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With The New Law, You Can Now Wipe Out Your Past If You Were Convicted for Growing Marijuana at Home — Pot Valet

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With The New Law, You Can Now Wipe Out Your Past If You Were Convicted for Growing Marijuana at Home

icon  20 Jan, 2017  /  icon  0        Author: Anne Fred

In the past, one could be convicted for growing marijuana at home. In fact, there were thousands of cases involving illegal marijuana growing every year. As a result, some of them were convicted and are now serving varying jail terms depending on the crimes they had committed. With the passing of the new law that makes it legal to use the drug for medical purposes and grow not more than six plants at home, one can have their case reviewed, and the conviction wiped out. However, that does not mean that everyone in jail will be released now that the law has legalized cannabis. Remember that as at now, the law is not yet fully implemented. But still with the new law governing the marijuana industry, some crimes remain punishable.

So Which Cases Can Be Cleared Under the New Law?
One of the provisions in the new cannabis law allows those who were convicted before the passing of the famous Proposition 64 to file petitions in court seeking to have their cases terminated or wiped out. But even with that provision, one would ask if all cases can be petitioned and revisited. Well, to put things clear here, one needs to have the knowledge of those acts that were criminal in the past but are now legal. It’s good to remember that the new law didn’t legalize everything. We ought to understand that some activities involving cannabis remain punishable. So before going ahead to file a petition seeking to have your case revisited, find out if the offense you committed is legal now, or it remains wrong. For instance, if you had sold to minors or you were found driving while high, then you might not be able to petition and have it successfully cleared.

For convictions that were as a result of cultivating less than six marijuana plants, then this is your time to clear your legal record. According to the newly passed laws, one is allowed to cultivate up to six plants at home. That means remaining in jail for an act that’s legal now won’t be right. You can have that record changed. That’s just an example because there are many activities that were illegal in the past but are now allowed following the passing of the new law. But as you grow it at home, you need to ensure that you are doing it as recommended. Besides that, ensure that you do not make the plant accessible to your kids or anyone below the age of 21. Do everything as stipulated, and you won’t have any problem or stand a chance of being charged with crimes related to cannabis.

Don’t Be a Nuisance to Your Neighbors Once You Are Cleared and Released
You can be banned or stopped by your local community for being a nuisance to your neighbors. So as you enjoy the activities that have been legalized by the new cannabis law, ensure that whatever action you are doing is right and not posing a danger to those you live with in your place. The most sensitive area is the growing of the drug at homes. As a farmer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the activities you do are protected and within your area only. Any negative spillover effects to your neighbor can become a nuisance and your risk facing the law. To avoid such circumstances, you need to keep your marijuana farm at home protected and only accessible by you. Remember kids are playful, and they can easily find a way to your farm. Don’t also forget that some of them are curious and might be tempted to find out what you are growing. Therefore, fence and secure your farm, so you access alone.

Local authorities have the power to regulate the activities involving marijuana through zoning laws. If they feel that the businesses being run are not good, they can stop them and restrict any further activities that are not in line with the provisions of the law. When the activities are a threat to the community, the law gives them the power to dictate what ought to be carried out and what should be avoided. As a user of medical cannabis or a clinic offering services in any part of the state, it’s your duty to promote the welfare of the community by not engaging in any malpractice that could lead to you being banned from carrying out your activities anymore. You, of course, do not want to find yourself in that. To avoid it, do what’s acceptable by the law and to the community around you.

Now you can exercise the freedom given by the recently passed Proposition 64. If you were convicted and currently serving a jail term for an offense that’s now legal, then this is your time to have your record cleared. However, ensure that the activities you do are legal and acceptable. Don’t forget that you can still be prosecuted for cannabis crimes. Get licensing and obey the law if you want peace of mind and success in your activities.

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Are Cannabis-Using Parents Safe Under Proposition 64 ?

icon  20 Dec, 2016  /  icon  0        Author: Paul

Marijuana users were relieved when California voters passed Proposition 64 in the November 8, 2016, elections. The law legalized recreational marijuana delivery and use in the state. However, there is a growing concern that authorities will infringe the civil rights of marijuana users. Some of the risk areas include parenting, gun ownership, driving, and employment. A recent report by Brooke Edwards Staggs provides more insights on the potential effects of the new law on cannabis-using parents. Proposition 64 has a new protection for parents that restricts courts from rescinding the custodial rights of parents who use medical marijuana. Cannabis-using parents should feel safe under the new law but their experience before the passage of Proposition 64 proves otherwise.

