Articles Posted in Medical Marijuana

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Police in California may soon have a new weapon in their efforts to get DUI drivers off the road. The state legislature is considering authorizing the use of a device that measures levels of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and pain medications (including opiates).marijuana-drug-dui-los-angeles

The push to get the new device approved is apparently in response to a California ballot measure that would authorize the use of recreational marijuana in the state. In an April 6th article, the Los Angeles Times reported that State Senator Bob Huff of San Dimas has authored a bill that permits police to take an oral swab from a DUI suspect and then use a handheld device to test for the presence of marijuana and other controlled substances.

Lawmakers may have good reason to be concerned about the consequences on driving habits if the pot bill passes. The Times article notes a 40 percent increase in positive tests for drugs in drivers killed in crashes in California between 2009 and 2013. It also said that pot-related traffic deaths increased by almost one-third in Colorado in the year after that state legalized recreational pot.

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A political move could have powerful implications for your Los Angeles DUI or drug crime offense.long-beach-drug-crime-laws.jpg

Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed legislation that would have reduced penalties for people arrested for possessing heroin or cocaine. The proposed legislation would have transformed those charges from felonies to misdemeanors.

The current law – and future law, thanks to the veto – requires simple possession of heroin or cocaine to be charged as a felony punishable by up to three years behind bars. SB 649, the proposed bill – would have reduced the Los Angeles criminal charge down to what’s known as a wobbler – a crime that can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on circumstances.

Kim Horiuchi, a lawyer for ACLU, expressed her organization’s displeasure with the veto: “Gov. Brown has rejected… modest reform that would have helped end mass incarceration in this state… Brown remains inexplicably opposed to meaningful sentencing reform.”

Not every group wanted reduced penalties. The California District Attorneys Association, for instance, fought SB 649. That group released a statement saying “most would concede that drug addictions destroy lives and families, and are damaging to society… minimizing the consequences of addictive and destructive behavior does not make it less addictive or destructive.”

While Governor Brown did oppose this particular piece of legislation, he said that he remained open to supporting other changes to the state’s criminal justice system.

Many statistics suggest that this system could definitely use some reform. A Human Rights Watch report from 2009, for instance, found that African Americans in California are arrested for drug possession crimes at a rate that’s three times the rate for whites. And new research into the nature of addiction suggests that many conventional approaches may not be particularly effective.

Fortunately, you do not have to fix the system yourself. You just need to get a handle on your own Los Angeles DUI or drug crime charges. To that end, consider working with Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers. Mr. Kraut is a former prosecutor who spent at least 14 years working in the capacity of Senior Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles.

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Today, we’re going to examine a disturbing Los Angeles drug crime article in the Los Angeles Times that profiled Dr. John O. Dimowo. This Southern California doctor allegedly prescribed narcotics, like Xanax, Vicodin and Adderall, to undercover agents who didn’t need the medications. Dimowo-los-angeles-medical-crime.jpg

Dr. Dimowo was the subject of a 2012 Los Angeles Times investigation on overdose deaths in patients. Although he was never officially charged in patient deaths, he stands accused of seven counts of prescribing narcotics illegally. Five patients fatally overdosed on medications that Dimowo prescribed to them in 2009 and 2010.

Based on these charges, the 55-year-old doctor could face up to 7 years behind bars.

According to an affidavit, Dimowo provided prescriptions that fueled patients’ addictions. He wrote 37 new prescriptions a day, on average. After The Times wrote about him in 2012, authorities investigated complaints by the Medical Board of California – supported by pharmacists and family members of patients.

But there was not enough evidence to hold him liable.

If you are a doctor who’s been charged with a Los Angeles prescription drug crime — or if you are a friend or family member of a doctor, dentist, or other caregiver who’s been accused of Los Angeles Medicare fraud, insurance fraud, or similar crimes — Dimowo’s case can be illuminating. Despite all the accusations, “the evidence didn’t leave a direct path,” according to Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney, John Niedermann.

As we saw with the much more high profile case of Michael Jackson’s physician – who was convicted of criminal behavior in connection with the King of Pop’s death in 2009 – a doctor CAN be held criminally liable, in the event that a patient suffers serious harm or death.

But the prosecution can have a tough, complex road to hoe.

Let’s say a patient dies after ingesting Vicodin or Xanax. Did the patient have a pre-existing condition that made him or her susceptible to early mortality? Can the prosecution prove that the doctor failed to do due diligence? Did the patient mix the prescription drugs with street drugs?

