Cannabis Law (7)
California to Require All Marijuana to be Lab Tested. What Will Happen to Weed That Fails the Lab?
If passed as written, all marijuana products will be examined in licensed laboratories for moisture content, pesticide presence, and other elements before it can be sold to the public.
For some dispensaries across California, these regulations may significantly change the way they do business. But in Berkeley, where the city mandated strict testing in years ago, it’s more or less par for the course.
At Berkeley Patients Group, they’ve been testing their products for about a decade. But Victor Pinho, the dispensary’s director of marketing and communications, describes the city’s regulations as a double-edged sword.
“It’s great, because you’re providing the cleanest medicine to the consumer,” he said. “But from the purchasing perspective ... of all the greatest medicine grown in Northern California, we see most of it come through our shop, and we can really intake less than 10 percent of it.”
That’s because, as Pinho explained, even the tiniest factors won’t pass inspection. For instance, insect frass, an organic material left over from insects that helps marijuana plants create natural hormones that help fight pests, won’t fly. It’s a benign substance, but it’ll flunk microbiological labs.
Pinho says that even name-brand cannabis products have failed Berkeley’s standards. But in the past, it hasn’t always obstructed producers from finding a home for their products.
“The medicine that won’t be sold in Berkeley doesn’t necessarily go to the black market, but it’ll end up in Oakland,” where there are currently less restrictions, Pinho explained.
So, if the new regulations are imposed across the state, where will it go?
On one hand, statewide testing standards will help level the playing field for dispensaries such as BPG, who’ve had to play by more rigorous standards. But while it may make the market more competitive in one sense, now BPG will have to compete for lab time.
Right now, BPG can get their product back from their lab of choice, CW Analytics, in a matter of days. But if every dispensary in the Bay Area needs to utilize a limited number of testing sites — there are only a few here, and even less are properly licensed under the new standards — it could potentially create a major lag time in getting products on the shelves.
And that is going to hurt consumers, even though testing the weed helps.
A bipartisan group of senators and representatives have reintroduced legislation that would enable states to set their own medical marijuana policies.
That is at odds with a letter U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent to congressional leaders, in which he asked that federal medical marijuana protections be reversed.
Booker addressed the Sessions letter, saying the Attorney General “misrepresents the facts” on medical marijuana.
“I dare him to sit down with families and listen to their stories and then pursue a policy like he’s advocating for now,” the New Jersey senator said.
In the letter, which was sent in May but released on Monday, Sessions asked that Congress not inhibit the Justice Department’s ability to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.
Saying the nation is in the midst of a “historic drug epidemic,” Sessions sought to make a case for using federal funds to crack down on state medical marijuana laws. The 2014 Rohrabacher-Farr amendment currently prevents the Justice Department from doing this.
The legislation reintroduced Thursday would protect patients, doctors and businesses participating in state medical-marijuana programs from federal prosecution.
The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would not legalize medical marijuana in all 50 states. Instead, it would ensure that people in the states where medical cannabis is legal can use it without violating federal law.
Patients and parents who rely on medicalmarijuana also attended the press conference. Jennifer Collins, a 17-year old Virginia resident, spoke about how medical cannabis helps control her epilepsy.
“People worry that medical cannabis is a gateway drug,” Collins said. “We know that’s not true. And for me, medical cannabis has been a gateway to a better life.”
Gillibrand said the growing acceptance of medical marijuana among the public makes her hopeful that the law will continue to gain bipartisan support. She credited personal stories from those who have benefited from medical cannabis as the reason for the shift in public opinion.
“These stores are the difference, because when you talk about how it affects your child and how their lives are so significantly better, it’s irrefutable,” Gillibrand said. “It is so compelling. I believe things are changing and they are changing fast.”
Starting a nonprofit is an exciting and rewarding opportunity, but it can also be challenging. Find important information and services to help guide you through the process:
A nonprofit organization commonly performs some type of public or community benefit, without the purpose of making a profit. There are various categories of nonprofits recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS):
- Charitable or religious organizations
- Social welfare organizations
- Labor and agricultural organizations
- Business leagues
- Veterans organizations
Each category has different tax benefits and requirements. While the majority of nonprofits are classified under 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code as charitable organizations, you should review the categories to determine the right choice for your nonprofit organization.
This process is very similar to creating a regular corporation except that you have to take the extra steps of applying for tax-exempt status with the IRS and their state tax division. These are the steps you should take to incorporate your nonprofit:
- Choose a business name - Make sure to check the state-by-state information on the various laws that apply to naming a nonprofit in your state.