State agencies may interfere with custodial rights because they still have the discretion to grant or deny cannabis-using parents custody of their children. The new law is a not concern to state officials because they only intervene when marijuana use leads to child neglect. The state officials require evidence that a parent under medical marijuana cannot take care of his or her child. The officials may also intervene when it is obvious that a cannabis-using parent will neglect his children. Michael Weston who is a spokesperson for the California Department of Social Services notes that the state interferes in drug cases where there is proof that drug activity or inactivity is a threat to a child’s safety.

Weston notes further that state officials investigate if a child can access the drugs and if the parent is too incapacitated to take care of the child. However, experiences from parents prove otherwise. Staggs includes the case of 31-year-old Nathaniel Rudd who is a California resident in his report. Nathaniel claims that the state denied him custodian rights of his newborn son last year. The officials denied him custody because he admitted that he was using medical marijuana. Nathaniel had been involved in a car accident and his doctor recommended medical marijuana to relieve the pain. The state officials told Nathaniel that he was cognitively incapable of raising the newborn. The social workers did not give him any chance to prove that he could take care of his child.
The social workers handling Nathaniel’s case did not have any proof of substance abuse and its potential effects on the newborn. Nathaniel offered to quit using medical marijuana despite his pain and undergo regular testing but his offer was insufficient to reverse the family court system’s decision. Nathaniel case is proof that the state can infringe the rights of California residents who buy marijuana for medical or recreational use even after voters legalized both uses. Staggs notes that the problem lies with state officials and not the new law. The attitudes of social workers who enforce the law will determine the experience of cannabis-using parents. The parents may abide by the law and even do more than required to get custody of their children. However, the cannabis-using parents are still at the mercy of the court system and child protection services.

Staggs notes further that some state officials treat cannabis like heroin instead of treating it like a prescription drug or alcohol. Hence, they recommend a child be moved from a home for any marijuana use including medical use. A co-parent fighting for custody of a child or a neighbor who needs a favor from the child protection services can exploit the prejudice. California courts may be changing their perception of medical marijuana. Staggs cites the case of a medical marijuana patient who had lost custody of his son in 2012. The Family Court overturned the decision and considered the requirements imposed on him by the court as an abuse of discretion.

The passage of Proposition 64 may not have any impact on pending custody cases. Lawyers and advocates argue that social workers consider the context of each case to make custody decisions. Cannabis-using parents have to wait for the outcome of future court cases to know how the family court system will interpret the new law. The plight of parents using recreational marijuana may be worse. Marijuana laws can change overnight, as was the case in the last election. However, the attitudes towards the drug will take a long time to change. Cannabis rights advocates should prepare for a long-term battle, especially for the rights of cannabis-using parents.

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There is hope in the Marijuana Industry for Job Seekers

icon  12 Dec, 2016  /  icon  1        Author: Jack

The number of jobs in the cannabis industry is expected to increase in the coming years. According to experts in the industry, there may be up to 300,000 extra jobs coming up in weed trade. The marijuana industry is ever promising than before. This is something that had not been conceived barely 20 years ago. In 1995, no single state had legalized marijuana for any use, whether recreational or medical. Today, the story is different. A total of 28 states have legalized marijuana for both recreational and/or medical use. The explosion in weed legalization can only be explained best by the increasing public perception towards cannabis. According to the national pollster Gallup, the support for the legalization of marijuana has highly increased to 60% in 2016 compared to a 25% support that was seen in the mid-1990s.

A recent survey by CBS News poll conducted in 2015 shows that 84% of Americans who took part in the study would want to see the legalization of medical pot nationally. The more favorable the opinion of the public towards cannabis, the more states will be in a position to show that they can effectively and safely control their marijuana industry. In that case, many more states will be able to legalize weed as well. The potential in the cannabis industry growth is unbelievable. An investment organization by the name Cowen & Company reports that legal pot sales could rise from the current $6 million to $50 billion by 2026.  This is a compound yearly growth rate of almost 24% over the next 10 years. However, the most exceptional growth and development of the industry can be seen in the creation of jobs for the masses.

Cannabis Jobs are ever on the increase

Reports by CNBC indicate that the cannabis industry presently employs close to 150,000 people across the United States. This is an admirable figure. Projections that were made in 1994 by Doctor Dale Geirringer from the California NORML settled on 100,000 jobs if the substance was legalized at the federal level. All that we have seen is the legalization of recreational pot in a few states. Still, medical marijuana is only legal in slightly over half of all the states in America after the 2016 November elections. Even with this progress, the target that was set by Gieringer has already been met. Again, we are only getting started. According to estimates by analysts, the cannabis job market may double or even triple in the near future. This means that there will be at least 300,000 extra marijuana-related jobs.