The prosecution must answer a whole host of questions and objections to win a case like this.

So what does this mean if you or a loved one faces Los Angeles drug crime charges or other Southern California white collar crime charges?

As soon as possible, within reason, start to investigate your charges and construct an informed defense strategy. Former prosecutor (Senior Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles) Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers can help you with this challenge.

Mr. Kraut served for nearly a decade and a half as prosecutor; he understands how to fight and succeed in complex drug crime cases.

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In these harsh economic times California and cities throughout the State are trying to find new ventures to tax. As we all know, taxes mean increased city services. However, most people do not want to pay more income taxes. Legislators and community activists have put their heads together and come up with a new way to raise money without much complaining.

The Oakland City Council put a measure on the ballot to tax legalized medical marijuana. The measure passed by over 80% of the vote. The measure allows for a 1.8% tax on the receipts for the City’s licensed cooperatives.

Medical marijuana became legal under proposition 215 and since then, the Federal government has agreed not to prosecute individuals who fully comply with State laws in California. The Los Angeles medical marijuana defense attorney who gives consultations on how to comply with State laws for the legal use of medical marijuana is able to assist his clients from becoming criminally charges because they violate the law.

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United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Federal law enforcement will no longer target medical marijuana dispensaries in California that operate legally. That means that Los Angeles and Southern California medical marijuana defense attorneys will have an upper edge. For the first time in the history of the United States, Federal laws are no longer going to be used to prosecute a drug crime. President Obama announced during his campaign that medical marijuana prosecutions would no longer be a priority under his administration.

The new policy has a direct effect on the 13 states that have legalized marijuana laws. Of those 13, only California allows for medical marijuana dispensaries operate legally. Until now, the Feds have not acknowledged the existence of Proposition 215 enacted by the citizens of California in 1996. Also called the Compassionate Use Act, Prop 215, allows for those with a medical need to have a doctor “recommend” the use of marijuana to relieve symptoms.

Under the newly announced policy, the Federal Government will no longer target those individuals that do not violate state laws on marijuana. In order for a dispensary to be legal under California law, and thus immune from Federal prosecution, they must comply with the California Attorney General August, 2008, announcement of compliance as well as other laws.

A dispensary must seek guidance from a Los Angeles based medical marijuana criminal defense attorney in order to make sure that they are not violate the law. If the dispensary can operate legally, then the Feds will leave them alone.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s position is that a medical marijuana dispensary must operate as a nonprofit cooperative. That means the marijuana must be grown by cooperative members to be sold without a profit to other cooperative members. Those members must all have a medical necessity for marijuana to treat their symptoms. The member must have a valid recommendation from a duly licensed doctor. The dispensary must be both licensed and pay taxes on its sales as well as provide security for the facility. There are dozens of other requirements that must be put in place prior to a person opening a legal dispensary.

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The Northern California city of Alameda has revoked the license of a medical marijuana dispensary which has operated lawfully for several months. The owner of the Purple Elephant contests the revocation and believes that he is being harassed. Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries will need to hire a Los Angeles Medical Marijuana defense attorney in order to keep the scrutiny of their legitimate business at bay from the Federal Government which has stated that it will fully prosecute those that sell marijuana.

The Alameda City Manager sent the revocation letter because she believed that the owner of the dispensary had failed to disclose the true nature of his business on the license application. Additionally, the City Manager claims that the owner of the Purple Elephant did not obtain the required zoning clearance for the dispensary before opening. The owner has sought an appeal of the revocation. While the appeal is pending, the dispensary is allowed to remain open.

It is important for those that frequent Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries, or Southern California medical marijuana dispensaries, that it is still legal to use medical pot pursuant to proposition 215. This section was codified under Health and Safety Code 11362.5. This section states that a person may use medical marijuana if they have a doctor’s recommendation that they have a medical condition. The code also states that a person may cultivate pot for their own personal consumption as long as they do not sell it. Even though it is still legal under State law, the Federal Government has stated that it will fully enforce the Federal laws in United States District Court. That means that people who use marijuana need to keep in contact with a Los Angeles medical marijuana attorney to protect their interests.

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As we see the beginning of a new President and Vice President for the United States, we will most likely see a new beginning for criminal prosecutions for Los Angeles DUIs and Southern California criminal law.

Already the new administration has claimed that there will be a clamp down on crime. The local administrations have also claimed that they will vigorously prosecute even minor offenses. It will not matter if you are arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, a Long Beach crime, a San Fernando robbery, or a Pasadena DUI, the police will be trying to enforce the law to the fullest. For that reason, it is important to hire a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who has the experience and knowledge to defend you.

