Articles Posted in Orange County Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

As a country, many support troops with parades and national days of honor. Yetmedical marijuana when those same veterans seek help ease the mental and physical pain they endure as a result of fighting for our freedoms, their pleas often fall on deaf ears. That’s why many veterans find themselves standing up and fighting once again, this time in a battle for their own lives in the ongoing war over medical marijuana.

A group of veterans in Louisiana has been on the front lines pushing for legalization of medical cannabis in the state. According to the Leesville Daily Leader, they want to help veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as chronic pain that developed as a result of their service time. Even though these veterans know medical marijuana to be a safe and effective form of treatment for these issues, using it would make them a criminal in the country they risked their life to defend due to the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic with no medical benefits. The group hopes to at least change the law in Louisiana so the state can join 29 others in legalizing marijuana. Furthermore, they also recognize that legalization would be beneficial to all residents, so they are putting their efforts behind cannabis education.  Continue reading

California marijuana supply shortages have been of mounting concern, marijuana businessstemming primarily from the introduction of legal cannabis Jan. 1st and the barrage of regulations that came with it. Marijuana businesses have varied reports on supply issues thus far, with some experiencing few supply chain problems, and others reporting major lapses. Many of these issues are typical growing pains associated with a budding new industry. These problems could become major snags this summer, though, when tourist season his, and we’re flooded with curious new customers.

In San Diego, for example, about 8 million tourists visit during the summer months, according to a recent report discussing the potential impending shortage from San Diego Union-Tribune. Lines are already out the door at stores in this city, so there is worry businesses may not be able to keep pace. The issue is not necessarily that overall supply can’t keep pace with demand, but more that businesses are grappling with supply bottlenecks due to erratic regulation across jurisdictions throughout California. Continue reading

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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It’s been more than 20 years since California legalized medical marijuana with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Much of the country is just now medical marijuanacatching up to what California and our trusted attorneys have known for a long time: That marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for many illnesses and ailments. So safe, in fact, that laws are expanding to open up marijuana for recreational consumption as well, with California implementing Proposition 64 Jan. 1. We are now one of 29 states that has some form of cannabis legalization.

But we also know the more things change, the more they stay the same.

High Times recently delved into the issue of medical schools and teaching about medical marijuana to students. One medical journal study last year showed that 90 percent of med students don’t learn anything about marijuana in medical school. Less than 10 percent of medical schools have any sort of medical marijuana curriculum. And roughly 25 percent of graduates wouldn’t even feel prepared to talk about cannabis as an option with a patient.

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According to a recent news report from The Sacramento Bee, the vineyards in California’s wine country are starting to look like cannabis farms. Many are starting to enter the marijuana business.

LA Cannabis Lawyer All of these changes have been spurred on by the recent legalization of recreational use of marijuana in our state. Farmers who already have land and expertise in growing a high value crop (specialty wine grapes) are realizing that with some education in cannabis crops, they can make a lot more money cultivating marijuana. Continue reading

There is no question that marijuana has legitimate medical uses and benefits. It has been proven to help people with cancer and cancer-related issues as well as a variety of other serious medical conditions.  It helps people who suffer from anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychiatric conditions.

medical marijuanaHowever, there haven’t been a lot of studies, because Congress still refuses to take medical marijuana off Schedule I of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (USCSA), and this may not change for quite some time, despite the majority of Americans now supporting legalization of medical marijuana. Continue reading

New research from the University of Michigan reveals that high school and college students are far less likely to consume illegal drugs than their parents. In fact, students’ use of prescription opioids (obtained both legally and illegally) is far less than their parents’ generation. However, there is one area where youth drug use surpasses that of the baby boom generation: Marijuana. collegestudent

The Michigan study is an ongoing, four-decades-long research on the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. In this most recent analysis of the data, we find that those who are in the 40s and 50s used drugs in their youth far more frequently than the teens and 20-somethings of today. Excluding marijuana, more than 7 in 10 individuals who are in their 50s used illicit drugs at some point in their lives. When you include marijuana, that figure spikes to 85 percent – the vast majority.

When this cohort was in college, approximately half were actively using illegal drugs. Today, about 40 percent of adults who are of college age are using illegal drugs. Continue reading

Two lawsuits against the City of Costa Mesa, filed in Orange County Superior Court, alleges the city blocked a special election on a medical marijuana initiative for purely political reasons, violating state election law. City officials counter they were guided in their actions by the California Constitution, which would supersede election statutes.
Although access to medical marijuana was approved by California voters in the late 1990s, individual municipalities throughout the state have enacted ordinances that bar shops from opening in their districts. Costa Mesa was one of those.

The dispute centers on two different medical marijuana initiatives that were certified by the city clerk in October. Certification meant the two proposals had garnered enough signatures from registered voters – at least 15 percent. It also required the city to either approve and adopt the measures, or to initiate a special election to give voters the opportunity to decide. A special election, per local ordinance, would have to be held within 103 days of the decision, which would mean it should have been held sometime this month.
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Orange County marijuana lawyers know there are many ways that marijuana collectives have come under fire in recent months. shakinghands.jpg

Namely, of course, there has been the federal crackdown, and countless municipalities have been enacting bans or moratoriums so as not to draw the ire of the feds.