Ideally, the marijuana industry goes beyond merely cultivation, manufacturing and bud tending through retailing. Job opportunities are booming in marijuana delivery services, IT enabling marijuana for sale online, courier services, marketing, consulting and security. Due to the fact that cannabis has been has been locked out of the banking system, security is much needed in the industry. In essence, CNBC indicates that almost 400 students have registered for a 12-course program provided by the Northeastern Institute of Cannabis situated in Natick, Massachusetts that will potentially kick-start their profession in the marijuana industry. Just like is the case for any industry, the employment can be different, however, shop owners and managers can definitely make six figures given the right conditions.

What challenges exist for the marijuana industry?

Despite the fast growth of the cannabis industry and the promising job market, there are quite a number of hurdles that the industry needs to overcome so that it may become fully successful. Firstly, there is the issue of marijuana being classified as a schedule 1 drug at the federal level. This status is a disadvantage for the marijuana industry. Due to this, the marijuana businesses have not been allowed to participate in the national banking system and therefore, they are left to operate with all those billions on cash terms. This is somewhat a security risk that is affecting their net income at the end of the day. Should marijuana businesses be allowed to take part in the banking system, a lot of financial benefits will be realized. The issue of tax is also a big disadvantage because the federal and state governments seek to control the businesses mainly through heavy tax impositions.

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Recreational Marijuana

Medical Cannabis Spending Could Double in the Near Future

icon  09 Dec, 2016  /  icon  0        Author: Sam Wills

A new study in Phoenix, Arizona shows that medical marijuana spending could double in a matter of four years if the Trump presidency will not interfere with it. According to ArcView Market Research and the New Frontier Data, retail sales by the end of 2016 were pegged at $367 million. However, the figures are expected to reach about $681 by 2020. So, what accounts for the increased spending on medical marijuana? The authors believe that the price of medical weed is certainly going to drop significantly in the next few years. Looking at it from another perspective, there will be more marijuana bought for each dollar spent. The marijuana delivery service operators who were interviewed in the study stated that they have experienced a decrease in the wholesale prices from over $3500 per pound, reaching a low of $1800 in a number of cases. Further decline in prices is also anticipated. This has been fueled by the continued legalization wave that has created a free and fair market for simple competition. For instance, the Arizona state Department of Health Services in recent times gave license for 31 new marijuana dispensaries to start up next year on top of 98 others that have already been given out. 

Currently, there is recreational cannabis in Colorado and voters in California passed their own measure for recreational use of marijuana amongst adults. The diversion of products from the adjacent adult use markets will definitely apply a downward pressure on the retailing prices as the dispensaries endeavor to remain highly competitive against the black market. As the lower prices continue to be of huge benefit to the patients, there will be increased problems on top of the already existing financial challenges being experienced by operators in the market which is becoming highly competitive by the day. According to this research, some dispensaries in Arizona, which were relying on the approval of Proposition 205 by voters to generate more traffic, may end up closing up their businesses. This report was also written bearing the issue of investors in mind. These two research companies have been involved in professional analyses of medical cannabis markets cutting across the United States and seek to help them make a decision on whether to – and – how to put their finances into not only the dispensaries but also the auxiliary industries ranging from construction to security to warehouse.

One of the New Frontier Data lead researchers, John Kagia said that even with the mounting competition in the market and the failure to pass Proposition 205, there is no doubt that the medical cannabis market will keep on expanding to even provide marijuana for sale online. In a simple perspective, there will be an increased number of individuals who want marijuana. With time, the overall population will get familiar with medical pot where some of the new medical marijuana users may have already taken the substance illegally. From there, people will start to explore options and consider using the drug on medical grounds. Then there is another group of people who don’t have any history of marijuana use. However, due to the prevailing conditions that they are going through, they will get introduced to weed through their physicians and then will finally consider making use of it for the first time on medical circles. The researchers expect doctors to have a change of attitude especially among those who have been reluctant to recommend marijuana as a good substance for ailing patients. Previously, doctors have frustrated these efforts but they will soon reconsider their stand as more marijuana reforms continue to take effect.

There are some doctors who have already seen the benefits of marijuana and these ones will be very useful in spreading the news. Patients who have gotten relief from debilitating health conditions will also count a lot in advancing the use of medical marijuana among the masses. At the end of the day, there will be increased willingness by doctors to give recommendations for marijuana use amongst ailing patients and hence increase the customer base.  The only big uncertainty is the new Trump administration coming into office. As of now, weed remains a crime under the federal government. Under Obama’s administration, the Department of Justice took a position not to go after dealers and those in possession of legal marijuana through well established medical cannabis laws.

