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Medical Marijuana Criminal Defense

Jan. 13, 2022

Adherence to The Compassionate Use Act, the Medical Marijuana Program Act, State Attorney Guidelines and local zoning laws should prevent you from being accused and convicted of a felony. Local law enforcement continue to harbor ill will towards most medical marijuana collective dispensaries. There have been a number of California Appeals Court cases that have either begrudgingly acknowledged the intent of the CUA or have just flat out thumbed their nose at what most knowledgeable lawyers feel is the law. Recently, The Fourth District Court of Appeal in the Inland Empire gave cities the absolute right to ban medical marijuana collective dispensaries outright regardless of the CUA.

Recently, the California Supreme Court accepted four different cases for review – one from the Second District Court of Appeal and three from the Fourth District Court of Appeal. The Fourth District Court of Appeal just decided the case of City of Lake Forest v. Evergreen Holistic Collective on February 29, 2012. It held that because a city's ban against all medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicted state law, it was preempted and furnished no valid basis for a preliminary injunction in the city's favor. Elsewhere, the Second District Court of Appeal ruled that a local ordinance enacted by the City of Long Beach was illegal because it legalized an activity that was illegal under federal law. Cities all over California interpreted this decision to mean that cities are powerless to regulate medical marijuana collective dispensaries and many, who had previously allowed them to exist. A careful reading of that decision should not cause one to come to that decision.

In May 2013 The California Supreme Court sent this issue back to local juristictions by ruling that cities can pass ordinances to ban MMJ collective dispensaries if they see fit. The question is does The Compassionate Use Act allow for seriously ill patients in California have the right to access to affordable medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation??? Of course, the federal government in many areas has chimed in when local jurisdictions start to "Whine". Few people are aware of the fact that the federal government passed legislation making medical marijuana legal in the District of Columbia. Local district attorney generals have been allowed by our current administration to ignore the concept of equal protection, however, and "Cherry pick" the areas where impose the weight of government so as to scare local medical marijuana collective dispensaries and their landlords out of existence. As recent as August 2013 the US Department of Justice sent a MEMO to local offices with new guidelines - RECOMMENDING that strick enforcement be eased. Eventually, this issue will become, by necessity, the subject for the United States Supreme Court. Ultimately, I think that the United States Supreme Court will decide that the federal government has enough things to do and should not be worrying or committing resources to an issue that should, as it had in The District of Columbia, be decided by state law. Until the United States Supreme Court rules on the issue, attempts at local seizures and prosecutions will, by necessity, be handled on a case by case basis.
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