The new emphasis on punishment for minor offenses is going to put regular citizens in a bad position. In the past, judges and prosecutors understood that there is a clear difference between people who are law abiding but who make a mistake, and those who a repeat offenders. Now, even minor offenses are going to punished more severely.

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I want to wish everyone in the Los Angeles and Southern California area who reads or is redirected to this Los Angeles and Southern California Criminal Defense Blog a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. This blog is now six months old and I am pleased that it seems to have helped so many people. I have received many comments from people around the area that they have been helped by the information here.

In an attempt to wrap it up for the year I want to make sure that people are safe for this holiday season. I also want those people people who get into a Los Angeles DUI that if they should be stopped by the police in at a Southern California DUI checkpoint, or by Los Angeles law enforcement, that a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney is available 24/7 to assist if you or a loved one.

Because Southern California DUIs are taken so seriously, you need to know your rights and responsibilities. Remember you do not need to take the Los Angeles Law Enforcement PAS test in the field. If you are stopped by the police make sure to be polite. If they ask you to take the Los Angeles field sobriety tests you must comply. But if they ask or demand that you take a PAS test you are allowed to refuse. It is the recommendation of this Los Angeles DUI defense attorney to refuse this test. It can only be used against you. If you blow a significant BAC then you will be arrested. If you are taken to the police station you will be offered a choice of the breath or blood test. The choice is yours. But try to delay the test as long as possible. The law requires that the blood test must be taken with a specific time. If it is not done within the allotted time then the results will be thrown out in court.

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The number of expungements being granted in Los Angeles and Southern California has significantly risen in recent years. Expungement is a legal word for cleaning up a criminal record. It appears that people charged with a Los Angeles DUI or other crime are now filing requests for expungements pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4 at a much higher rate then they have in the past. Why you might ask? Well in the past, criminal defendants were punished by the court and their criminal records became a part of who the person was from that time forward. Now-a-days, good upstanding people who had one or two convictions want to remain productive and not allow a conviction to ruin their life.

California courts have taken a new approach in handling these matters. The judges seem to realize that those people previously charged with a crime and having completed probation successfully are rehabilitated enough to clean up their criminal records.

If you wish to have your criminal record expunged, then you should contact a Los Angeles expungement lawyer. You will need to make sure that the attorney has experience in filing these motions and arguing them before a court. Often times the District Attorney in the courtroom will object to the expungement and it will take a capable lawyer to make the necessary legal arguments to convince a judge that you deserve the clearing of your record.

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The United States Coast Guard based out of Newport Beach, California made a gigantic seizure of marijuana off the coast of Southern California this past week. Government sources claim that the pot is worth over $32 million. That could be a lot of medical marijuana. However, the Government asserts that the 9,987-pound seizure off the coast of San Diego was for illegal purposes and was not destined to stock the shelves of medical marijuana dispensaries in California.

This is considered the be the largest marijuana seizure in the history of the Coast Guard in Southern California. Because the marijuana was seized in Mexican waters, the United States does not have jurisdiction to file criminal charges. If our Government in fact does file the criminal charges, then there are numerous defenses in a case of this type and the pilot of the boat should be looking to hire a Los Angeles and Southern California Marijuana defense attorney.

Apparently, the Coast Guard was on routine patrol when they spotted a boat about 100 miles off the coast acting in a suspicious manner. The trained eyes of the Government noticed that the ship was traveling very slow, until the sun began to go down and then the vessel sped up. This caused the Coast Guard to think that something was a miss. The fact that the boat did not use lights made them think the boat was a drug runner. The Coast Guard then tried to stop the vessel based upon their suspicion. Often times, the Government incorrectly stop individuals with out reasonable suspicion. Without the assistance of a top notch Southern California Marijuana defense attorney, individuals who would normally go free, are wrongfully convicted. That is why it is so important for anyone arrested or under investigation for a marijuana crime to immediately hire a Los Angeles pre-filing criminal defense attorney to protect their rights.

Then the chase was on. For over 3 miles the Coast Guard attempted to stop the vessel like a scene from Miami Vice, the captain began to through bails of pot over board.

The Coast Guard was prevented from pursuing the vessel in Mexican waters so they passed the information on to their counter parts int he Mexican Navy. While the Mexican Navy did their thing, the Coast Guard went back and picked up 136 bails of pot.

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