Articles Posted in Oregon marijuana lawyers

Nationwide, states are taking on complicated legislative questions regarding marijuana use. Should medical marijuana be legalized? How will the marijuana business be regulated? Should recreational use be legalized? Oregon will be the third state in the country to take on the question of legalization as it puts recreational use to the vote in November. According to the Huffington Post, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State confirmed that Initiative Petition 53 has qualified for the November ballot.


If the law passes, adults over 21 in Oregon would be allowed to possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home and one ounce of marijuana when in public. Our Orange County marijuana law attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals and entities involved in the California legal marijuana business. In addition to compliance and regulatory matters, our firm is committed to staying abreast of marijuana law in the state and nationwide. We provide counsel, support, and advocacy to marijuana investors, business owners, and individuals who have the legal right to possess or use marijuana.
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A group of medical marijuana growers in Oregon formed a political action committee (PAC) to lobby for legal protections and better regulations from the 2015 Oregon legislature. The registration of a Super PAC shows just how far professional growers have come as a result of legalization. It also provides hope for future changes that could be beneficial to those who produce, sell or depend upon medical marijuana. us-capitol-1129752-m.jpg

The politics have been shifting regarding marijuana for medicinal and even recreational use, but Los Angeles medical marijuana lawyers know that there is a long way to go to ensure that growers and distributors do not face federal action and that those who depend upon marijuana can realize the health benefits throughout the United States. A political action committee that lobbies for positive change may be able to help bring about important changes and aid in the creation of public policy that makes sense.
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Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed off on a bill that permits the legalization of medical marijuana dispensaries across the state.
Our Oregon medical marijuana attorneys understand that House Bill 3460 is a significant measure for the state, which has allowed for legal possession and consumption of marijuana by qualified medical patients since 1998. However, prior to the passage of this law, patients were required to either grow the drug themselves or to designate an individual to grow it for them.

Dozens of dispensaries had cropped up throughout the state during that time, but none of them were technically legally allowed to operate. It was sort of a gray area in legal terms. There was nothing in the 1998 law that said they couldn’t operate, but nowhere were they granted permission either.
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The case of an Oregonian medical marijuana advocate is a cautionary tale for all those continuing to fight the cause of legalization both on local and national fronts.
As our Oregon marijuana lawyers understand it, the sponsor of the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative, which sought to have marijuana legalized for recreational purposes in the state, was fined for violating a state law barring sponsors from paying petitioners based on how many signatures they collect, as opposed to how many hours they worked.

The fine was first issued back in the spring of 2012 by the Oregon Secretary of State. The allegations involved two petitioners, who were reportedly improperly paid petitioners for 26 out of 30,000 signature sheets that were ultimately submitted by the campaign. The petitioners, per state law, should have been paid by the hour for their work.

The organization’s sponsor has said the two petitioners who accused him were reportedly “incapable of telling the truth.”

The $65,000 fine was the largest ever issued in the state for such a violation, nearly six times higher than the previous record. Prior to that, the biggest fine ever issued for a similar offense was back in 2008, for about $11,000.

The fine was appealed by the sponsor to a senior administrative law judge, who ultimately upheld the fine, saying she believed that the sponsor did in fact violate the law.

The sponsor vehemently denied this, pointing out that the case relied heavily on the testimony of the two petitioners. Only one of those reportedly showed up to the hearing and, according to the sponsor, that individual was found under cross-examination to have lied about numerous aspects of the case.

For example, this individual said he spent a number of hours collecting signatures at the busy market area in both January and February of 2012. However, later research would reveal that the market area wasn’t open during those times.

The other petitioner, who did not show up to court, had initially filed a wage-and-hour complaint with the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries indicating that he had worked every day in the first two weeks of February. However, it was later revealed in a phone deposition that this individual was actually out-of-state during those dates.

