Tags Posts tagged with "Federal Law"

Federal Law

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Federal law still holds the power even though voters have legalized recreational cannabis. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently said, “I’m definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana. States, they can pass the laws they choose. I would just say it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.” Sessions’ remarks come after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, “I do believe you will see greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws. Spicer continued, “When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people.”

If the Justice Department rekindles the mid-2000s war on state-legal cannabis, they should anticipate a bigger fight than any presidential administration has ever seen. A February Quinnipiac poll found Americans strongly oppose federal interference in states where cannabis is now legal. Colorado just finished its third year of collecting taxes and fees on recreational marijuana. According to tax data, the combined state revenue from Colorado’s marijuana industry has set a new record each year since implementation: $52.5 million in FY 2014-15, $85 million in 2015-16, and $127 million in 2016-17. While those figures include a 2.9% medical cannabis tax, the bulk of the money Colorado receives comes from a 10% sales and 15% excise tax on retail marijuana.

Recreational cannabis has also created 18,000 jobs in Colorado alone. Denver’s industrial real estate market is booming. Pueblo County even has a marijuana-funded college scholarship program. Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association stated, “It is a very real industry sector in these states now, and there’s no evidence of buyer’s remorse on the part of voters.” The California voters who passed Proposition 64 probably aren’t feeling remorseful about that decision either. Once it begins issuing licenses, California is going to sell large amount of retail marijuana.

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A Cook County judge has ordered health officials to reconsider their decisions on including migraine headaches on the list of viable conditions to qualify for a medical marijuana license in the state of Illinois. The judge overturned Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah’s denial of the petition to add migraines to the list.

The judge ordered Dr. Shah to reconsider the evidence presented to the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board before its members voted for its recommendation to approve marijuana as a use to treat migraines. The court ruling was in response to a suit filed by a man who stated he had been using marijuana to treat headaches. Attorney Robert Bauerschmidt said the middle-aged man has suffered severe migraines since adolescence, stating that no other medical solution was successful in his treatment. Marijuana doesn’t cure it, but he finds the pain less severe and believes the headaches are less frequent when he’s using it,” Bauerschmidt said.

Federal law prohibits marijuana possession, but Illinois law allows it for its patients who have any of the about 40 specific medical conditions that could be treated through the use of cannabis. The latest ruling comes after a judge last month had ordered Illinois to add post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use. The separate rulings suggest that judicial review may continue to expand this program. “It’s a potential game-changer for the industry,” stated Attorney Mike Goldberg, whose firm has handed the two prior cases. Attorney Goldberg has pending lawsuits asking to add other conditions to the list, including autism, osteoarthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Illinois attorney general’s office spokeswoman Annie Thompson emphasized that the most recent ruling does not require the addition of migraines to the list. Joe Wright, the former director of the state’s medical cannabis program, also stated that adding migraines to the list was not guaranteed.

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Lisa Murkowski went against legalizing cannabis in Alaska. However, the people passed a ballot measure that legalized marijuana in 2014, and now the same Republican who serves the state as its senior U.S. senator would like for their vote to be regarded by the federal government. More specifically, Murkowski is worried about a federal law that evidently does not allow people who use cannabis to legally buy and use guns, even if their marijuana consumption is completely in line with the rules of the land. In a letter to United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Murkowski asked the Department of Justice to make a review of federal policy on the issue.

“It is my judgment that denying Americans the personal Second Amendment right to possess firearms as articulated by the Supreme Court…for the mere use of marijuana pursuant to state law is arbitrarily overbroad and should be narrowed,” the senator stated.

Federal law states that “It shall be unlawful for any person…who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance…to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.”

“In my judgment the disqualification of an entire class of marijuana users acting consistently with state law from possessing any firearm merits a view of federal legal policy,” Murkowski writes. “Without such a review I fear that otherwise law abiding citizens will choose to answer the marijuana use question on Form 4473 [because]either they believe their use is fully lawful or because they believe marijuana use consistent with state law should not subject them to a firearms disability. In either case, they would be potentially exposed to criminal liability for false statements.”

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Following quite a bit of time attempting to keep weed out of schools, teachers all over the nation are thinking about how to direct marijuana to students who have certain prescriptions. Medicinal marijuana has been lawful in a few states for twenty years yet school regions and administrators are just now beginning to ponder tough issues dealing with the use of a medication still prohibited under federal law.

“School districts are trying to find their way and navigate this landscape as laws develop and social norms change,” Francisco Negron, general counsel of the National School Boards Association, stated. “This is a situation in which the changing social norms are ahead of the existing operational structure.”

The likelihood of medical cannabis in schools brings up various issues for school authorities. For instance, who will regulate it, how to keep it from being redistributed by minors, and even the legalness of having it on grounds. Just three of the twenty-three states where medicinal marijuana is allowed have seen schools or state authorities set up guidelines, the pro-reform Marijuana Policy Project states.

This week, a school panel in Auburn endorsed a strategy to permit students to have medical cannabis under specific conditions. It would need to be allowed by a doctor and controlled in school by a guardian, Auburn Assistant Superintendent Michelle McClellan said. Nurses wouldn’t have the ability to control the medication and students would not be allowed to smoke it.

