9 ways federal marijuana laws are limiting rights of residents in legal weed states

Federal status of marijuana is affecting both everyday cannabis consumers and people attempting to work in the industry.

By BROOKE EDWARDS STAGGS / STAFF WRITER

Published: Feb. 4, 2017 Updated: Feb. 5, 2017 2:45 p.m.

 Derek Peterson, CEO and president of Terra Tech. Just weeks after Prop. 64 passed, Peterson learned the company that for two years had managed Terra Tech's payroll and health benefits would be dropping them, Dec. 31, because of concern over their role in the cannabis industry. “The decision came out of nowhere,” he said. “We have almost 200 employees that spent their holiday season stressed about the possibility of not having their health benefits available in the new year, let alone a reliable pay schedule.” (File Photo by ED CRISOSTOMO, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Federal law still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic, a category reserved for drugs such as heroin that are said to be highly addictive and have no medical value. There’s been no movement to ease that stance even though polls show a record number of Americans now believe marijuana should be legal, 28 states now permit medical marijuana and eight more allow recreational use.
One thing that has changed is the optimism some cannabis enthusiasts expressed prior to the November election.
As the biggest state in the nation prepared to vote on legalizing recreational use with Prop. 64, the thinking was that California could become a tipping point that would ultimately lead to federal approval of cannabis.
Prop. 64 easily passed. But confidence in the impact of that vote has dimmed as the reality of a GOP-controlled federal government headed by President Donald Trump – and the prospect of marijuana-opponent Jeff Sessions as Attorney General – has settled in.
For individuals, the ongoing conflict with federal law can make it harder to get everything from housing to healthcare, even if they use cannabis for medical reasons says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.
And for Californians who want to make money in the cannabis industry, the differences between state and federal law can affect how they bank, pay taxes and more.
“It’s a serious hindrance,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution who specializes in marijuana policy.
“It creates a scenario in which companies are able to get up and running, but not operate like a normal business.”
Here are nine ways the federal status of marijuana is affecting both everyday cannabis consumers and people attempting to work in the industry, no matter what their state law says.

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Marijuana Opponents Using Racketeering Law to Fight Industry

DENVER — Jul 13, 2015, 4:20 PM ET

By KRISTEN WYATT Associated Press

Associated Press

A federal law crafted to fight the mob is giving marijuana opponents a new strategy in their battle to stop the expanding industry: racketeering lawsuits.

A Colorado pot shop recently closed after a Washington-based group opposed to legal marijuana sued not just the pot shop but a laundry list of firms doing business with it — from its landlord and accountant to the Iowa bonding company guaranteeing its tax payments. One by one, many of the plaintiffs agreed to stop doing business with Medical Marijuana of the Rockies, until the mountain shop closed its doors and had to sell off its pot at fire-sale prices.

With another lawsuit pending in southern Colorado, the cases represent a new approach to fighting marijuana. If the federal government won’t stop its expansion, pot opponents say, federal racketeering lawsuits could. Marijuana may be legal under state law, but federal drug law still considers any marijuana business organized crime.

"It is still illegal to cultivate, sell or possess marijuana under federal law," said Brian Barnes, lawyer for Safe Streets Alliance, a Washington-based anti-crime group that brought the lawsuits on behalf of neighbors of the two Colorado pot businesses.

Lawyers on both sides say the Colorado racketeering approach is novel.

"If our legal theory works, basically what it will mean is that folks who are participating in the marijuana industry in any capacity are exposing themselves to pretty significant liability," Barnes said.

The 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act sets up federal criminal penalties for activity that benefits a criminal enterprise. The RICO Act also provides for civil lawsuits by people hurt by such racketeering — in this case, neighbors of the two businesses who claim the pot businesses could hurt their property values. If successful, civil lawsuits under the RICO Act trigger triple penalties.

Filed in February, the Colorado lawsuits have yet to go before a judge. But one has already had the intended effect.

In April, three months after the RICO lawsuit was filed, Medical Marijuana of the Rockies closed. Owner Jerry Olson liquidated his inventory by selling marijuana for $120 an ounce, far below average retail prices.

"I am being buried in legal procedure," Olson wrote on a fundraising Web page he created to fight the lawsuit. The effort so far has brought in just $674.