The sponsor’s efforts would have asked voters in Oregon to green light a state constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. The measure needed 116,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, and the sponsor was able to collect a total of 175,000. However, the measure didn’t make the ballot after the secretary of state’s office disqualified nearly half of the signatures. The sponsor sued, but the measure still never made it on the ballot.

A similar measure, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, also widely recognized as Measure 80, did make its way before voters in 2012. However, it was ultimately defeated by a narrow margin.

The sponsor has said he intends to appeal.

We absolutely support civil involvement, particularly as it regards marijuana rights. However, ensuring that all actions relating to the process are aligned with local, state and federal laws is critical. Individuals and organizations involved in such efforts should first consult with an experienced marijuana lawyer before embarking on their initiative.
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Prosecutors are refusing to drop their criminal cases against a number of Oregon medical marijuana dispensaries, despite the fact that a state law passed July 6 gave those operations the explicit right to exist.
As our Oregon medical marijuana dispensary lawyers understand it, prosecutors are pressing ahead based on the assertion that the actions committed by these owners and operators were illegal at the time they were carried out, regardless of the fact that they are legal now.

House Bill 3460 establishes a legal marketplace for medical marijuana. The state, which was one of the first to legalize access to medical marijuana back in 1998, never had a system by which patients could legally obtain the drug at a storefront. Of course, as the state’s 56,000 patients today now know, growing the drug has proven a major challenge. It’s a fickle plant that requires constant care and attention, particularly if you hope to breed strands of it that will reduce certain traits (intoxication) while boosting others (appetite stimulation).

In fact, one of the cases that stirred advocates into action, a raid leading to criminal charges against the owners of Washington County’s The Human Collective, is one of those that is still on track for trial. The owners are accused of manufacturing, possessing and distributing marijuana. One is also facing child neglect, by virtue of the fact that a child was in her home at the time that marijuana was present.

As the bill was originally written, there was a clause that would have protected existing establishments facing prosecution. However, the Oregon District Attorneys Association had pushed for a last-minute change to the law to alter that wording in a way that would allow pending cases to move forward. Prosecutors say they reserve the right to prosecute any dispensary that was in operation prior to the state’s issuance of registry cards, which isn’t expected to begin until early next year.

In some cases, certain organizations, such as the 45th Parallel in Malheur County, may not have been protected even if the law had been in place before. The law holds that retailers have to remain a separation from grow sites. So far in that case, ten people have pleaded guilty to charges of distribution and/or possession of marijuana. Charges are still pending against eight others.

Some legal scholars have speculated that even if prosecutors are on technically solid legal grounds in their prosecution, the passage of this bill complicates their work because there are many people who are going to be opposed to the agency spending its resources in this way. That could in turn lead to some resistance from jurors, should this pending cases make it to trial.

Some may say that jurors don’t have the right to “judge the law.” But the reality is, regardless of what the prosecutors or judge tells them, they can and sometimes very well do.

The specific charges against these individuals is that they received reimbursement for medical marijuana above and beyond supplies and utilities. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, prior to HB 3460, did not allow for compensation to be doled out for any other expenses.
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Oregon is set to be come the 15th state in the country to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

Our Oregon marijuana lawyers understand that Gov. John Kitzhaber has expressed his intention to sign off on the measure, House Bill 3460 recently passed by both state legislative bodies, in spite of fierce opposition.

Although Oregon was one of the first states to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, like many of those other early pioneers, it failed to establish a clear system of regulatory guidelines under which dispensary operators should abide. This has not only left the door open to less-than-responsible enterprises, it has meant operators who wanted to run a clean facility weren’t sure exactly how they were to proceed. So many didn’t. Any dispensary that did dare to open was subject to state and of course federal sanctions.

The way the current law was originally drafted, patients with certain debilitating medical conditions are allowed to grow their own cannabis or designate someone else to help them. However, what legislators failed to recognize at the time was that marijuana is a fickle plant. Growing it can be time and labor intensive. Not everyone has a green thumb, and it can be especially tough if a person is already grappling with a serious disease. However, there was no provision in place that would have allowed marijuana patients to legally purchase the drug from a third-party establishment.

