Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog
     


Medical Marijuana: State vs. Federal

Posted on: December 8, 2009 at 2:29 a.m.

A new federal policy under the Obama administration has raised a lot of questions and concern among marijuana users throughout the country, particularly in California. The new policy states that the federal government will not seek to arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers as long as they conform to state laws, a departure from tough federal marijuana laws under the Bush administration. The irony of this new policy lies in one of California’s largest cities; Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries were once plentiful and the city, along with the state of California, was an advocate for legalized marijuana use. Around the time that the federal policy was announce, however, Los Angeles began to tighten its grip on medical marijuana dispensaries, in a puzzling display of role reversal. This polarization of opinion on behalf of Los Angeles has left many users in limbo when it comes to the legality of marijuana. The recent crackdowns on medical marijuana dispensaries seem to back track the cities stand on the issue before the federal policy was put into place, leaving users even more confused than before.

Unfortunately, there is still ambiguity within Los Angeles county laws on marijuana use and that has people scratching their heads on the legality of their activities. In Los Angeles, you are technically allowed to have small amounts of marijuana for personal use, but that all depends on which enforcement agency finds them on you. Medical marijuana use is legal in California, so state and city law enforcement agents might not arrest you for possession in your own home. If, however, you are found to have marijuana outside of your home, you might be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor drug possession offense. The sentencing aspect of a marijuana arrest provides even more leeway and confusion to offenders, if you are a first time offender you can forego tougher sentences by enrolling in a drug treatment program and by completing the program and avoiding being arrested or convicted your record is wiped clean.

This ambiguity in laws and sentencing techniques can leave anyone baffled, but an experienced Los Angeles drug defense attorney can help you navigate through all of the confusion of medical marijuana laws. The experienced defense lawyers at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP can help you sort through the drug laws in Los Angeles and will work on your behalf to minimize your sentence or have your case dismissed.

Tagged as: los angeles medical marijuana attorney

Comments:

Vincent Palladino (UCLA) on December 10, 2009 at 7:13 p.m. wrote:

And if medical marijuana policies couldn’t get any stickier (no pun intended), the Los Angeles City Council decided the other day to cap the total number of medical marijuana dispensaries at 70, but to allow those that originally registered with the city to remain open. Although the initial intent of the cap was to ensure that dispensaries would not be concentrated in any one neighborhood, it seems that a low number would be easier to control. City officials say between 800 and 1,000 dispensaries are operating. The only other city among the state's 10 largest to impose a cap is Oakland, which has less than one-tenth the population of Los Angeles and allows four dispensaries. Those operations have become extremely successful, splitting about $20 million a year in sales.


Vincent Palladino (UCLA) on December 9, 2009 at 12:08 a.m. wrote:

And if medical marijuana policies couldn’t get any stickier (no pun intended), the Los Angeles City Council decided today to cap the total number of medical marijuana dispensaries at 70, but to allow those that originally registered with the city to remain open. Although the initial intent of the cap was to ensure that dispensaries would not be concentrated in any one neighborhood, it seems that a low number would be easier to control. City officials say between 800 and 1,000 dispensaries are operating. The only other city among the state's 10 largest to impose a cap is Oakland, which has less than one-tenth the population of Los Angeles and allows four dispensaries. Those operations have become extremely successful, splitting about $20 million a year in sales.









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