Articles Tagged with L.A. marijuana attorney

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is no fan of marijuana. But would he really effect policy that would upend a multi-billion dollar industry that weakens cartels, provides relief for the ailing and dying and helps hundreds of thousands of people avoid unnecessary jail time and criminal penalties? arrest

If one of his recent speeches is any indication, the answer is likely: Absolutely.

The speech took place in Virginia at a summit on violent crime. In part of his message, he called marijuana use a “life-wrecking dependency” that could be considered only slightly less terrible than heroin.  Continue reading

Although neither U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions or President Donald Trump have directly addressed the issue of cannabis legalization or the disconnect between federal and state laws, it does appear that the administration may likely follow the current status quo. That is, they will focus any efforts pertaining to marijuana toward attacking illegal drug cartels, rather than dispensaries or individuals who are operating legally under state law. This is the presumption, anyway, but rumors are still flying. police car

There was a blog recently that indicated White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told a reporter that the administration would “unlikely” pursue action against states that have legalized the drug. However, when reached for confirmation of this comment, Spicer reportedly responded in an e-mail that he had “no clue where (that report) came from.”

There could be some insight provided in a recent report published by Capital Public Radio. In that piece, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones commented on a recent meeting he had with Sessions, where they reportedly discussed both marijuana and immigration. In that discussion, Jones said Sessions commented that he didn’t think the federal government would put much if any time or energy on marijuana use or low-level local and state crimes. However, he reportedly said he had not ruled out the possibility of federal prosecutors getting involved where there are larger-scale operations.  Continue reading

The majority of Americans now consider themselves to be “cannabis-friendly,” or at least much more tolerant of it use, whether recreational or medicinal. Sixty percent of people in the country now live in a state that has some form of legalized marijuana, and eight states – including California – plus Washington D.C. allow recreational use of the drug. And yet, in six of those eight states that allow recreational use, we still have tens of thousands of people who are serving time in state prisons for non-violent marijuana crimes.handcuff

We have a duty in states where marijuana has been legalized for recreation, to also press our leaders for justice reform for those who have been caught in the long-standing war on marijuana, a war that has very clearly failed. Here in California, we are one of just two states that have taken action on this issue. Oregon is the other.

The Drug Policy Alliance reported in 2015 that more than 6,000 people were serving time in California state prisons or jails for non-violent crimes that involved cultivation or distribution of marijuana. When Proposition 64 passed legalizing the drug for recreation, it came with the caveat that allowed those individuals to apply for early release or parole and also to have their records expunged. It’s not clear at this point how many have taken up this offer or realize that it even exists.  Continue reading

When your business is legal, but you can’t access a bank for everyday functions, you have no choice but to become an all-cash venture. There is perhaps no industry that knows this woe better than those in the business of marijuana. But some are now finding that even those businesses that never actually touch marijuana may have banking headaches. money

The L.A. Times recently reported on a local businesswoman who alongside her partner launched a packaging company that caters to the cannabis industry. They produce containers, bags, logos, labels, custom-printed jars and boxes. They currently have about three workers and are preparing to bring on three more. They provide marketing and branding assistance to growers and distributors, and the owner describes it as “all very upscale.” The biggest problem, however, has been the banking.

She explained how she met with a single accountant last year who informed her she would likely only be paid in cash and that her workers and suppliers would need to be paid in cash as well. Payroll, sales and income taxes – all of it has to be done in cash. The accountant advised her to stash the cash under her mattress and then somewhere down the line find a time to make a large deposit into her bank account. When she told him that sounded illegal, he shrugged, saying that’s how everyone does it.  Continue reading

Law enforcement leadership for years were on the side of tighter marijuana laws. But now, it seems there may have been a substantial shift. police lights

A recent poll of 8,000 officers by the Pew Research Center finds that almost two-thirds of them believe marijuana should be legal for either medical or personal use.

This was a survey that was nationally representative, which mean it took into account a myriad of factors of police demographics. It was also one of the largest surveys of its kind ever conducted.