- Appoint a Board of Directors - Draft your bylaws with guidance from your Board of Directors. These are the operating rules for your nonprofit.
- Decide on a legal structure - Choose whether your organization will be a trust, corporation, or association.
- File your incorporation paperwork - You must next file formal paperwork, or articles of incorporation, and pay a small filing fee to your state. Look up your state office through the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO).
- Apply for tax-exempt status - A nonprofit organization may be eligible for exemption from federal income tax. The IRS provides guidance and instructions on applying for tax-exempt status.
Learn more about federal tax exemption requirements in IRS Publication 557 - Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization or by calling the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Hotline at 1-877-829-5500.
Obtain necessary licenses and permits - Does your nonprofit have all the licenses and permits needed to comply with federal, state, and local rules?
While individual donors make up the largest contributors to nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments offer grants, loans and programs to support funding. Grants.gov helps you find and apply for federal government grants for your nonprofit.
February 22, 2017 - The final bills for this year's legislative session have been introduced in Sacramento. There are 44 bills that could affect cannabis law and policy in California. Cal NORML is consulting with our attorneys and others on positions and priorities on these bills, which we will be tracking and announcing hearings and votes on. Stay tuned to this page for updates.
• Six bills concern DUID laws:
AB 6 (Lackey) - would permit the collection of oral swab tests for drivers who are lawfully arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Cal NORML has written a letter in opposition to this bill and has been told amendments are forthcoming. It is scheduled for an Assembly Public Safety Committee Hearing on February 28, 9 AM in Room 126 at the Capitol.)
SB 65 (Hill) - would increase the penalty for smoking while driving to a misdemeanor. Cal NORML opposes.
SB 698 (Hill) - would establish a per se DUID standard of 5 ng if the driver is also found to have a BAC between .04 -.07%.
AB 702 (Lackey) - changes language on consent for chemical tests by drivers
SB 67 (Bates) - for sentencing purposes on DUIs, would require the determination of whether an offense constitutes a separate violation or prior conviction under the driving-under-the-influence prohibition described above to be based on the date of the conviction of the separate or prior offense, and would specify that the determination is not affected by the sentence imposed or any subsequent action taken pursuant to discretionary sentencing.
AB 903 (Cunningham) - Changes Prop. 64 to requires the department to use funds to establish and adopt protocols to determine whether a driver is operating a vehicle while impaired, including impairment by the use of marijuana or marijuana products. Requires 2/3 vote.
• Two bills affect court proceedings:
AB 1443 (Levine) - changes government code 68152 section 15 (c) relating to court proceedings.
AB 208 (Eggman) - would make the deferred entry of judgment program a pretrial diversion program.
• One bill addresses federal involvement:
AB-1578 (Jones-Saywer) seeks to prohibit a state or local agency from using resources to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by law in the State of California.
LICENSING AND REGULATORY BILLS
• Two bills are specific to cannabidiol (CBD):
AB 416 (Mathis) is a spot bill, open to amendment.
AB 845 (Wood) would allow the prescription of CBD, should the federal government allow it.
• One bill addresses concentrates:
AB 1244 (Voepel) is a spot bill regarding the production of cannabis concentrates using butane.
• Five bills affect edibles and their packaging and labeling, even though this is already covered in AUMA and MCRSA:
AB 350 (Salas) Marijuana edibles: appealing to children.
AB 1606 (Cooper) Edible marijuana products
SB 663 (Nielsen) Packages and labels of marijuana or marijuana products: children
• Twelve bills affect other aspects of licensing and regulation:
AB 64 (Bonta) - an omnibus bill that seeks to merge AUMA and MCRSA
AB 171 (Lackey) - would require regulators to report on the number of conditional licenses issued.
AB 238 (Steinworth) - would make it illegal for anyone with a state license to distribute marijuana to turn someone down for a job because they aren’t part of a union. The bill also states entrepreneurs applying for a business license can’t be denied simply because they employ people who aren’t unionized.
AB 389 (Salas) - would require the bureau, by July 1, 2018, to establish and make available on its Internet Web site a consumer guide to educate the public on the regulation of medical and nonmedical marijuana.
AB 420 (Wood) - would require an advertisement for the sale of nonmedical marijuana or nonmedical marijuana products to include, at a minimum, the license number of the AUMA licensee responsible for its content.
