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California: Court Blocks Federal Prosecution of Cannabis Farmers

California Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court blocked federal prosecutors from moving forward with a conspiracy case against a duo of Northern California cannabis cultivators because the pair was determined to be complying with California medical cannabis laws.

Sonny Moore and Anthony Pisarski, both Humboldt County farmers, plead guilty to federal allegations but sought an evidentiary hearing based on legislation that prohibits the U.S. Department of Justice from cracking down on cannabis suspects who are otherwise following their state laws.

The 2014 Rohrabacher-Farr amendment is a budget rider, co-authored by California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher which prevents enforcement and prosecution in medical cannabis states by halting federal funding for such projects.

United States: Prosecution of Cannabis Attorney May Impact Industry

Cannabis Law

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In May, California attorney Jessica McElfresh was charged with multiple felonies, including conspiracy to commit a crime, obstructing justice, and manufacturing a controlled substance, by the San Diego County district attorney.

The 15-page felony complaint, filed by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, accuses James Slatic, two of his executives, and McElfresh (Slatic's attorney) of conspiracy and manufacturing a controlled substance, alleging the attorney helped Slatic cover up a cannabis concentrate manufacturing operation.

Oregon: Legal Marijuana Sales Begin Oct. 1; Past Convictions Can Be Cleared

OregonMarijuanaComingSoon

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon wasn't the first state, or the largest, to legalize marijuana. But when it begins retail cannabis sales next month, the state will blaze a new trail, because it will consider applications to clear the record of past marijuana convictions.

Paperwork which would forever seal old pot offenses is now available in Oregon, thanks to a new law, and those who complete the process can legally say to any employer, landlord or anyone else who asks that they've never been convicted or cited for any drug crime at all, reports Kirk Johnson at The New York Times.

Fifteen years ago, when Erika Walton, then in her 20s, handed a bong to someone who turned out to be a police officer, she was cited for marijuana possession. She paid the fine, but the violation continued to haunt her as part of her record.

"It's taken away a lot of my life," Walton said as she inked out her fingerprints, which Oregon requires for sealing the file. Walton said the minor citation cost her when she had to disclose it on job applications and for volunteer positions at her children's school.

Oregon: County Considers Excluding Marijuana From Farm Zones

OregonLinnCountyMap[FamilySearch]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One Oregon County is considering excluding marijuana from farm zones, leading to questions about how cannabis will be regulated under legalization and the state's land use system.

Since voters approved legalization under Measure 91 last November, Linn County officials have been bombarded with questions about where citizens can grow it, according to County Commissioner Roger Nyquist, reports Mateusz Perkowski at the Capital Press.

"We're even seeing real estate ads advertising properties as turnkey ready for marijuana production," Nyquist said.

County commissioners are considering limiting commercial marijuana production to light industrial and commercial zones, according to Nyquist, who said the commissioners were "concerned" about "problems resulting from growing marijuana outdoors near homes."

"There are security issues if you have millions of dollars worth of crop sitting next to families," he said.

But marijuana proponents see the proposal as a try to circumvent Measure 91. Using zoning rules to create a "functional ban" on marijuana dispensaries would be preempted by legalization, according to attorney Leland Berger, who advises cannabis businesses.

"I am starting to see municipalities who are bigoted against cannabis utilize land use and zoning laws to avoid state preemption," Berger said.

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