Articles Tagged with L.A. marijuana attorney

cannabis defense lawyersEver since cannabis was legalized in California in January 2018, a flood of marijuana businesses have opened, hoping to take their share of the pot market. But it’s no secret that many industry stakeholders are unhappy with the current state of affairs.

Today there are 182 licensed marijuana dispensaries operating throughout Los Angeles, and many of those business have paid well into the tens of thousands of dollars to operate legally. First by registering their companies and covering licensing fees, then paying city taxes and continually meeting strict safety standards imposed by the state.

Meanwhile, there are countless other outfits operating slightly more under the radar. They are able to skip paying licensing fees and, as predominantly cash run businesses, also avoid paying taxes. To the frustration of legal business owners, rouge pot shops attract a slew of customers with undercut pot prices, prices that legal outfits have a hard time matching given their higher operating costs.

While regulation of cannabis use and sale continues to undergo assessment and tweaking in the state of California, many licensed cannabis business owners have reached boiling point. The biggest reason, illegal pot shops continuing to operate comfortably, with little pressure from state authorities requiring them to toe the line.
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As many as 50,000 Los Angeles marijuana-related convictions are to be dismissed or reduced, the L.A. District Attorney said, noting completion will not only align with California’s 2020 deadline for prosecutorial review of expungement for pot crimes – it will beat it by nearly 9 months. Los Angeles marijuana expungement attorneys understand this was made possible with the aid of a nonprofit called Code for America, which developed a digital algorithm that allowed prosecutors to more quickly identify eligible candidates. Los Angeles marijuana expungement

This same group was reportedly also involved in helping San Francisco expunge more than 9,000 marijuana convictions earlier this year – even though some of those date back to 1975. The Los Angeles D.A. has said she expects the same to be the case here, pointing out that Department of Justice records in cannabis cases go back more than seven decades.

Los Angeles marijuana expungement attorneys know the chances of someone with a 1940s cannabis conviction is both alive and has any real interest in having their name cleared, is unlikely. The D.A.’s office has said they aren’t necessarily starting with the oldest cases first, and will instead be prioritizing those individuals who are looking for:

  • Housing
  • Employment
  • A fresh start

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Los Angeles marijuana attorneys have been fighting for the cannabis rights in California for two decades now. As one of the oldest-serving cannabis law firms in Los Angeles, the biggest city in the first and largest state ever to approve medical marijuana, it has not been without its many, many challenges – from a patchwork of local laws at the community level to the federal raids of dispensaries operating legally under state but not federal law to the disparities revealed when police officers were given broad discretion in deciding who to civilly cite versus who to arrest for petty possession crimes. Every battle saw this once-demonized plant inch closer to legitimacy, closer to legalization. We still aren’t there. We won’t be until the federal government removes marijuana from the federal list of Controlled Substances, does more than look the other way at state-approved marijuana sales and allows these companies to operate with the same protections as any other business, its customers treated like any other patron.California cannabis attorney

Looking back, 2018 has been a banner year for legalized marijuana across the country – including here in California, where it all started. One legislator and long-time marijuana advocate commented that “this was the year the movement crested,” meaning action that would overturn the federal ban is imminent now that two-thirds of all states have some form of legalized medicinal marijuana, 10 allow recreational marijuana and more are sure to follow.

After voters approved legalization of recreational marijuana in 2016, the legal market couldn’t simply swing open the doors the next day. The state established an oversight board, set product standards, carved out power to local communities and allocated the tax revenue generated. This year marked the year California became the biggest legal marijuana marketplace in the U.S. Continue reading

The NFL, as with so many other professional and minor league sports teams, still ascribes to official federal line on marijuana, which is that as a Schedule I narcotic, it is highly addictive, dangerous and has no medicinal value. Of course, our cannabis lawyers in L.A. know that runs counter to the evidence and what dozens of states have thus far concluded. Given that NFL players are some of the most tenacious athletes – and take the hardest hits – they more than most might benefit from medicinal marijuana as an alternative to powerful and highly addictive opioid painkillers. But until the organization changes its stance, we’ll continue to have conflicts such as those seen with free agent Mike James.medical marijuana

James, a running back, injured his ankle during a football game in 2013. According to a CNN report, he was prescribed opioid painkillers. In short order (as so often happens) he became dependent on the pills. He became aware that an addiction was forming and wanted something safer to ease the pain.

After some research, he concluded marijuana was truly the best option – to ease the pain, end his addiction and maintain his physical prowess. James had some reservations about this decision, witnessing the way drug addiction in general harmed his family and his childhood communities. But, like a majority of Americans, he soon learned that cannabis does not belong in the same category as other street drugs at all, and decided to take the leap.

The NFL, unfortunately still takes a hard-line stance with marijuana use by players, who are drug-tested regularly. (Yet League officials see no problem whatsoever with players consuming dangerous opioid pain relievers.) CNN points to to a study from Drug and Alcohol Dependence, in which over half of ex-NFL players surveyed said they used opioids, with 71 percent of them admitting they misused them. Support for prescription painkillers continues, despite many leaders – President Trump included – have declared opioid addiction an epidemic. When it comes to medical marijuana, though, which can be a safe, effective, and non-habit forming treatment under proper medical guidance, this is where NFL leaders choose their line in the sand.

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Those in favor of legalizing marijuana – or at least in protecting the state-level freedoms they have now – are fearing federal sanctions from an unfriendly new administration.congress

Even though politicians on both sides of the aisle favor both medical marijuana access and even recreational marijuana, there is concern that the new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will crack down on businesses and individuals abiding state-level marijuana laws. There are currently 28 states that have legalized the drug for medical use, and eight, including California, that allow it to be used for recreation.

For this reason, three new bills have been introduced that protect the rights of pot growers, distributors and users. In addition, advocates are coming out in full force to encourage lawmakers to support pro-marijuana measures.  Continue reading

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