AB 729 (Gray) - would require a licensee to post a sign that reads “No Person Under 21 Allowed,” expands on laws protecting minors, and codifies their use as informants. It would prohibit the sale of marijuana in vending machines and prohibits a licensee from being located within a 600-foot radius of a playground, hospital, or church.
AB 948 (Bonta) - spot bill.
AB 1143 (Gray) - prohibits outdoor advertising of marijuana.
AB 1527 (Cooley) - prohibits employees from working in the cannabis industry for one year following leaving the Bureau.
AB 1627 (Cooley) - moves regulation of testing laboratories from DPH back to DCA
SB 175 (McGuire) - protects county of origin regarding labeling of marijuana
SB 311 (Pan) - allows onsite testing of marijuana at licensed establishments
• Six bills address taxes and uses for the tax fund from Prop. 64:
AB 844 (Burke) - would allow Prop. 64 funds to be used for system navigation services
AB 963 (Gipson) - would impose specific criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment, for certain violations of the provisions relating to the cultivation and excise taxes on marijuana.
AB 1002 (Cooley) - would rename the program the Center for Cannabis Research and would expand the purview of the program to include the study of naturally occurring constituents of cannabis and synthetic compounds that have effects similar to naturally occurring cannabinoids. The bill would authorize the program to cultivate cannabis to be used exclusively for research purposes and to contract with a private entity to provide expertise in cultivating medical cannabis. The bill would also authorize the controlled clinical trials to focus on examining testing methods for detecting harmful contaminants in marijuana, including mold and bacteria.
AB 1135 (Wood) - would require the State Department of Public Health and the State Department of Education to establish an inclusive public stakeholder process to seek input from stakeholders to determine a disbursement formula for the funds provided to the State Department of Health Care Services from the California Marijuana Tax Fund and would require the findings of the stakeholder meetings to be given to the State Department of Health Care Services and considered by that department when determining funding priorities for those moneys.
AB 1410 (Wood) - would enact the cultivation tax at the distributor level.
SB 148 (Wiener/Atkins) - would allow local agencies to accept cash payments from marijuana businesses.
• Five bills address water rights or Fish & Wildlife code:
AB 313 (Gray) - amends section 1525 of the Water Code (containing cannabis provisions and others) to say: "This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2018, and, as of January 1, 2019, is repealed."
AB 362 (Wood) limits the amount of money that can be loaned to the Department of Fish and Wildlife for activities to address environmental damage occurring on forest lands resulting from cannabis cultivation to $500,000, until July 1, 2017 (the end of the current fiscal year).
AB-1254 (Wood) - nonsubstantive changes to Fish & Wildlife code.
AB-1420 (Aguiar/Curry) - Water rights: small irrigation use: lake or streambed alteration agreements.
SB-506 (Nielsen) - Dept of Fish and Wildlife: lake or streambed alteration agreements
• One bill addresses cultivation on Tribal Lands:
AB 1096 (Bonta) - would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to address state regulation of medical cannabis grown on, but transported out of, tribal lands.
Donald Trump steps in as the president of a nation increasingly at odds with federal marijuana policy.
Thanks to a growing pro-pot majority, 28 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws supporting legalization. After the 2016 election, over 60% of the population—about 193 million Americans—will have access to weed for medical use under state law. Twenty percent will be able to purchase it for recreational use.
Trump—who claims he’s never used pot himself—has a history of progressive statements on legalization.
He told Fox New he was “a hundred percent” for it in February 2016, mirroring his his call for the decriminalization of all drugs in the 1990s. As campaign season wore on, however, he pivoted.
“I say [legalization is] bad. Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think it’s bad, and I feel strongly about it,” he told the CPAC Conference in June. “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue,” he continued. “If they vote for it, they vote for it… But, you know, they have got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado. Some big problems.”
Trump was cuddlier toward legalization during an October rally. “I think medical [marijuana] should happen—right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.” He softened towards Colorado as well. “I really think that we should study Colorado, see what’s happening.”
Practically speaking, Trump’s begrudging, wait-and-see ambiguity mirrors that of the Republican congressional leadership, the official GOP platform, and the even the Obama administration. Looking at his statements alone, you could expect a continued hands-off federal policy or even progress toward top-down legalization. Look at Trump’s cabinet picks, however, and you’ll see something else.
The man who would be most responsible for developing and prosecuting U.S. drug policy, prospective Attorney General Senator Jeff Sessions,
has taken a hard line against weed in word and deed throughout his career. Just this year, Sessions’ said that weed is a “very real danger” and “not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.” All legal reforms to date are a “tragic mistake” for Sessions and, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
Further down the table, other cabinet picks could also prove problematic for legalization efforts. A holdover from the Obama years, acting Drug Enforcement Administration head Chuck Rosenberg has been permissive at times, though he did maintain a schedule of raids against legal grow operations and once called medical marijuana a “joke.”
