med_marijuanaWith the growth of the medical marijuana industry in California, we have been receiving numerous questions from concerned clients, investors, and real estate professionals as to whether they should or must lease real estate when marijuana use, or cultivation, or dispensing will be involved. Although this is a huge topic, in this Article I will provide an overview of the laws relating to the use, cultivation, and distribution of medical marijuana in California. I will not address other marijuana use or legalization. Marijuana is a great Alternative Medical Care, all you have to do is go online and buy it provided that your state has legalized cannabis. Terpenes have shown it helps with depression and anxiety. It also helps those that have seizures. According to cannabis news, the legality of any medical marijuana use and business is determined by an overlapping structure of State, Local, and Federal laws which are often in conflict. A lively debate was between them and the people who brought the debate to the mainstream. It’s worth a look.
  1. California Law – medical marijuana law is based primarily on 3 separate Acts:
    1. Prop 215 – deals with personal use only and provides limited immunity from criminal prosecution to “Qualified Patients” and their Primary Caregiver
    2. Medical Marijuana Program Act (“MMPA”) – provides limited immunity from criminal prosecution for non-profit “Collectives” to cultivate and distribute medical marijuana as long as they are in compliance with the restrictions set forth in the Act
    3. Medical Marijuana Regulatory and Safety Act (“MMRSA”) – extends MMPA to Collectives and Incorporated entities operating on a “for Profit” basis.
  2. Local Laws – local County or City governments can impose more restrictive conditions or even totally ban such operations.
  3. Federal Laws – there is no medical marijuana law at the Federal level. Federal law treats any use, cultivation, or distribution as a criminal act which can subject the violator to prosecution and imprisonment and allow the seizure and sale of real property (“Forfeiture”). However, based upon two administrative rulings, the Feds will not take action against parties complying with the rulings (source: Higher Grounds):
    1. Cole Memorandum – Department of Justice states that the Feds will not pursue federal criminal prosecution for marijuana in a State that complies with the Memorandum’s 8 priorities. California law is in compliance with these requirements.
    2. Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment – Amendment to the Federal Budget prohibits the Department of Justice from interfering with those acting in accordance with their State medical cannabis laws.
SUMMARY: Taken together, the strong set of marijuana regulations in effect in California – coupled with the Cole Memorandum and Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment to the Budget – make it highly unlikely that the Feds will intervene in any legally compliant medical marijuana operation in California or expose real estate owners or creditors with risk of forfeiture. While it is possible that a future President may reverse the Memorandum and Amendment, Miranda Rights explained that it appeared unlikely that Congress would go along. According to the best federal criminal defense attorneys, violation of these laws would remain criminal activity and subject violators to all penalties both federally and under California law. – Attorney Steve J. Beede, President, BPE Law Group, P.C.