What HB 3460 allows is for a registration system of medical marijuana dispensaries that would be established under the umbrella of the Oregon Health Authority by sometime next year. These dispensaries will be given the express authority to delivery the drug and immature plants to ailing patients.

Supporters of the measure say this makes the most sense because it keeps patients from being forced to turn to the black market to obtain their medicine. The old system made criminals out of people who were simply trying to be well.

Opponents, however, argue that the bill won’t stop medical marijuana from seeping into the black market, and there wasn’t enough funding set aside to aid law enforcement in curbing those kind of issues. Some have urged the governor to set up a work group to further study the issue.

Similar bills tanked twice before, but safe access groups continued to press the issue.

This measure ultimately passed both the state House and Senate, albeit with split votes.

If and when the bill is signed into law, the measure would require each dispensary to pay a $4,000 registration fee. Assuming 225 dispensaries register, that will bring in an automatic $900,000 to the state over the course of the next two years. The bill’s authors expect this money will be used to offset the cost of setting up and maintaining the new registration system.

Medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to set their own prices and the option of using state-approved cultivators. Only Oregon residents may run Oregon dispensaries and all of the plants must be grown in-state. Law enforcement will reserve the right to conduct registry and compliance checks on any facility they deem suspicious.

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Oregon was among the first states to recognize the importance of making medicinal marijuana available to ailing patients.

However, like California, the state failed to enact protections for the marijuana dispensaries from which the plant could be distributed. cannabisplant.jpg

Now, our Oregon marijuana lawyers understand that could soon change. House Bill 3460 would effectively legitimize the state’s medical marijuana industry, providing patients with safe, reliable access without intermittently being forced to turn to the black market.

The bill passed narrowly in the state House by a margin of 31-27, primarily along party lines, with no Republicans voting in favor of the measures. Opponents say the bill doesn’t do enough to prevent the diversion of the drugs to the black market. Proponents maintains that safe access has been a problem since the state first legalized the drug for medical purposes back in 1998.

The law allows those who qualify for access to medical marijuana due to some debilitating condition to grow it on their own or to have someone do it for them. The problem is that marijuana can be a fickle plant. It’s not as easy to cultivate as one might think. For someone who is chronically or terminally ill, it’s skill and time they don’t have.

Finding someone who can grow it reliably, they say, is tough. Because storefront marijuana dispensaries aren’t legal, many end up turning to dealers who sell it illicitly.

There are currently about a dozen other states that have enacted legislation that specifically allows for medical marijuana dispensaries. This measure would make Oregon one of those.

There are medical marijuana collective and clubs checkered throughout the state, but the have been the subject of intense scrutiny, law enforcement raids and federal prosecutions. Some of the operators of those establishments are facing prosecution, namely in Washington, Malheur, Lane and Jackson counties.

It’s difficult to say exactly how many marijuana retailers and/or dispensaries there are in Oregon, though it is believed by lawmakers to be somewhere in the ballpark of 200. The problem is that because they are not licensed, they aren’t tracked or regulated by any government agency. Officials say this is a major problem because it’s unknown how much money or marijuana is coursing through the veins of these places.

Of course, it’s a lose-lose for the dispensaries too because they have no guidelines to go by. Those who strive to operate a legitimate facility to offer a public service could face criminal charges. While federal law has yet to change, a lack of even a state law for protection leaves these operations vulnerable to aggressive enforcement action from both local and federal authorities.

HB 3460 has received the endorsement of Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and would establish a statewide registry of medical cannabis retailers. It would require owners to pass criminal background checks and it would track the amount of marijuana being distributed at each site, with assurances that the product is received by growers who are registered by the state. That product would also be required to undergo testing for purity.

The vote in the House was closer than some expected it might be, so we now eagerly await the outcome of the Senate vote.
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