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California Vendors Face Criminal Charges Despite Cannabis Legalization

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Palo Alto criminal defense attorney drug charges

Marijuana and cannabis remain borderline drugs as some states allow for their use in all forms while other states ban the substances altogether. California is known as one of the first states to decriminalize marijuana use, allowing Californians to legally purchase marijuana and cannabis and use it under their own discretion. Legalizing these controlled substances were also meant to eliminate the dangerous, black market sales that occur and make the products safer through regulation. Those interested in joining the cannabis business must obtain a license to legally produce and sell the products. Without such a license, California business owners and their employees can face criminal drug charges for their work.

Understanding the Substances

Many assume that cannabis, marijuana, and hemp are all the same substance, using the names interchangeably. In order to avoid confusion in legal cases, U.S. law outlines how these three substances are classified. Cannabis is a plant that makes up marijuana and hemp. Marijuana is made up of cannabis leaves while hemp is made from the plant’s seeds, stems, stalks, and roots. Marijuana is the more potent substance that derives from cannabis, with greater than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which creates the “high” effect that people get when using marijuana. Hemp, on the other hand, has less 0.3 percent THC concentration, creating a relaxed, calm feeling rather than the high of marijuana. 

New Legislation

Recreational and medicinal cannabis use has been legal and regulated in California since 2016. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) made it legal to sell and distribute cannabis through a regulated business since January 2018. Despite this legal and regulated market, state lawmakers are alarmed to see that unlicensed cannabis sellers continue to dominate this market, selling as much as 80 percent of California’s cannabis. In order to address this illegal market, state lawmakers are working to impose heavy fines on any businesses that provide building space, advertising platforms, and other professional aid to these illegal operations. The bill proposed by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio has those who are providing this assistance to illegal cannabis sellers facing fines up to $30,000 per day for their actions. This legislation has been passed by the state Assembly and is pending in the Senate. Not only are these illegal retailers providing unregulated, potentially dangerous products, but they are also selling their cannabis products at a much lower price than licensed sellers, leaving licensed businesses struggling.

Contact a Palo Alto Drug Distribution Defense Attorney

Although this legislation has yet to be approved by the Senate, the bill passed unanimously in the state Assembly. If you are one of these unlicensed sellers, or have assisted one of these sellers with their business, you may face charges for drug distribution. This bill may not be fully approved yet, but there are other current charges that you can still face. Whether these drugs are cannabis or other controlled substances, Attorney Cory Fuller is here to help. The legal team at Fuller Law Firm has over a decade of experience defending Californians of a myriad of criminal charges, including those that are drug-related. For help with your case or more information on this pending bill, contact our Santa Clara County criminal defense lawyer today at 408-234-7563 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.cbdweb.org/medical-cannabis-guide/hemp-vs-marijuana-vs-cannabis

https://cannabis.ca.gov/cannabis-legislation/

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-07-20/california-weighs-steep-new-fines-illegal-pot-industry  

 

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