Articles Tagged with California marijuana legalization

For more than a year, the country has faced uncertainty over the future of cannabis, thanks to the long-time and aggressive anti-marijuana business lawyersmarijuana stance of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. That uncertainty remains, but there is some evidence we could be seeing some positive shifts on the horizon.

Well-known marijuana advocate Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) recently had a conversation in which President Trump agreed to support Congressional protections of states with legalized cannabis, according to The Washington Post. This comes after Sen. Gardner had been taking advantage of the narrow party margin in the U.S. Senate to block nominees for the Justice Department. The senator agreed to start approving nominees in exchange for the president’s support. Continue reading

Public support for pot is on the rise. More states are looking to legalize marijuana or expand accessibility. In fact, cannabis is one of the few issues thatmarijuana legalization politicians on both sides of the aisle can agree on these days, particularly medical marijuana. It’s a time when cannabis is poised to go mainstream and become an accepted medical resource, cultural norm, and economic powerhouse. Yet, since the current administration entered Washington, D.C. and Jeff Sessions was asked to helm the Justice Department, the industry has faced uncertainty and instability.

That’s why states that strongly support marijuana legalization, including California, have requested a meeting with Sessions with the goal reconcile the stark contrast between state law and federal law, according to the Associated Press. The state treasurer from California was joined by Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Illinois in crafting a letter to open dialogue with Sessions about what banks and marijuana businesses can expect from the federal government in terms of enforcement moving forward. As our skilled lawyers can explain, the federal government is holding firm to marijuana’s Schedule I classification as part of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. To receive this classification, a substance must not demonstrate medical benefits, be considered unsafe, and have a high potential for abuse. To make these claims about cannabis is absurd, and frankly, Sessions is standing on the wrong side of history on this one.

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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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While California has been on the forefront of cannabis legalization, making medical marijuana legal more than 20Caifornia marijuana lawyers years ago with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, and more recently with recreational cannabis being legalized through the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, other states have not been as lucky.

Many hope to change that this coming year, with at least 12 states on deck to consider some form of cannabis legalization in 2018.

This is huge news, not only for those particular states, but also for California and other states that already have legalization in place. The more states rally behind legalization, the stronger we stand against outdated federal laws, which still classify cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. According to a recent report from Newsweek, more than 60% of Americans now support full legalization. Continue reading

While many residents of California have been celebrating recreational marijuana legalization after the Adult Use of Marijuana Act went into effect marijuana legalizationJan. 1, 2018, some might be caught off guard if they are stopped even with a small amount of cannabis at Border Patrol checkpoints in the state.

Representatives from the Border Patrol recently told the Associated Press that nothing has changed as far as their job is concerned. They intend to continue to uphold federal law at the eight California checkpoint locations, just as they have since medical marijuana was legalized in the state. The federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812 still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic, on par with heroin.

Many states have fought this classification, citing the health benefits the drug provides and the fact that marijuana is not lethal. This has led to a wave of medical and recreational legalization in many states, but U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been very vocal about his opposition to those efforts.

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Medical marijuana has been big business in California for over two decades.  However, California was not this first state to legalize marijuana for recreational sales, and regulators here still face a learning curve as we prepare to open the doors on legal, non-medicinal sales. One concern is the tax rate. Specifically, the concern is the method of taxation for legal marijuana may be so high that the black market may offer a better deal, according to a recent news article from the Motley Fool.

cannabis business lawyersUnder the new regulatory scheme, growers will have to pay a tax of $9.25 per ounce of buds (flowers) and $2.75 per ounce of leaves.  While leaves are not sought after for smoking, they do contain smaller amounts of THC and can be used for Butane Honey Oil (BHO) extraction to make concentrates, for example, so they do have some value to the industry as concentrates are becoming more popular. They can also be used to make things like Cannabis head creams to help patents with arthritis. Continue reading

One of the biggest public health crises facing the nation is the problem of opioid addition.  This problem only appears to be getting worse.  Not only are more and more people becoming addicted to opioids, whether we are talking about prescription painkillers or heroin, more people are dying from these drugs than ever before.

pillsAccording to a recent news article from Rolling Stone, no less than 78 people die each day from opioid overdose. Narcan, which is the brand name for naloxone, is a fast-acting emergency treatment for people suffering from an opioid overdose. The medicine was once kept exclusively in emergency rooms, but now is not only being kept in ambulances but also in schools and even private homes. There is the classic leg injector similar to an Epipen, but now there also a Narcan nasal spray for even easier use.  Continue reading

California marijuana regulations – and specifically, what they should be – is the first order of business for the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. The state agency has now opened the doors for applications of stakeholders to weigh in as they craft the state rules that will govern the new legal market. marijuana

Wider medical marijuana laws passed by the state in 2015, plus the recreational legalization measure that was approved by voters in November require some type of regulatory framework put in place by the state agency. These provisions will ultimately cover the specifics of marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, transportation, sales and other market elements. But first, the agency wants input.

In the meantime, state lawmakers are busy working to hammer out a new law that would help to reconcile the various discrepancies between the medical marijuana law and the recreational marijuana law. The discrepancies currently are pitting labor unions against each other. Some of the differences involve things like who can move marijuana from farms and manufacturing plants to market. There are also numerous questions about whether marijuana businesses should be allowed to operate as a one-stop-shop. Continue reading

No matter what side of the political aisle on which you fall, there was a single general consensus about the Nov. 8th election: Marijuana won big. american flag

Voters in California, Nevada and Massachusetts approved initiatives for recreational marijuana. Numerous other states passed medical marijuana provisions. Collectively, this proved to be one of the largest electoral victories for the reform of marijuana laws in four years, when both Washington and Colorado were the first to green-light recreational use of the drug. It’s worth noting that similar legislation in Arizona didn’t pass, with 52 percent of the voters rejecting legal marijuana.

Medical marijuana laws were passed in Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota, and Montana loosened restrictions on the existing medical marijuana statute. Supporters of marijuana reform called the night “a monumental victory.” In total the percentage of states where marijuana is now legal for adult use climbed from 5 percent to 20 percent.

With California on board, there is hope that the federal government will soon end the national prohibition on marijuana – which could perhaps spur international change. California for a long time has been the state that serves as a bellwether for marijuana reform – and opposition. It’s a state where 12 percent of the U.S. population resides, and given the potential impact on the economy and other elements, it could very well encourage federal authorities to start rethinking the way they have approached the use of marijuana for the last handful of decades.  Continue reading

As part of the the major medical marijuana laws that have recently gone into effect in California, the state is now stepping in to regulate and provide oversight into the growing medical marijuana industry.  Since medical marijuana was first approved in 1996, many saw California as a second iteration of the Wild West in terms of medical marijuana legislation, or more appropriately in terms of regulations at a statewide level, a lack there of.  For the most part, it was up to the individual cities, counties and municipalities to decide if dispensaries and grow operations would be allowed in their respective jurisdiction, and if so, how and where they could operate.

marijuana1The new comprehensive state level reforms called for the creation of a new executive agency to regulate medical marijuana as well as a person to head that agency who has been called the medical marijuana czar similar to the way in which “czars” are appointed at the federal level to handle regulation and oversight of certain industries and initiatives. Somewhat ironically, the best known czar in the federal government was the drug czar who was responsible for leading the fight in the so-called War on Drugs. Continue reading