Now, there may be a new enemy of Orange County medical marijuana: banks.

If a recent report in the Seattle Times in Washington is any indication, this is expected to be a growing problem.

The example given in the story is of a cooperative that is well established in the industry, has three store front locations and a loyal base of customers. The problems is that in the last two years since it opened, it hasn’t had regular access to a bank.

In fact, it has ping-ponged from one bank to the next – five in all. Another four outright rejected the company’s business. In one instance, a bank simply closed the company’s account without notice. What was worse, they didn’t even tell the business owners about it – they simply froze the accounts and no one was aware of a problem until checks started bouncing.

For a lot of dispensaries, these types of conundrums may be universal. When collectives and dispensaries can’t find a bank, they end up operating mostly in cash. And when that happens, not only does it make tax preparation and payroll a huge headache, the marijuana dispensaries become a target for robbery and theft.

Not only that, but it becomes a problem for patients, who are forced to pay for their medicine in cash. Often, ATMs are placed in the lobby of these sites.

To try to circumvent some of these problems, some dispensaries have tried the tack of changing their names to something that is a little more euphemistic – like a healing center – when they’re trying to open a bank account.

Part of the problem is that in the same way that the federal government has warned cities and counties against any activity which would appear to sanction any action which would appear to violate federal law, banks have also been instructed that handling receipts from the sale of marijuana could violate laws on money-laundering.

The National Cannabis Industry Association says it’s likely that about half of all dispensaries across the country don’t have a bank account. He calls this a threat to the industry, and says some groups are pushing Congress to alter the IRS code and banking law so that the legitimacy of the industry – estimated at nearly $2 billion – will be recognized.

Our Orange County medical marijuana lawyers understand that this may be one way the movement could gain legal sanctuary, so we very much support these efforts.

When reporters pressed the banks for comment, only one responded, saying that the industry is considered a risk and an uncertainty, and that it was not considered in the best interest of the bank to enter into a business contract with medical marijuana businesses.

Federal law doesn’t expressly prohibit banks from working with Orange County marijuana dispensaries and collectives, and the attorney general told Congress late last year that his office wouldn’t make it a top priority to prosecute banks who did so.

But then again, we’ve heard that promise before.

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An appeals court has handed down a victory for Orange County medical marijuana dispensaries, in a decision holding that a Dana Point marijuana clinic doesn’t owe the city millions of dollars claimed in a prior summary judgment.

Our Orange County medical marijuana attorneys are encouraged by the decision, granted by the state’s 4th District Court of Appeals. Essentially, it was decided that the lower court, which had issued a summary judgment, acted improperly because the facts of the case were disputed.

This is Law School 101, and the judge in this case really should have known better. Certainly, there are complex legal questions surrounding the issue of medical marijuana in California, but this was not one of them.

Marijuana dispensaries in Dana Point – much like in the rest of the California – have been pushed into extinction by the local city council, eager to avoid the ire of federal prosecutors, who have initiated a massive crackdown on collectives and dispensaries throughout the state. Where there were six Dana Point dispensaries offering medical marijuana to ill patients, there are now none. This illustrates the sad trend in which federal and local government agencies are flagrantly disregarding the will and voice of the people of California.

In this case, the City of Dana Point clamped down on Beach Cities Collective at the outset of 2011, forcing it to shutter its doors. The city lobbed allegations of building code and state law violations. The city argued that the dispensary never produced any evidence that it was operating according to the laws of the state, which allow non-profit marijuana collectives to distribute the drug to individuals who have a doctor’s prescription.

Two months later, Judge William Monroe issued a summary judgment that ordered the dispensary to pay nearly $2.5 million to the city. A summary judgment is essentially a decision that a judge hands down without a trial.

The major problem with that in this case is that summary judgments are only applicable when there is no dispute of the facts. But the facts were disputed by the defendant, who vehemently argued that his operation was following legal guidelines, which required him to operate as a nonprofit, verify patient prescriptions and doll out marijuana solely for medical reasons.

Again – Law School 101.

Beach Cities appealed that summary judgment – and with this decision, won that appeal.

The case will now either head back down the pipeline to the lower trial court, or the city could appeal for a decision from the state’s supreme court. It’s not yet clear which tack they plan to take. However, it may be unlikely for the supreme court to accept the case, as it is not predicated on any new law.

If the case does go back down to the trial court, attorneys for Beach Cities say they will file a request for a new – i.e., non-biased – judge.

At the end of the day, these cases appear not to be about the legality of these dispensaries, but how much money can the city squeeze out of them. In fact, the City of Dana Point has amassed a total of $7 million in judgments stemming from court cases against three other dispensaries.

Still, they have already funneled an extra $400,000 in legal expenses, and the council has voted to increase the budget for these cases. At the end of the day, if these cases go the same route as this one, the city may have done nothing more than waste taxpayer dollars and time.
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