An Assessment of California’s Medical Marijuana Laws
Let us Help You Build and Maintain Your Marijuana Business
Recently, state licensing has been approved on both medical and recreational levels, with a push for decriminalization of marijuana throughout the entire U.S. Because so many changes are being made, you may wonder where you stand in accordance with the business laws especially if you are one of the many California citizens who are excited to start their journey into forming a medical marijuana business. You certainly don’t want to handle your case alone, as there are many legal aspects to consider that may still be foreign ideas to you. At the Soliman Law Group, we can help lay the groundwork for your medical marijuana business and help you get proven results as you abide by the new laws put in place to help you succeed.
Rules Regarding the Formation of Your New Business
Many people are researching the best ways to form their own medical marijuana businesses in California. The calls are coming in from people who want to take advantage of the new laws and get a head start on what will likely become a booming business. But first, they have to look into California’s regulated market concerning medical marijuana as it pertains to MCRSA, or the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. In the past few months, many businesses were attempting to gain temporary licenses, while other license applications had to wait until January 2018. Well, 2018 is here, which means these businesses are set to obtain their local operating permits.
What this means is that, if you hope to have a functioning marijuana business, your business will have to conform to the laws according to the Medical Cannabis Regulations and Safety Act, which is a comprehensive system that controls and regulates many aspects of the medical marijuana business process – from cultivation, distribution, storage, and many other important elements. If a business does not qualify, they are still 100% illegal under the law. This applies to the businesses that have been working in grey areas and not complying with state laws of the past. You don’t want to handle these aspects on your own, as there are many licenses and permits you may not be aware of, and the documentation you will need to provide. Leave it to the experienced attorneys at the Soliman Law Group, so we can maintain the early beginnings of your business and set you on the right path to success.
Starting Your Cannabis Business the Right Way
Starting a marijuana business does not give you the authorization to run the business however you choose; there are many laws that give you permission to run your business within standards as well as give you freedom in other areas. California Health and Safety Code 11362.775 states that medical marijuana patients and caregivers are required to “associate within the State of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes.” This means that facilities do not get the choice to do as they wish; instead, they must abide by the strict guidelines put in place.
This means that these organizations must follow many different standards, such as the following:
- Filing as a non-profit for the benefit of their members
- Obtaining proper forms as transactions are subject to sales tax, as well as business licenses and zoning permits
- Regulating memberships to prove that there is no distribution of marijuana for anything other than medical purposes
- Being mindful of sales prices and distribution
The marijuana business is a booming business indeed, with massive stocks related to medical marijuana by those who don’t even use it themselves. This is because there is huge room for growth when the standards are followed and practiced religiously. Do you have concerns about starting your business and have fears about any penalties you may experience when getting your business off the ground? We have the experience to help you at the Soliman Law Group, where your business matters.
The Legal Aspects of Starting Your Business
You need an attorney on your side that will help you with all legal aspects of your case, from licensing to understanding taxes and more. Here are just a few of the services we offer to you:
- Business licenses
- Business formation
- Financial planning
- Local and state permits
- Real estate issues
- State guidelines
Helping Patients Learn Their Rights
California has had progressive laws in place for medical marijuana patients for a very long time. For instance, in 1996, California passed Proposition 215, known as the Compassionate Use Act, which allowed for the possession and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor’s permission. As of 2016, however, 28 states legalized medical marijuana and set the groundwork for production and use.
Medical marijuana patients understand that there are many misconceptions related to the law, such as federal government disallowing medical marijuana despite the fact that state laws have approved it. This has turned into a modern collision, much like a “tug-of-war” that federal and state laws play with one another. On one hand, the federal government makes it a crime to cultivate, possess, and use marijuana, while the state of California allows its use. Unfortunately, the federal law tends to prevail, which is where the confusion comes in, with the federal government still viewing marijuana as a Schedule I substance.
With voter-approved marijuana laws in place, patients technically only have what is known as an “affirmative defense,” which means that they have certain protections when they are involved in a criminal proceeding. If a patient is faced with the trauma of a criminal prosecution, this means that they could receive immunity from federal law rules.
Patients Who Qualify
California statutes have been put in place for patients to access medical marijuana as prescribed by their physician, which means that patients still need a recommendation based on their symptoms. Some of the qualifying medical conditions include the following:
- Chemotherapy Effects
- Chronic Pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
Cultivation and Distribution
Federal law also prohibits California citizens, just as with many states, from cultivating or distributing marijuana. One of the major aspects of these cases is that the police departments, as well as, the District Attorneys’ Offices continue to stand by their position that taking part in marijuana activity is completely prohibited. This leads to many arrests in a year, and once you are charged, it is up to you to present your stance and defend yourself in front of a judge. Luckily, we have the skills and experience to help you through this difficult time and can help prosecutors understand that you have a valid defense and immunity under the state laws. This helps prevent unnecessary prosecutions in a dire time.
