Now that the dust has settled on last week's election, here is a closer look at the results of California's local initiatives impacting cannabis cultivation, distribution, and taxation:
If you are voting in California tomorrow, CBD Pros suggests a review of CAL NORML's election guide published by drugsense.org for voter information on medical cannabis-favorable candidates and other important information impacting patient's rights: http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ElectionGuideNov2014.html
Highlights include recommendations to vote NO on Prop 46 requiring mandatory drug testing for physicians in California and a vote YES on Prop 47 reducing penalties for non-violent crimes including drug possession.
In a historic vote on Thursday, Congress stripped the Department of Justice of funds for enforcing federal marijuana law in states where medical marijuana is legal.http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/05/30/3443165/house-passes-amendment-to-strip-funding-for-medical-pot-crackdowns/
With representation by attorney Dan Siegel and CBD attorney Nat Thurston, Judge Healy of Solano Superior Court allows Greenwell dispensary owner's civil rights lawsuit to move forward against City of Vallejo:
CBD Attorney Thurston is quoted in Law360 Article on the IRS's unfair tax treatment of medical cannabis businesses and efforts for reform:
If you are looking to open a medical cannabis dispensary in California - don't delay as under a recent California decision, City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients, et al, cities now have the legal authority to completely ban dispensaries within their borders. City of Eureka's moratorium recently expired with 2 dispensary permits now available. Contact CBD Professionals (www.cbdpros.com) to find out which CA cities are accepting permits for dispensaries. For a full copy of the Riverside opinion, click here:
A criminal case out of Mendocino County may set precedent for marijuana law in the state. In People v. Hawkins, Judge Ann Moorman ruled to suppress evidence used to charge Kevin R. Hawkins, 55 of Cloverdale with possession of meth. The unique question before the court was whether the admission of the presence of marijuana alone provides law enforcement with probable cause to search the defendant’s car. An officer pulled Hawkins over after a simple traffic violation upon which he provided the officer with valid driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. The officer did not see any evidence of contraband or smell the odor of marijuana as he later testified in court. At some point in the interrogation, the officer asked Hawkins if he had anything illegal in the vehicle and the topic of marijuana came up. Hawkins admitted to having less than an ounce of medical marijuana and gave the officer his valid medical marijuana card. The officer then said, “the practice had changed in that the county no longer issued such cards” and that he
would not honor Hawkins’ recommendation. The officer then opted to search the car regardless of the documentation that Hawkins produced “because he admitted to having marijuana in his car.” Judge Ann Moorman suggested that the doctor’s recommendation to use medical marijuana was not immunity from a search, but coupled with testimony and evidence was enough to throw out the evidence (Meth) the police officer found. If no appeal is filed by the state, this case will become precedent in California. To read more check out http://www.willitsnews.com/marijuananews/ci_24489469/mendocino-county-medpot-ruling-may-set-new-precedent
The City of Vallejo is being sued by Greenwell Collective, a medical cannabis dispensary that was located in the downtown area and raided by law enforcement in February 2012. Matt Shotwell, Greenwell’s Director, is suing on a number of claims including violation of his civil rights because the City of Vallejo targeted Greenwell for closure due to his political activism in support of a local measure to tax medical cannabis. In an effort to thwart public support for safe distribution of medical cannabis in Vallejo, the City timed the February 2012 raids shortly after a 10% tax on sales of medical cannabis was overwhelmingly passed by the citizens of Vallejo. In his complaint, Shotwell alleges that the city “selectively targeted the most outspoken” dispensary directors as some of Vallejo’s quieter dispensaries were allowed to remain open with business as usual. As
a further waste of public resources, the DA proceeded to criminally charge the dispensary directors raided including Shotwell with the very Health & Safety Code violations that are exempted under California's medical cannabis laws. The City’s tactic to force closure of the dispensaries has failed thus far, as no judge has found that any of the dispensaries raided were in violation of state law, and therefore any associated criminal charges have been dropped. CBD Attorney Thurston is serving as co-counsel with civil rights attorneys Dan Siegel and Kevin Brunner in bringing this action against the City to force the City to answer for its wrongful actions against legitimate, state-authorized medical cannabis dispensaries operating within its borders. Greenwell is the second dispensary to sue after a series of medical cannabis dispensary raids in Vallejo last year. For the full article click on the link:
As many medical cannabis collectives are painfully aware, federal raids have chilled the banking industry serving medical cannabis collectives with threatened federal action against banking institutions. Over the past few years, this chilling effect has caused banking institutions to both close existing collective’s accounts and refuse to open new accounts for collectives. Collectives, just as any small business, need to pay bills including state taxes, and therefore this disruption in
service has made it difficult for some collectives to operate. As the political climate moves towards federal legalization of cannabis, new legislation was introduced this week to resolve conflicts between state and federal laws and allow collectives access to banking services. For more information and to support the legislation, visit NORML’s website:
CBD Attorney represented Matt Davies in California appellate court to fight civil injunction against his legal cannabis dispensary.
CANNABIS PATIENT RESOURCE
CPR is a blog hosted by CBD Professionals. CPR's aim is to help qualified medical cannabis patients keep abreast of the latest information on California's rapidly changing laws impacting patients' legal rights.