Seems like everyday there’s another story about marijuana in California.
In 1996, California became the first State to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Since then, 20 States have legalized medical marijuana and two have legalized recreational marijuana.
President Obama’s administration has had a love/hate relationship with California’s medical marijuana industry. Originally,in the famous “Ogden Memo” the administration pledged not to interfere with the legal co-ops, then they backed off this pledge in 2012 after the “Cole Memo”.
Now it looks like President Obama is ready to get behind federal legalization. In an interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta this Sunday President Obama is going to come out behind the removal of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug (meaning a drug with no medical purpose, unsafe even when administered with medical supervision, like heroin) and putting it on Schedule 2.
“You know, I think I’d have to take a look at the details, but I’m on record as saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact, be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I’m also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we’re going to be,” Obama said.
It’s also heartening to see a move away from the criminal model of drug treatment to a public health model. This may finally be the admission that the War on Drugs has failed.
This comes on the heels of California Federal Judge Mueller’s decision to declare marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug unconstitutional.The case is a Federal prosecution of medical marijuana growers taking place up north. The Judge heard extensive scientific testimony on marijuana, but in the end said it was her job to follow the law, not to make it. NORML’s representative who lead the fight said they’re set up well for the appeal to the Ninth Circuit court of appeal once the case has been tried.
At the same time, California is poised to become the third state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. A ballot initiative scheduled to be voted on in 2016 seeks to legalize marijuana here. A similar initiative failed in 2010, but proponents are confident that with the increased turn out, particularly of young voters, that occurs with a presidential election that they can win this time.
Polls show that Californians favor marijuana legalization 55% to 43%. Research shows that the chemicals in marijuana (THC and CBD) can be used to treat a wide variety of illnesses from multiple sclerosis to a plethora of seizure disorders. Read about them here. Other studies, including the those by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, show that marijuana does not impair a person’s ability to drive to the extent that alcohol does. Here’e NORML’s article on this issue. I have begun representing more and more clients who have been legally using medical marijuana but treated unfairly by the police. I am firmly committed to protecting our rights in this area.
This is sure to continue to be a growing area as more and more research shows it’s medicinal uses and more and more companies begin marketing it. There are now “pot relocation” realty companies, the major cigarette brands are rumored to have all the branding and packaging ready for roll out. Bloomberg has an article about publicly traded marijuana companies on the penny stock market. More and more older people are using medical marijuana and changing their opinion about it’s legality.
And wouldn’t you know it? Monsanto has developed the first GMO marijuana strain.
How do you feel about this issue? Are you or someone you know using medical marijuana? Are you charged with a drug related offense, medical or not? Let us know. Shoot us an email or call me at 213-479-5322. We’re here to help.