrests begin with a traffic stop, detection of that aroma and a warrantless vehicle search. (These searches often yield items unrelated, such as other narcotics, firearms, etc.)

Historically, it’s been difficult for marijuana defense lawyers to dispute an officer’s sense of smell, especially where marijuana was indeed later found.

But now, virtually all arrests stemming from that common scenario are going to be called into question, if a memo from one state attorney is correct. Continue reading

Lawmakers, worker rights advocates, cannabis industry leaders and criminal defense lawyers are expressing outrage after a trucker hauling hemp was arrested on felony state charges in Idaho for transporting an unlawful substance across state lines from Oregon.truck accident lawyer

The incident occurred a month after the  2018 U.S. Farm Bill that legalized commercial hemp at the federal level went into effect. So long as the hemp contains less than 0.03 percent tetrahydrocanabidiol (THC), it is now legal under federal law for cultivation, production, transportation and sale.

The case underscored some of the worst fears expressed by trucking companies and drivers about hauling these products. Cannabis industry suppliers, carriers, vehicle owners, drivers and contractors scrambling to understand what happened, learn how to protect their operations and advocate for a driver who almost certainly didn’t think he was doing anything illegal. Continue reading

In California, vaping or smoking marijuana in public is not lawful. You’d be forgiven, however, if you didn’t realize that walking on any random strip in Southern California. Lighting up almost everywhere has become practically ubiquitous. Homeowners, renters and businesses have had their share of complaints. Some businesses have even posted explicit signage making it clear: No smoking allowed. Nonetheless, the smell wafts on near every corner. marijuana lawyer

Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know there has been an uptick among local law enforcement citations for smoking in public areas, particularly those nearby to schools, parks, restaurants, shops and in cars or boats. (No, you cannot light up in a car, even if you’re a passenger.) Police say many individuals aren’t familiar with this provision of the law, and even visitors who have come to the state on vacation end up leaving – well, not on probation, but with wallets $100 lighter. That’s the fine for public marijuana smoking in California.

Common areas in apartments and even balconies are forbidden spots for outdoor pot smoking, though that usually goes unchecked unless your neighbors complain. This restriction has become particularly burdensome for those who use the drug as medicine.  Continue reading

Since marijuana became lawful in California for medicinal purposes, small-scale possession has been largely decriminalized in most local communities. This is especially true now that marijuana has legalized recreational use of the drug as of this year with Prop. 64. However, cannabis possession remains unlawful as far as federal law is concerned and California’s new law doesn’t legalize every cannabis crime. As Orange County marijuana criminal defense attorneys know, reported arrests are still falling fast. The Orange County Register indicated that from 2016 to 2017, those in California facing jail or prison, serious fines and permanent criminal records dropped by nearly 8,000, according to information from the California Attorney General’s Office. However, a recent report printed by the Philadelphia Inquirer (republished by PoliceOne.com), marijuana arrests may be inflated in Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics. Orange County marijuana criminal defense attorneys

Let’s note firstly that Pennsylvania legalized medicinal marijuana in April 2016, and the drug is only available for those suffering from certain medical conditions. Unlike California, and numerous other states, it is not available for recreational sale, possession or use. Even with medicinal use being legal, the Philadelphia area has reported that marijuana arrests in the area have markedly increased in recent years. And yet, the spike being reported by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. The analysis reveals marijuana arrests as reflected in federal data may be inflated by as much as 70 percent.

Why the disparity? As our Orange County marijuana criminal defense attorneys understand it, it’s a result of local police agencies reporting every single situation in which people are caught with pot in – even if they aren’t ultimately arrested for that offense. Continue reading

Arizona marijuana attorneys are asking the state supreme court to side with their argument that the state’s medical marijuana law makes no distinction between cannabis edibles, liquids, dried flowers or leaves. The appeal follows a decision by the Arizona Court of Appeals, which upheld the marijuana possession conviction of a man found with 0.05 ounces of hashish, for which he was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison (for drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia). Defendant had obtained the hashish (cannabis plant resin) and jar from a legal dispensary in Maricopa County.criminal defense

The state allows regulated dispensaries to distribute medical edibles and liquids to be sold for medical use. The 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act allowing one to obtain up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana twice a month, something more than 174,000 people qualify. Defendant’s attorneys are arguing that the active medicinal ingredient in the plant is the resin, and that the law doesn’t expressly exclude certain parts of the plant. There is no provision that says only the flower or only the leaves are allowed. The law defines marijuana broadly to include all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not, and the seeds of such plants.

In State v. Jones, both sides disagreed as to whether hashish was included within the immunities of AMMA. Citing a previous state supreme court case from the late 1970s, the appeals court noted the legislature recognizes marijuana and hashish as two distinct forms of cannabis, and that the differing forms of treatment between marijuana and hashish have to do with its potency and rendering it susceptible to “serious and extensive abuse.” The state’s medical marijuana law makes no mention of hashish one way or another. Continue reading

Technology is playing a big part in reclaiming the lives of California residents who were adversely affected by past marijuana arrestcannabis convictions. In San Francisco, for example, Code for America is assisting the District Attorney’s office in identifying people eligible to have their marijuana arrest records cleared, according to a report by Fast Company. The organization created an algorithm that could scan old case files for qualifying criteria. The system then takes it a step further by filling out the necessary paperwork, as well.

This is a huge victory for communities hit hardest by the politically motivated and often misguided “War on Drugs.” Minority communities and neighborhoods have historically been targeted the hardest when it came to convicting for marijuana use, while similar crimes in predominantly white communities were largely ignored. This has left a trail of destruction for predominantly black areas, with families broken apart by loved ones serving jail time and futures being damaged. It is more difficult for those with convictions on their records to find good work and obtain housing, meaning that even once people have fulfilled their punishment, they can be haunted by their records years later. Continue reading

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