Actually, the feds have successfully taken a similar hands-off strategy towards the recreational weed sales that are already taking place in a number of states. President-elect Trump on the other hand nominated Senator Sessions as his attorney general. Sessions has been very critical of marijuana laws and a supporter of federal laws concerning marijuana. All the same, Kagia said that those already operating in the marijuana industry need not to worry. This is especially because Trump has more pressing issues on immigration and economic policies. Again, some of Trump supporters are strong advocates for marijuana and therefore, a crackdown on weed will give Trump needless stress.

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Expounding on the Role of Attorneys in relation to the Cannabis Industry

icon  08 Dec, 2016  /  icon  0        Author: Jack

Marijuana for recreational use is now decriminalized in California. However, the federal government still considers marijuana illegal regardless of the use. Therefore, state’s lawyers have to deal with serious ethical matters revolving around the legal fog that still is a major challenge to the latest reforms on weed. Marijuana advocates got a resounding victory on November 8, 2016 during the elections that saw five states legalize marijuana for recreational use. These included Maine, California, Nevada, Arizona and Massachusetts. Four other states voted in measures to decriminalize medical cannabis. It was a time of celebration for marijuana users in these states that have now become marijuana-friendly according to the states laws and regulations. Many hopefuls believe that the recent developments on the issue of marijuana are a turning point for the national government.  Going back to the campaign period, Trump told the Washington Post that he considered the issue of cannabis legalization as a matter of the state government. He reiterated that he will respect the laws regarding marijuana that have been passed by the state governments. Many lovers of marijuana expect Donald Trump to fully respect these promises not because it is the right thing for him to do but because these developments have gained the support of many people across the United States.

The appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as his attorney general has however, sent some bad signs to the weed industry and now, people are concerned about the future of marijuana as Sessions assumes office. For Sessions, marijuana is not meant for good people and he has over the years disregarded the benefits of using marijuana for whatever reasons. Despite the different views, customers in a number of states have continued to access marijuana for sale online. This is the far the marijuana industry has come despite the conflict between different states and the federal government. Can Senator Sessions let the marijuana business be or will he use the authority under the federal government to prosecute weed users and the businesses that were taken out of the black market through state laws legalizing the use and sale of cannabis? Sessions has been on the headlines for some time now especially on matters to do with marijuana where his hostility towards the substance has been highlighted.  In that case, will attorneys in California face professional penalties for engaging the state affairs instead of enforcing federal laws?

What can we expect of Attorneys on Marijuana-related Cases?

Despite medical marijuana being legal for 20 years now, we still are not sure of matters related to how attorneys could take part in the growing recreational cannabis industry. Again, the State Bar actions for the last two decades shows a policy of implicit approval:  the State Bar has never sanctioned attorneys taking part in the medical cannabis industry. In 2015, the San Francisco’s Bar Association of San Francisco gave out an opinion stating that an attorney from California can ethically represent a client from the state in lawfully forming and running a medical cannabis dispensary and in any other pertinent matters, although the attorney could help and abet any violations of the federal in doing that.  The silence by the State Bar on this view may be construed as a nod of acceptance.

Meanwhile, federal questions are beginning to emerge. However, attorneys must be very careful not fully trust the State Bar’s apparent indifference to Cannabis activities. The neglect by the State Bar has coincided with the long duration of federal conflict with the state weed activities. If the federal government takes an anti-pot policy that would charge attorneys representing cannabis businesses with federal offenses, we can only guess on the path to be taken by the State Bar. Maybe, it would treat the resulting crime convictions as offenses of moral turpitude for the intention of suspension or disbarment. Even though sanctions in the past could offer some understanding into the approach of the State Bar onwards, the brave emerging world of decriminalized weed and a hard-to-please Depart of Justice challenge easy request of precedent.

Here is the problem as far as the attorney duties are concerned: states can legalize marijuana delivery for recreational use contrary to the federal law whereas attorneys are expected to abide by the duties of supporting the constitution and regulations set therein concerning the United States and the state as well. Therefore, they cannot assume function to favor one side at the expense of the other. In this case, an attorney representing a cannabis-related business will definitely not be supporting the United States laws. A case can be applied based on such a perception and put the attorney in trouble. Well, this is a far-fetched thought because the State Bar has never taken such an action while attorneys have been participating in marijuana-related businesses. Therefore, it is important for the State Bar to provide guidance with immediate effect and clarify to members how their participation in the weed industry will be protected.c

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