Trump pick for Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price voted down almost every pro-pot bill or amendment that came through Congress during his tenure as a representative from Georgia. As the head of HHS, he would have influence over pot’s medical status, determining whether there would be penalties for prescribing doctors and legal suppliers. Even incoming Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has stated he’s “not a fan” of state-level legalization.
How exactly this clash between Trump’s past statements and the positions of his cabinet will play out is unclear. Yes, they work at his pleasure, but Trump has shown signs that he’ll delegate policy development to his team. None of this is promising for legalization efforts.
One ray of hope here is that Trump has a habit of altering his positions to fit his audience. Now that his audience is all Americans—89% of whom favor legal medical marijuana and 57% of whom favor of full legalization—there’s a decent chance for more federal-level fence sitting and state-level legalization. But honestly, with this guy who knows.
With the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, the United States got a new president.
And with that new president comes a long list of new appointees across various federal agencies and departments. While President Trump's cabinet selection process has played out publicly, a variety of folks from former president Barack Obama's administration have quietly stayed on.
One of the most prominent people that's staying on is the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Chuck Rosenberg, who was appointed by former attorney general Loretta Lynch in May 2015.
And that's particularly notable, as the DEA is responsible for enforcing drug policy in the United States. Most importantly for most Americans, Rosenberg is in charge of enforcing marijuana illegality in the US — an area where, traditionally, the federal government and individual US states have butted heads.
California legalized medical marijuana use in 1996; despite legality in California, the drug remained illegal on a federal level, and the US government
— through the DEA — policed it as such. California medical dispensaries were raided by the federal government repeatedly, regardless of its legality in the eyes of the State of California.
That relationship dramatically changed in 2013 due to a document known as "The Cole Memo" (written by deputy attorney general James Cole). The document re-focused federal resources away from prosecuting individuals who were operating legally within their own states, and instead focused on containment and prevention.
In so many words, it directed federal agencies to stop clashing with state-level marijuana policy.
The Law Offices of Glew & Kim is a well-established Santa Ana, California, law firm dedicated to criminal defense. Clients of the firm have the reassurance of a zealous, well-argued defense.
Clients enjoy a personalized, direct attorney-client connection that is rare at large law firms. If you entrust your criminal matter to us, you and your lawyer will become very well acquainted. You will be kept well informed about the status of your case and what to expect next.
All criminal matters receive personal attention from attorneys Christopher Glew and Jina Kim. With more than 30 years of combined legal knowledge, we are dedicated to providing clients with the best representation we can, aiming for the best outcomes achievable.
Our attorneys hold a strong trial record and proudly offer zealous advocacy on behalf of people charged with felonies and misdemeanors, state and federal crimes of all varieties, including white collar crimes, drunk driving offenses, violent crimes and drug crimes.
Defense lawyer Chris Glew founded the firm more than 15 years ago. He has won groundbreaking medical marijuana defense trials. Analysts have called him "the hottest criminal defense attorney in Orange County," and American Lawyer Media named him as one of the 2013 Top Lawyers in California. Local and national news networks often ask him to speak on medical marijuana and other criminal defense matters.
Attorney Jina Kim is a member of the National College of DUI Defense and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She is fluent in Korean.
Learn more about our backgrounds and qualifications here:
- Christopher M. Glew
- Jina Kim
Know Your Marijuana Laws
The majority of our cases involve narcotics offenses, and we specialize in the nuances of narcotics laws, including medical marijuana, marijuana DUI, juvenile drug offenses, and federal drug offenses. Attorneys Glew & Kim are dedicated to the reform of marijuana laws through organizations such as the Marijuana Policy Project, NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), and Americans for Safe Access.
Attorney Christopher Glew has focused his career on criminal defense for narcotics offenses. He is a frequent writer and student of drug law and policy, specializing in cultivation, possession and sale of marijuana. He has defended hundreds of cases under Proposition 215. He is regularly regarding his work with medical marijuana cases.
If you are facing criminal charges, don't wait. Contact Glew & Kim today for a free consultation regarding your case. Below are a list of typical criminal charges we defend.
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If you have been charged with a crime in or near Santa Ana, California, your situation is serious and you need individualized legal advice right away. We welcome your inquiries. Schedule a consultation by calling 866-416-2161