The closure came after the pot shop’s bank, Bank of the West, closed the shop’s account and was dismissed as a plaintiff.

"Its policy is never to offer accounts to recreational marijuana businesses," the court order said.

And just last week, a bonding company in Des Moines, Iowa, paid $50,000 to get out of the lawsuit.

"We are out of the business of bonding marijuana businesses in Colorado and elsewhere until this is settled politically," said Therese Wielage, spokeswoman for Merchants Bonding Company Mutual.

The case of the mountain pot shop shows that racketeering lawsuits can affect the marijuana industry even if the lawsuits never make it to a hearing.

"This lawsuit is meant more to have a chilling effect on others than it is to benefit the plaintiffs," said Adam Wolf, Olson’s lawyer.

In the other Colorado lawsuit, against a dispensary called Alternative Holistic Healing, the pot shop isn’t going down so easily.

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Loretta Lynch’s hard-line stance on marijuana is making Colorado sweat

Attorney general nominee veers from Obama’s no-big-deal rhetoric

 

Attorney General nominee breaks with President Obama's no-big-deal on marijuana.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

 

By Valerie Richardson – The Washington Times – Sunday, February 1, 2015

DENVER — Nobody in the Colorado marijuana industry is panicking, but those involved are sweating a little over the hard line taken by Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s pick to be the next attorney general, on legalization during this week’s Senate confirmation hearing.

“Quite a few of my members were expressing concern and nervousness,” said Michael Elliott, executive director of the Colorado Marijuana Industry Group. “But I’m not sure we could have expected much more than we just heard. Even the president, who came out saying that marijuana is no more dangerous as alcohol, is also on the record as being against legalization.”

States that have legalized or are considering legalizing recreational marijuana use butted heads continually with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who refused to relax stricter federal laws against pot use. Judging from this week’s performance, the fight won’t end when Mr. Holder leaves.

A federal prosecutor in New York, Ms. Lynch told the Senate Committee on the Judiciary she disagreed with the president’s no-big-deal take on pot, saying, “I certainly don’t hold that view and don’t agree with that view of marijuana as a substance.”

“I think the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion, neither of which I’m able to share,” Ms. Lynch said. “But I can tell you that not only do I not support the legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization. Nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as attorney general.”

Her stance buoyed legalization foes such as Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, who said in a statement, “We are breathing a sigh of relief.”

“For her to come out so adamantly against legalization is extremely encouraging,” said Mr. Sabet, a former official in the White House drug czar’s office. “It will give our efforts a shot in the arm.”

Marijuana advocates downplayed her responses, pointing out that she was testifying before the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee and that its chairman, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, opposes recent state moves to legalize recreational marijuana.

In fact, the day before Wednesday’s hearing, Mr. Grassley took to the Senate floor to condemn the Obama administration’s decision to allow states that have legalized recreational pot for adults to proceed within certain parameters with regulated retail markets. Federal laws banning pot, he said, should trump state statutes.

Colorado and Washington launched retail marijuana markets last year, while voters in Alaska and Oregon passed ballot measures in November allowing recreational pot use and sales for adults 21 and over. The District of Columbia has approved adult pot use but not sales.

Mason Tvert, who led the successful 2012 ballot campaign in Colorado, argued that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and cracked, “Fortunately, [Ms. Lynch] has been nominated for attorney general, not surgeon general.”

“We can only hope she was telling some lawmakers what they need to hear in order to get through the confirmation process,” Mr. Tvert said in an email. “It would be shocking if she is actually unaware that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol.”

The Department of Justice issued a guidance in 2013 that essentially allows states to proceed with adult marijuana use and sales while warning that prosecutors would still enforce eight priorities, including keeping marijuana away from children and avoiding pot diversion to other states.

Tom Angell, who heads Marijuana Majority, said in an email that Ms. Lynch also appeared to indicate that she would follow the Justice Department guidance.

“While it’d be ideal to have an attorney general who agrees with the majority of Americans that it is time to end marijuana prohibition, we really don’t need federal officials to personally support legalization,” Mr. Angell. “We only need them to respect the will of voters who have implemented legalization in their own states.”

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We have to just say NO, to “drug testing”…

 

pee-cup

 

While sitting here thinking of my friends in pain who are trapped into slavery thru the Corporations they work for via “workplace drug testing”…who are condemned to use ONLY narcotics via the pharmaceutical industrial complex via so called “pain clinic’s” and doctors who are trapped in the prescribing business AND the drug screening business, which is equal to drug trafficking via legal means, 

I am wondering why,

just why not say NO!

