Recently in Medical Marijuana Category

Anaheim Continues Ban On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

City officials recently extended a ban on Anaheim medical marijuana dispensaries as leaders try to figure out how legal challenges to California's law will play out, The Orange County Register reports.

California's medical marijuana industry has come under fire from all sides in recent months, as federal prosecutors have threatened to bring charges against not only dispensaries and cultivators, but also the landlords who rent them space to do business. This has led to local officials becoming unsure about how to proceed. It appears Anaheim city leaders are also not sure how to move forward in the wake of the recent controversy.
Our Santa Ana criminal defense attorneys are constantly following any news in the medical marijuana field in California because it affects many people. Many patients lean on this drug as a painkiller for debilitating diseases like cancer. Dispensaries and collectives operating within the bounds of state law get harassed by federal agents as well as local law enforcement, who try desperately to prove they are operating illegally.

Anaheim city officials recently unanimously approved keeping a ban on pot dispensaries through January 2013. Four speakers addressed council members at a recent meeting, urging them to strictly regulate dispensaries and tax them, but council members didn't listen and voted without comment to extend a moratorium.

Despite California voters -- and no doubt Anaheim voters -- asking that marijuana be legalized for medical use in 1996, the city has banned operations in city limits since 2007. The city's law was challenged by patients who said the law unfairly limited their rights based on the state law, the newspaper reports.

In August, a judge ruled that the city's law doesn't conflict with either the 1996 law passed by voters or the 2003 state law that allows for medical-grade marijuana to be used by patients. But the case is being appealed, so city leaders decided to wait another year before making any changes to medical marijuana in the city limits.

The city council's ruling doesn't prohibit grandfathered-in dispensaries from operating, but it puts an end to the addition of new dispensaries in the city. The city's action comes as major court cases revolving around medical marijuana are ongoing. In November, an appeals court ruled that the city of Riverside won a case that says cities can legally ban medical marijuana dispensaries. Another ruling stated that cities can't create laws that would regulate these businesses.

On top of pressure from federal authorities, this has become a difficult topic in California. While there is clearly a demand from medical marijuana patients, there is also backlash from city and county officials, who are trying to limit these. And then there are law enforcement officers, who try to make arrests, even when they're not justified. Those in the industry require strong legal representation if they are arrested or threatened with criminal action.

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Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Orange County Come Under Fire

Years after California lawmakers allowed marijuana for medical purposes, law enforcement is investigating and raiding many medical marijuana dispensaries statewide, including Orange County. Investigators say these operations are nothing but a front for drug dealing.

The fine line between drug dealing and growing medical marijuana in Santa Ana has proven to be difficult for dispensaries that are created to cultivate and distribute marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The problem in California is that while growing and selling marijuana for medical use is legal and governed by local towns, it is still illegal under federal law. Santa Ana medical marijuana defense lawyers have seen many people charged with a crime in mix-ups even though they have the legal right to smoke marijuana for medical reasons.

Despite California's forward-thinking in this regard, it has still led to many problems among those who have a right to use the drug for medical reasons. Therefore, a strong defense must be presented to clear up the confusion in these cases.

USA Today reports that officials are saying medical marijuana dispensaries are fronts to the illegal drug industry, and therefore they have begun raids to try to uncover illegal drug dealing. Marijuana is legal for medical use in 15 other states and Washington. D.C., as well but there are strict regulations.

The dispute between state and federal law has signaled the Justice Department to tell U.S. attorneys that they can prosecute dispensaries under federal drug and money laundering laws, a priority that has been increased in recent months.

Fox News reports that many believe this is a bad faith effort by the Obama Administration, which previously agreed to leave marijuana shops alone. With an election upcoming, some believe recent raids have a political motive. Many dispensaries have been given warning letters telling them to shut down or face prosecution.

Dispensary owners have been hoping federal investigators wouldn't stick their nose in California's business, but they have sat by idly since 1996, when the law was passed. Since then, the state and federal laws have been at odds, but the feds have largely laid back and taken a hands-off approach.

But it appears they have done an about-face and are now seeking to prosecute dispensary owners under federal laws that are designed to crack down on large-scale drug ring operations. Money laundering and racketeering operations were designed to cut out mob-like businesses that use illegal acts to make big money. Dispensaries are used for medical purposes, as dictated by the law.

This is simply a waste of time and money, but one that some politicians hope will look good on their resumes. It appears the famed "War on Drugs" goes on, even for drugs used to help the hurting.

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Lake Forest Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Should Fight Efforts to Force Closure

The City of Lake Forest is suing two more medical marijuana dispensaries as part of its ongoing campaign against pot shops in the city, the Orange County Register reported.

Medical marijuana defense lawyers in Santa Ana and Lake Forest understand the challenges legitimate dispensaries face in delivery medicine to patients as municipality after municipality continues to infringe upon the rights of dispensaries, collectives and patients.
Los Angeles is fighting hundreds of shops after enacting an ill-conceived and disastrous ordinance that is almost certainly doomed to fail despite millions of tax dollars being spent to defend it. Meanwhile, the city voted to tax medical marijuana sales. The dubious nature of a decision to tax medicine aside, dispensaries are by law required to operate as nonprofits. And nonprofits by their very definition are tax exempt.

Lake Forest dispensaries with shutdown notices
should immediately consult and experienced attorney. It is the dispensaries that have fought for their rights that have the best chance of surviving attacks by local government.

The city attorney said the lawsuits should serve as notice to owners and landlords that marijuana stores violate the city's zoning code. Efforts by local ordinances to criminalize noncompliance have thus far been rejected by the courts, leaving cities no choice by to pursue a civil claim against medical marijuana dispensaries.

Several shops have closed in the face of the city's demands to do so. But five have filed an appeal with the 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana. That ruling is pending.

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