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Federal Raids and City Bans in Orange County

Medical Marijuana Law in California

California Medical Marijuana laws can be confusing. Despite what some may say, Medical Marijuana is legal in the state of California. The people of California made medical marijuana legal when they voted on Proposition 215 in 1996. This Compassionate Use Act (also known as the CUA) was later codified in Health and Safety Code 11362.5. This law provides that qualified patients and their caregivers can use, possess, and cultivate marijuana for personal and medical use when it is recommended or approved by a physician.

So what's the problem? These laws seem pretty clear right? Yes. We thought so too. Well, let me try and flesh all this out. The problem is twofold. First, there is the federal problem. Second, there is a local problem.

The Federal Problem

What I call the federal problem is simple. You've seen it on TV and read about it in the papers. It may have even happened to you or someone you know. The feds - usually the DEA - raids a dispensary. They get dressed up in their fancy gear with their shirts that say DEA in big yellow letters and they systematically shut down medical marijuana collectives, cooperatives, and patients association.

But, why? If recreational and medical marijuana are legal in California - why are the feds shutting dispensaries down? Well the federal government claims that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) trumps state law. Basically, federal law takes precedence over state law when the two conflict. The CSA is federal and California's medical marijuana laws are - obviously - from the state level.

As a fun side note, the CSA also designates marijuana as a Schedule One Illegal Substance, which means they consider pot on the same level as heroin, LSD, peyote, and ecstasy. Crazy right?

But the laws don't really conflict. The marijuana laws in the state of California provide for medical use. Vicodin and Ritalin are Controlled substances too, but because we consider those medicines the federal government doesn't hunt down pain patients and kids with ADD.

Nonetheless, the United States Attorneys and federal law enforcement choose to ignore this fact and instead have stubbornly clung to their distorted view of the Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). They blindly continue their pursuit on marijuana and raise their flags to honor the long-dead war on drugs. Hooray for Nixon.

It doesn't end there though. It's not just Medical Marijuana Patients in California who are being hunted down by the feds either. Seventeen states to date have passed medical marijuana law in one form or another - and this includes Washington DC. But the federal government turns a blind eye to this clear and convincing trend and continues to enforce federal laws. What's more, the federal government and the justice department have provided scant direction to law enforcement on how to interpret these state laws.

In the end, this conflict is a mess. It pushes patients, association members, and medical marijuana providers into a corner. It forces them to take a risk in order to get and provide the medicine they need.

The Local Problem

And if this weren't enough, local governments are making this even worse. City and county governments are arguing that because they have the power to regulate the use of land within their limits, that they have the power to regulate medical marijuana. Basically, they are claiming that - just like they have the right to limit the number of bars, liquor shops, and other businesses - they can do the same with pot shops.

Generally, this is true. However, local governments have taken this a step further and claimed that the power to regulate gives them the power to destroy. These cities and counties have written laws BANNING medical marijuana sales, cultivation, and possession within their limits. Some call it a nuisance and pursue the "violation" civilly. Other cities have come up with different, less creative ways of shutting down weed shops.

Get Help from Our Marijuana Lawyers in Orange County

So, what can you do? Well, if you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place - give our Brea medical marijuana attorneys a call. Our number is easy to remember (714) LAWYER-6. We have been practicing California Medical Marijuana Law for years and we know how to deal with your problem. Whether you manage a dispensary and the EDD is knocking at your door with some ridiculous fine or the Feds have decided to take all your goods and cash. If you are a patient and you get a misdemeanor possession charge for your medicine, we can help. We've been through this before and we know how you feel.

Don't wait. Delaying can make all the difference. Contact the marijuana lawyers at Anthony Curiale and Associates, A Professional Corporation at (714) 684-6922 to set up a meeting so we can discuss your particular situation.

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