*The Feds cannot force you to take a drug test for employmentThey can and do force drug testing upon “pain patients” and parolees which is another issue of it’s own.

This is done by the Corporations themselves.  Insurance Companies are involved  as well of course the Corporations who make the “testing kits” and at the same time they are making “pass your drug test kits” which people run out and buy in order to succumb to the Industrial and Insurance related Complex.

WE HAVE TO JUST SAY NO…

Our Father’s and Grandfather’s went to war and lost their lives for our freedom by the thousands, and I could start a whole new issue on that subject alone, but I will save that for another day.

 

GATEWOOD GALBRAITH SPEECH

 

The question here is are we willing to consume less to have more freedom?

We can effectively turn the prohibition around and “prohibit” them from invading our privacy, and entering our property without a search warrant, (symbolically), just by refusing or saying NO to their test.

I have never passed a drug test for Cannabis/Marijuana.

I also have never failed one for any other non-prescribed drug.

Do not worry about passing your next drug test.

DO start looking for other ways and means of making an income such as working for small privately owned companies which are few and far between but do still exist.  You can also sub-contract yourself, or work independently.

If you are lucky enough that you have already obtained a job and passed your drug test then just hope like hell you don’t get picked on too soon.

If you have not found a job yet, then DO NOT work for a company which is telling you that you must succumb to “random drug testing” or “pre-employment drug testing”.

This could effectively be a type of “civil disobedience” which is actually legal to do.  Again, “just say no” to drug testing.

If EVERYONE followed this one rule, it would not take long for  “drug testing” to disappear much like the “inspection stickers” for vehicles in the 1980’s did in Kentucky when everyone was so poor they could not afford to make their vehicles pass the test.  Eventually  they gave up and ended it.  (Just imagine what would happen if all these people could not pay their electric bill for one month.  It is true that you would not have electric for that period of time but it is also true that the electric company would not be getting near as much income for that period of time).  Most people CAN survive without electric for a month.  That has been proven by the people themselves who have suffered loss due to storms, etc.,

If you are unemployable you have a reason to file for disability.  Not that you will be approved, but just think of the paperwork put upon the SSA if everyone that failed a drug test filed for disability.  And then when they do not approve it, appeal the decision.  You can keep them “dancing” for a while – just depends upon how far you want to take it.

If they DO NOT end the drug testing at that point it could cause even more black market businesses to appear just for the fact that they can’t fill the Industrial Complex with legal worker’s.

The Industrial Complex cannot afford to loose it’s slaves so therefore I do not think it would take too long to accomplish the goal of ending “drug testing” policies.

And just like everything else the poorest of the people will be the one’s affected the most in this decision and have to suffer the “worse” before it gets better.

BECAUSE, they do not drug test politicians nor doctors or lawyers….

I guess it comes down to the sad fact whether or not you want to have freedom and live on beans and soup, or be a slave and eat commercial hamburgers.

I do not want to suggest that everyone absent mindedly quit their jobs tomorrow with no plans on how to sustain themselves.  However, making alternative plans for an income is always a good idea regardless.

 

sheree

This has been “something to think about” ,

Smkrider

 

*According to Henriksson, the anti-drug appeals of the Reagan administration “created an environment in which many employers felt compelled to implement drug testing programs because failure to do so might be perceived as condoning drug use. This fear was easily exploited by aggressive marketing and sales forces, who often overstated the value of testing and painted a bleak picture of the consequences of failing to use the drug testing product or service being offered.”[36] On March 10, 1986, the Commission on Organized Crime asked all U.S. companies to test employees for drug use. By 1987, nearly 25% of the Fortune 500 companies used drug tests.[37]

**THC and its major (inactive) metabolite, THC-COOH, can be measured in blood, urine, hair, oral fluid or sweat using chromatographic techniques as part of a drug use testing program or a forensic investigation of a traffic or other criminal offense.[91] The concentrations obtained from such analyses can often be helpful in distinguishing active use from passive exposure, elapsed time since use, and extent or duration of use.

***Drug testing in order for potential recipients to receive welfare has become an increasingly controversial topic