Articles Posted in marijuana arrest

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

Prop 64, or the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, does a lot more than the title might suggest. In addition to legalizing marijuanamarijuana criminal defense in California (and regulating and taxing), it offers a unique opportunity for the state to make reparations of sort to the people and communities who have suffered the most from the destructive “War on Drugs,” which turned out to be more of a slanderous attack on marijuana and an assault on minorities.

According to ACLU, most drug arrests between 2001-2010 were for marijuana, and a whopping 88% of those were for possession. Worse yet, black people were more than 3 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana-related crimes than white people despite having almost equal rates of use.

San Francisco and San Diego are leading the way in the state toward making amends for past marijuana-related crimes. The city’s district attorneys are proactively reviewing cases on the books and expunging misdemeanors that are no longer crimes, giving those who previously have been punished a clean slate. They also are checking for charges that can be reduced to lesser crimes.

But what about the rest of the state? Continue reading

An internal U.S. Justice Department video of a private event forum that included agency interns and the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed a terse exchange between Sessions and interns who dared to question his stance on federal marijuana policy.marijuana lawyer

ABC News reports that while Sessions has insisted on numerous occasions that the federal justice system must be based on law and facts – casting politics aside – he apparently made his political views on legal marijuana crystal clear during this event – even going so far as to mock an intern who pressed him on it.

During the forum, Sessions was asked by one intern for his reasons to support “pretty harsh policies” when it comes to legal marijuana, while simultaneously backing relatively lax gun control measures, given that possession and use of firearms has been proven to result in far more deaths than marijuana. Sessions responded by saying that more fatal accidents are caused by drugs than alcohol (though this is an oversimplification on the research on this front) and that marijuana is undoubtedly unhealthy substance, per the findings of the American Medical Association. Continue reading

Driving under the influence of marijuana has become a hot-button issue in recent years.  With marijuana being legal for medical and recreational use, police and some lawmakers are concerned there will be many more incidents of people driving while under the influence of marijuana in Los Angeles.

arrest marijuana LAWhile it should be noted that many studies that compare the effects of driving while on alcohol versus marijuana show that driving under the influence of marijuana is not nearly as dangerous as driving while drunk, it is not safe to drive when under the influence of marijuana.  However, one major issue is determining if someone is driving under the influence of marijuana, and if so, what is the level of intoxication. Continue reading

Marijuana is now legal in a growing number of states. As of this writing, 26 states and the District of Colombia now have some type of legalized marijuana. Six states allow marijuana for recreational use and two others have passed laws to allow it, though they haven’t yet gone into effect. This patchwork of marijuana legalization – without clear, decisive direction from the federal government – has led to some confusion in some regions.arrest

Case-in-point: A man in Arizona was arrested while sitting in his vehicle, listening to music and smoking a little marijuana. Now, as our L.A. marijuana lawyers will tell you, there is more than one flaw in his thinking. The first is that even in states like California where use and possession of marijuana are legal for recreation, public use is not legal. Beyond that, it’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence or impaired. Even if the vehicle was not on, authorities could make the argument that he was “in control” of the vehicle and, depending on state DUI or OUI statutes, that could mean even just sitting in the car with the keys in the ignition.

But this defendant’s biggest problem was that marijuana is not even legal in Arizona, at least not for recreational use. Continue reading

With so much talk about the legalization of recreational marijuana in California – it’s on the ballot for next week – it’s tempting to think that arrests for marijuana offenses are a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it seems likely law enforcement and prosecutors will be targeting marijuana growers, distributors and users up until the very last minute.police line

Recently, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced it raided a Canyon County strip mall, search warrant in hand, following an investigation sparked by a tip from a local citizen. At the site, investigators reportedly discovered an “elaborate” indoor marijuana cultivation system in several of the units. They also found an undetermined amount of money, plus nearly 2,500 plants in various stages of growth. There was also an additional 200 pounds of the finished product (in the form of dried marijuana buds) seized, as well as an estimated 50 pounds of edible, THC-infused products, such as suckers and cookies. Expensive air filtration systems were reportedly designed to help keep the odor from getting outside.

Although three men were detained at the scene, two were released. A third, a 28-year-old man from Los Angeles, was arrested for possession of marijuana for sales. The combined value of the plants is estimated to be approximately $6.2 million, while the combined value of the dried buds and edible products was approximately $500,000.  Continue reading

The failed war on drugs created the characterization of marijuana as this dangerous, addictive gateway to harder substances. This assertion has largely been debunked. And yet, the drug remains a Schedule I narcotic and people continue to face arrest and prosecution – even serious prison time – for manufacturing, buying, selling and possessing the drug, even though no violent crime has been committed. police car

Some of the latest data to have emerged in recent weeks on marijuana arrests gives us a little hope, but also illustrates how much farther we have to go on this issue.

The first analysis was conducted by The Washington Post after receiving the latest FBI unified crime statistics from 2015. Reporters learned that the number of marijuana possession arrests last year – 575,000 – was the lowest its been since 1996. It also shows us a 7 percent year-over-year drop, and an approximately 35 percent dip since 2007, when pot possession arrests were at their peak of 800,000. Now, this would suggest that police are overall spending less time to marijuana enforcement, particularly with regard to other drugs. But then, we consider a joint report by the Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union that shows the 575,000 marijuana arrests in 2015 for low-level personal use last year numbered 13.6 percent more than the 506,000 arrests made for all violent crimes that same year – including for murder, rape and serious assaults.  Continue reading

Voters in California are slated to decide in November whether to allow fully legal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. The outcome is probably going to a significant influence on marijuana policy in other states, particularly those surrounding, either way it goes. handcuffs

One of the arguments people have made against legalization of recreational marijuana is that, for the most part, the drug is already legal here. After all, this was the first state to allow medical marijuana 20 years ago, and patients can ask for – and receive – marijuana for just about any condition. State lawmakers also decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug five years ago, making possession of anything less than an ounce an infraction similar to getting a parking ticket.

However, a new report released by Drug Policy Alliance (a pro-marijuana advocacy group) revealed that between 2006 and 2015, there have been almost half a million arrests on marijuana charges in California. That’s based on figures from the state Department of Justice. And while misdemeanor arrests did fall substantially after the 2011 decriminalization of the drug, there are still thousands of people being arrested on misdemeanor marijuana charges – and thousands more on felony charges, which hardly dropped at all.  Continue reading

Federal authorities have decided they will drop the charges pending against a teen who was charged with possession of about one gram of marijuana, after the case gained national attention in Oregon. bud1

The Native American teenager had faced a federal misdemeanor – which carries a possible one-year prison term and a $1,000 fine – after another student was caught with the drug in his backpack and pointed to defendant as the person from whom he had purchased it. The amount of the drug found – 1 gram – is approximately enough to roll one joint, maybe two if you stretch it. In addition to the possible prison sentence and out-sized fine, the teen would have faced denial of federal student loans, public housing and government aid – for life.

Possession of marijuana has been decriminalized in Oregon. In fact, the drug has even been legal for adult recreational use in that state since 2014. But federal authorities became involved because the incident occurred at a boarding school for Native American students that is operated by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education. That meant this 19-year-old kid, who was preparing for college in this fall, had this possible one-year federal prison term hanging over his head. Continue reading