The choice in Auburn came to discussion two months after a school in New Jersey turned into the first in the nation to permit medical cannabis. The Larc School organized the arrangement following 16-year-old Genny Barbour, who experiences possibly life-threatening epileptic seizures, battled for the privilege to consume edible cannabis. A medical attendant at the specialized curriculum school in Bellmawr gives Genny her afternoon prescription of cannabis oil.

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A new study has been conducted in states where recreational or medical marijuana has been legalized. As a result, the study suggests that that most employers have not allowed for a social shift at their workplaces when testing employees for marijuana despite the social change going on in the states. The survey was done by the Society for Human Resource Management, where 623 human resource professionals in nineteen states where medical marijuana is legal and four states and Washington D.C., where cannabis is legal for adult use, were observed. Apparently, employers are still following federal laws and guidelines regardless of whether or not the states they are operating in has legalized marijuana.

The study has recorded that 41 percent of those surveyed in states where medical and/or recreational marijuana was legalized were fired after testing positive for the drug after the first time. Also, 50 percent of those surveyed where only medical marijuana is legal had the same results. In addition, 44 percent of employers in recreational states stated that they would not hire marijuana smokers. The relationship between employers and employees have not changed when it comes to marijuana no matter what state they are in.

“Regardless of whether marijuana use is legal for any reason in their states, many organizations will continue to follow federal guidelines that prohibit its use among all employees,” the study reads.

The Supreme Court in Colorado thought about this issue last summer; Brandon Coats, a former DISH Network employee, was fired after testing positive for marijuana and decided to challenge it. Unfortunately for Coats, the court ruled against him. Coats is a medical marijuana patient paralyzed in more than 4/5s of his body and said that “under Colorado’s lawful activities statute, the term ‘lawful’ refers to activities that are legal only under both state and federal law…” and that employees who act under state law but not federal law are not being protected.

and employees who engage in activities permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law aren’t protected.

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Medical marijuana users are looking for the Drug Enforcement Administration chief to step down from his position. In an interview session with reporters a week ago, Chuck Rosenberg stated that medical marijuana was “a joke.” Big mistake. Since last week, 10,000 people have signed a petition calling for Rosenberg to resign from his position.

“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal because it’s not,” Rosenberg told CBS. “We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous but don’t call it medicine — that is a joke.”

“There are pieces of marijuana — extracts or constituents or component parts — that have great promise,” he added. “But if you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana — which is what people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana — it has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine.”

Upset medical marijuana patients have noted that there have been studies that have found the drug to be very efficient in treating pain and muscle spasms; an overall analysis of 79 medical marijuana studies that included 6,000 patients in the Journal of the American Medical Association a few months back found “moderate-quality evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain and spasticity.”

Even beyond just patients, doctors have also wanted to prescribe marijuana rather than prescription painkillers which can be very addictive and lethal. In fact, 16,000 people overdose on painkillers in 2013 according to the Centers for Disease Control. Other studies that less painkillers are abused as more people are prescribed medical marijuana. At the moment, medical marijuana has been legalized in 23 states as well was Washington, D.C., but is still illegal under federal law.

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Cannabis is legal to cultivate and possess in many different states, and that number likely to increase in near future. Which brings us to the question: Can cannabis be insured to protect against robberies damage or other forms of losses?

This may come as a shock, especially with the amount of issues the marijuana industry encounters with the banking industry. Yet, banking is controlled under federal law, and the clash between federal and state laws about cannabis is the cause of much strife.

The insurance industry, however, is controlled under state law. When state law allows for legal cannabis possession, cultivation and related commerce, insurance businesses can’t use the fact that under federal law marijuana is illegal to deny coverage.

Yet, a good amount of complexities and complications involved. The most important issue deals with the limits state law places on the quantity of cannabis legally accepted for personal cultivation and possession.

The insurance business is starting to realize, figuratively and literally, with the risk and benefits of legal marijuana at the state level

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A federal law designed to battle the mafia is giving cannabis opponents a new strategic format to help their battle to stop the expansion of the industry: racketeering lawsuits,
A Colorado dispensary recently closed after a Washington-based group who is against legal marijuana sued not only the dispensary but a long list of firms conducting business with it from its landlord and accountant to the Iowa bonding company guaranteeing its tax payment.

One after another a handful of the defendants came t the decision to stop doing business with Medical Marijuana of the Rockies, until the mountain dispensary went out of business and had to sell off its marijuana at fire sale prices. With pending litigation located in Southern Colorado, he cases define a new approach to fighting cannabis. If the federal government will not stop its expansion, individuals who are in opposition of marijuana state, federal racketeering lawsuits could.

Pot may be eagle under state laws, yet the federal laws still state that any cannabis related business is looked at as an organized crime. “It is still illegal to cultivate, sell or possess marijuana under federal law,” stated Brian Barnes, attorney for Safe Streets Alliance, a Washington-based anti-crime organization that brought the lawsuits on behalf of neighbors of the two Colorado marijuana businesses.
Attorneys on both sides have stated that the Colorado racketeering approach is novel
“If our legal theory works, basically what it will mean is that folks who are participating in the marijuana industry in any capacity are exposing themselves to pretty significant liability,” Barnes said.

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