Understanding the Many Benefits of Medical Marijuana
At the Soliman Law Group, we understand that there are many benefits of medical marijuana use by patients. The medical community has a great understanding that marijuana has offered benefits to a variety of patients who have not found relief otherwise. In fact, pain medicine specialists across the state have found that pain is one of the major reasons why patients turn to medical marijuana, which has fewer risks than other medicines that have been approved today. Medical marijuana helps by making natural chemicals in our bodies work better, such as those that affect pain, inflammation, and more. There are many therapeutic uses for medical marijuana, such as the following:
- Helping alleviate the nerve pain and spasms that go hand in hand with certain autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease
- Helping those who have cancer and HIV/AIDS and suffer from poor appetite and weight loss
- Reducing intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eyes of those who suffer from glaucoma and have pain from migraines
- Reducing seizure activity in those who suffer from seizure disorders
For patients to be approved for medical marijuana, they must receive an appropriate examination by a physician who has been approved to pass this judgment on their condition. If all other options have been exhausted and a patient has relieved symptoms due to medical marijuana use, they could be approved. The physician will then develop a treatment plan alongside the patient, which covers clear objectives and helps patients understand that they must have periodic checkups to ensure that the medical marijuana treatment is effective.
Laws Permitting Medical Marijuana Across California
Marijuana has seen greater acceptance across the state. As such, there have been many laws passed relating to medical marijuana and decriminalization of marijuana.
For instance, the 1996 act known as the Compassionate Use Act instated the first laws regulating the medical uses of marijuana. The act allowed citizens the right to obtain marijuana for medical purposes, especially in regards to treating serious symptoms of the mentioned ailments.
Then, in 2003, the state legislature passed SB 420, also known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act. These laws were put in place when it became apparent that the officers of the law were having a hard time enforcing the provisions of the Compassionate Use Act. Namely, they were having a hard time seeing whether or not certain patients were actual legal users of medical marijuana or not. This led to the unnecessary arrests of many patients and even caregivers, and the inception of this act. SB 420 helped and streamlined many important aspects, such as:
- Protecting confidentiality in the process
- Creating a voluntary medical marijuana program to issue identification to caregivers and users to avoid prosecution
- Extending the power of medical marijuana recommendation by caregivers and allowing caregivers to have multiple patients across the state
- Creating laws to protect cooperatives that allow patients to obtain cannabis from certain approved locations
States were also given the power to implement strict enforcement systems through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Cole Memo of 2013. The agency stated that this memo would be put in place to allow states to address marijuana activity across the state even though federal law still prohibits its use. This means that states must consider all illegal activity and work to stop it in its tracks, including stopping gangs and drug cartels from distributing marijuana, distributing marijuana to minors, illegal marijuana growing, transportation to states where its use is illegal, driving under the influence of drugs, and any other illegal activities.
How These Trends May Impact You
There are many new trends becoming a part of state laws in California. There are many protections offered to both businesses just getting started as well as patients, even though federal law refuses to protect those who use medical marijuana today. You may have questions about recent legal trends and the impact they have on your life. We want to help you at the Soliman Law Group, so call us today at 888-400-0833 if you have any questions.
FAQ Regarding Medical Marijuana Laws
Though most of the laws regarding medical marijuana in California are cut and dry, you may still have questions. Especially because the trends and laws are constantly changing, we want to help you better understand what is permitted and what isn’t, and invite you to give us a call.
With the passing Proposition 64 in California, what rights do I have? As of November 9th, any adult over 21 years old is able to possess, transport, obtain or give away to other adults 21 or older an ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. You are also permitted to cultivate up to 6 plants per residence and possess marijuana produced by the plants. This all takes place through very special laws known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). And, now that 2018 has arrived, state licenses will be issued to businesses for cultivation, extraction, distribution, transportation, and sales purposes.
Does this mean that medical marijuana is officially legal? No. Despite misconceptions, marijuana is not legal. Medical marijuana laws merely provide defenses to criminal prosecution if you have been arrested on a federal level for your usage. You can still, unfortunately, be arrested, even though state laws allow for its use. If you have been arrested, you must be determined to fight your case with legal help on your side. If the prosecutor decides to stick charges on you, then it is your right to prove that you have a legal defense under state laws.
What did MCRSA laws do for California? The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) help businesses integrate into society on a medical level. With a county-issued identification card, individuals have added a layer of protection over just a doctor’s recommendation, which helps as an affirmative defense.
How much marijuana can be in my possession for medical and recreational use? In California, patients are legally permitted to possess any amount of marijuana that is related to their medical use. If a patient has a unique identification card, they are legally immune from arrest if they possess no more than 8 oz. Adults over 21 are also legally allowed to possess and give away up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower and up to 4 grams of concentrated cannabis.
How many people’s deaths have been attributed to a marijuana drug overdose or have been related to marijuana use? Zero to date.
As you can see, whether you are someone who is looking to start a marijuana-related business or a patient who wants to use medical marijuana for a variety of ailments, you have rights and protections. There are many ways that we can help you at the Soliman Law Group, where your case matters and your voice can be heard. If you are looking to start a business or you are somebody who has general questions related to the marijuana industry and its laws in California, call us today at 888-400-0833 for a free consultation.