Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Medical Marijuana in Southern California

Posted on: September 22, 2009 at 5:24 p.m.

Los Angeles medical marijuana is an issue that keeps Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys hard at work.  Defending medical marijuana charges involves complex areas of the law, and only a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will have an adequate understanding of the law. The city of San Diego voted two weeks ago to form a committee to investigate existing laws regarding the use of marijuana for medical purposes and how those laws might be further clarified in the future.   The task force comes in response to the growing number of medical marijuana dispensaries that have recently sprung up in the area.  Since the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, seriously ill Californians have been able to procure and consume marijuana under the care of a physician.  Currently, eight medical marijuana dispensaries are legally permitted to operate in the city of San Diego with potentially dozens more operating illegally.  San Diego has at least 30 permit applications for medical marijuana dispensaries still pending approval.  However, the city has suspended the approval of the pending applications until it can further review zoning laws that may be applicable. The proposed 11-member task force will include medical marijuana patients, social service providers, dispensary operators, legal professionals, physicians, law enforcement agents, small business owners, community planners and a land use professional.  Over the course of a 12-month period, the panel will meet periodically to review existing city guidelines for medical marijuana patients and caregivers, the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries and growing cooperatives and current law enforcement regulations. Because the use of marijuana for non-medical reasons without a doctor’s supervision is still illegal in the state of California, many San Diego and Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries still operate largely in a dark gray area.  Indeed, the manufacturing and selling of marijuana are still considered criminal offenses that are punishable by jail time.  Further complicating the matter is the fact that United States federal laws still classify all possession, manufacturing or distribution of marijuana as criminal offenses that can land you in jail.  This conflict between state and federal laws regarding the use of medical marijuana unfortunately leads to the arrest of many people in Los Angeles every year.  If you have been arrested on medical marijuana related charges, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today.

Tagged as: medicinal marijuana laws

Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Laws

Posted on: September 14, 2009 at 3:36 p.m.

One of the most confusing areas of criminal law is Los Angeles medical marijuana law.  It's extremely rare when the state law allows something that federal law strictly forbids.  On issue after issue, no matter how controversial, California state law and federal law lines up.  However, when it comes to medical marijuana, the state and federal laws diverge in a major way. In 1996, Prop 215 passed which legalized medical marijuana throughout the state of California.  Later, SB 420 helped add some definition to the law.  While California has always been progressive in how it handles the law, the federal government moves much slower.  This is also true historically, as the federal government abolished slavery, allowed women to vote and passed civil rights laws decades after various states had already done so. As a result of this strong conflict between state and federal law over medical marijuana, Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys play a pivotal role for any medical marijuana business.  Medical marijuana dispensaries provide people with health needs the opportunity to use a drug that's perfectly legal under California law.  However, there have been countless federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries over the years. These federal raids are extremely frustrating, because Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries are legal...in  California.  Unfortunately, when federal agents are involved, federal law tends to trump state law.  Again, this is what makes a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney is so important.  Finding an attorney who is experienced with medical marijuana law, drug crimes law, Los Angeles courts and other legal matters can often be the difference between spending a decade in jail and being able to walk out of the court room a free person. Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin is a top-notch criminal defense firm that aggressively defends anyone arrested for medical marijuana crimes.  For our clients' convenience, we have offices in the vicinity of courthouses in Antelope Valley, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Fernando, South Bay, Ventura, Valencia, Whittier, and San Bernardino, and we are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our main office is directly across the street from the Van Nuys Court and the Van Nuys LAPD Jail.

Tagged as: medicinal marijuana laws

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