According to the report, a third of officers said cannabis should be legal for both recreational and medicinal use, while 37 percent opined it should only be allowed if someone needs it as medicine. Thirty percent said marijuana shouldn’t be legal whatsoever.  Continue reading

Every year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration conducts a survey of the country’s law enforcement departments to determine which drugs are of top concern in local communities. What they found in 2016 was that heroin was far and away the drug that created the greatest worry. Marijuana, meanwhile, was generally of negligible concern. Less than 5 percent of all police agencies indicated cannabis was their biggest concern, which was down 1 percent from 2015. marijuana buds

Marijuana remains illegal for all reasons per federal law, which the DEA staunchly defended over the summer. The agency spent a full 22 pages of its Drug Threat Assessment report on marijuana. Compare this to the 16 pages it spent going over the risk of prescription painkillers, which claims 14,000 lives annually. Many of the pages on marijuana wove through the state-level differences in law for medicinal and recreational pot, as well as some of the legalization trends of the U.S. For anyone who has been following the changing landscape of marijuana laws in California, none of this is really new information.

However, one of the more interesting claims made by the DEA in that report is that media attention on marijuana-related issues has made it tougher to enforce existing marijuana laws and to prosecute those who violate these statutes. The agency also seems to be blaming “the media” for providing the public with information that is not accurate on the effects and legality of using marijuana.  Continue reading

When voters approved Proposition 64 in November, the promise was that by Jan. 1, 2018, recreational cannabis users could walk into a licensed store to purchase their favorite strain of marijuana. Meanwhile, the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, which involves a number of new regulations for medical cannabis sales, is slated to roll out around the same time. However, there is evidence to suggest that the actual timeline for legal marijuana commercialization is going to be pushed back to 2019.marijuana

A recent report published in The Cannifornian indicated that government leaders and industry insiders have posited that difficult regulatory challenges have to be hammered out before recreational marijuana becomes legal. Speaking at the recent Emerald Cup, held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, government regulators noted that prohibition on cannabis lasted so long and was so complicated, that the process of ending it is not going to happen overnight – even with this vote.

For example, Lori Ajax, chief of the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, noted there are a number of challenges created by the different structures of the two new marijuana laws, and there may be conflicts between the two that need to be resolved. Each take very different approaches to things like residence requirements, timelines, license categories and ownership. One of the primary questions, says Assemblyman Jim Wood, is whether this will result in two parallel marijuana regulatory systems or a single system that somehow combines the two.  Continue reading

President-Elect Donald J. Trump has now appointed two individuals to his cabinet who are decidedly against the legalization of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes.marijuana

First up is Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s pick for attorney general. Sessions has a strong record of opposing marijuana reform, saying just this past April during a legislative hearing that, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” He added that Washington needed “grown-ups in charge,” who would be willing to assert that marijuana is “not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.”

Then, Trump appointed Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to the post of Secretary of Health and Human Services. A consistently anti-marijuana politician, his position could afford him even greater control over whether the drug is available for medical purposes.  Continue reading

Increasingly, marijuana research is proving to us the many ways in which this drug can be a benefit to those struggling with various medical ailments. happy

As legal access to marijuana has expanded in recent years, with 28 states now allowing medicinal marijuana and more than a handful allowing recreational use, there are still questions (at least where the federal government is concerned) about whether the drug has legitimate medicinal benefits. Although study of the drug has been impeded by harsh marijuana laws, it’s this same lack of research that has been cited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its hesitancy to recommend marijuana be rescheduled from a Schedule I narcotic (meaning it has no recognized medical purpose).

Marijuana is prescribed for a variety of physical illnesses and conditions, from cancer to arthritis. It contains more than 100 compounds, which are known as cannabinoids, that we know have some type of effect on the human biological system. In addition to physical troubles, marijuana has also been recommended by some doctors for help in easing certain mental conditions – namely, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Now, a new study, published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review, suggests additional evidence exists that marijuana can help people dealing with mental illness.  Continue reading

Over the last eight years, the federal government’s approach to marijuana prosecution and civil action evolved. Although it was never within President Obama’s power to legalize the drug nationally himself, he oversaw a Department of Justice that was initially dogged in its pursuit of marijuana entrepreneurs, and later much more relaxed. Still, the drug remains illegal under federal law. A provision of a federal spending measure passed in 2014 sapped the funds of federal prosecutions of medical marijuana operations complying with state law. However, this election raised a host of new questions about the protection that medical marijuana and now recreational marijuana would receive under the new administration.whitehouse

Election night turned out to be a clear success for the support of medical and recreational marijuana legalization. California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine legalized recreational use. Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota approved medical marijuana initiatives.

So now the question is, what type of approach will the Trump administration take? It’s a major question because, while Obama took a hands-off approach and we knew Clinton was expected to do the same, there is uncertainty about Trump’s stance.  Continue reading