On April 14, 2014, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed HB 881 and SB 923 into law, officially making MD the 21 st state with an effective medical marijuana program. While these new laws and regulations provide the framework and infrastructure for medical marijuana, cannabis entrepreneurs still face numerous obstacles. Fortunately, there are criminal law attorneys in Rockville who specialize in medical marijuana and can help you comply with Maryland’s complex marijuana regulations.
Medical Marijuana Regulation
MD’s medical marijuana program is regulated by the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commissions. The Commission is an independent group that functions within the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The 15-member committee oversees the implementation of the state’s medical marijuana program.
General Marijuana Provisions
HB 881 and SB 923 allow qualifying patients to possess up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana. The twin bills also establish the process by which patients can qualify for and obtain medical marijuana. There is no limit to the number of dispensaries that the Commission may license, so contact a marijuana lawyer if you are interested in setting up a dispensary in Rockville.
Qualifying Medical Condition
In order to qualify for legal protection under the new law, a patient must have a written recommendation from a qualified physician certifying the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana. A patient can qualify for medical marijuana if he or she suffers from a medical condition or treatment that causes wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe or persistent muscle spasms.
Medical marijuana can only be legally obtained in Maryland from a licensed dispensary or directly from one of the 15 licensed medical marijuana growers in the state. Beginning June 1, 2016, the Commissions may increase the number of licenses marijuana growers to meet demand. If you are interested in becoming a licensed cultivator, consult with a law firm in Rockville that specializes in medical marijuana law.
Marijuana legalization has opened the door to dynamic business opportunities. However, the requirements to become a licensed grower or dispensary operator are extremely strict, with good reason. If you’re considering launching a business for medical marijuana near Rockville, you should consult an attorney at law, especially if you have ever had criminal charges filed against you. When applying for a license, you will have to provide sets of legible fingerprints and personal information to the Director of the Central Repository so that a criminal background check may be conducted.
As you’ll learn by watching this video, it may be possible that the background check will reveal felony charges, even if the case was dismissed. This depends upon the extent of the background check. However, since the case was dismissed, it may not necessarily be held against you. It’s best to consult a lawyer for personalized legal guidance.
In 1951, federal laws were enacted that required offenders convicted of marijuana possession to serve a minimum sentence of two to 10 years and to pay a fine of up to $20,000. Today, the marijuana legalization movement continues to gain momentum with the addition of more states that allow it for medical uses or recreational purposes. The laws regarding medical marijuana near Rockville continue to evolve quickly. Entrepreneurs looking to cash in on the marijuana legalization movement should work with an attorney at law to become informed about the latest regulations.
Medical Marijuana Legalization
2014 was quite a year for marijuana policy reform in Maryland. Multiple bills concerning marijuana legalization were signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley, including two bills that allowed certain patients with qualifying medical conditions to obtain access to medical marijuana in a legal manner. Patients can apply for a medical marijuana card issued by the Medical Marijuana Commission and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Along with the application, patients must submit medical documentation of their qualifying condition and their physician must hold a special license to recommend medical marijuana.
Marijuana Possession Decriminalization
Along with legalizing medical marijuana, Maryland has now decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana with the passage of SB-364. Now, the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana is considered a civil, rather than a criminal offense. Before this bill was signed into law, offenders found guilty of possessing up to 10 grams of marijuana could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail and $500 in fines.
Possession Records Modification
Despite the changing climate in favor of marijuana policy reform, those who already had convictions of non-violent misdemeanors like marijuana possession may continue to face repercussions. The Second Chance Act was recently submitted to Governor Hogan’s desk. If signed into law, it would shield these non-violent criminal records from background checks requested by schools and potential employers. However, the applicant cannot take advantage of this until three years have passed after his or her sentence was served.
In the latest in a series of actions to advance marijuana legalization , Maryland lawmakers approved a bill regarding marijuana paraphernalia. This latest bill is a logical addition to last year’s law that decriminalized the possession of certain amounts of marijuana. Now, the possession of marijuana paraphernalia has also been decriminalized. Lawmakers noted that the bill was necessary to resolve a discrepancy; while marijuana possession is now considered a civil offense, paraphernalia possession was still a criminal offense. The approval of the bill by both the Senate and the House of Delegates is likely to be welcome news to those who seek to capitalize on the legalization of marijuana in Rockville by developing a marijuana business. In fact, prospective cannabusiness owners may wish to consult an attorney at law to determine how the bill might affect them.
In addition to decriminalizing the possession of marijuana paraphernalia, the bill fixes another flaw in last year’s bill. It establishes a maximum civil fine of $500 for those who are found to have used marijuana in a public place. In related news, another bill is making its way through the Maryland legislature. This bill would clarify the possession of small amounts of marijuana and it would establish penalties for using marijuana while driving.
The decision to begin a new business is one that should not be undertaken lightly. There are many things to consider such as, “What should I sell?” or “Who are my customers?” and, “How should I deliver my product or service to my customers?” Now consider the additional challenges if you were operating a business in a regulated industry where a federal, state, or local government determines whether you can even operate your business? Or how much of your product you can sell? Or how the services you offer are required to be delivered. These are some of the challenges facing new companies opening in the burgeoning world of Cannabis-related business and services. Before planning your cannabusiness, you should meet with an attorney near Rockville who can help you understand the business of medical marijuana in Maryland.
Although medical cannabis in Maryland is still in its infancy, there is already an astonishing amount of regulations for new Cannabis businesses and their patrons. Once the cultivation centers and dispensaries are operational, all Cannabis-related businesses and services must be in full compliance with existing rules, regulations, and procedures to remain operational. Naturally, a strong relationship with an attorney who is knowledgeable about Cannabis laws, regulations, practices, procedures, and trends will be vital to the long term success of the business.
Despite Maryland’s recent legislation permitting the cultivation and sale of medical Cannabis, it is still possible to run into legal trouble. Unlike other industries, if you are not in compliance with local, state, or federal law, you might be engaging in criminal conduct. As there is so much at stake when beginning a Cannabis business or service, including money, time, and lost opportunity, this is not the time to learn the industry. Rather, this is the time when experienced counsel with experience in all aspects of the Cannabis business will be helpful to guide your decisions and support your business as it grows.
New and prospective business owners operating a Cannabis-related business or service are not immune to the need for capital. Once you or your business receive a license to operate a business in the Cannabis industry, the need for capital will increase as your customer base increases. This need for capital may include a desire for a new location, a need for additional expertise, to hire employees, or to expand facilities. However, unlike most other businesses, you also face the daunting task of paying “sin-taxes” levied by the State, finding a bank that will accept your money, as well as writing off ordinary business expenses due to the federal prohibition on such practice under IRS Code Section 280E.
Attorney Mike Rothman was recently interviewed by NPR for a story about medical cannabis in Washington, DC.
Maryland took a huge step forward with the passing of the medical marijuana program, but there’s still a long way to go towards marijuana legalization. The stage has been set, and now the framework needs to be built to support a marijuana industry in Maryland. For example, the state needs to determine where to grow marijuana and the criteria for applicants. Watch this video from ABC 2 News to learn more about the next steps in regulating marijuana in MD.
If you are getting into the medical marijuana field, work with a marijuana lawyer in Rockville to ensure compliance with Maryland’s medical cannabis laws. An experienced lawyer can keep you up-to-date regarding national guidelines and statewide laws to keep your legal marijuana dispensary open and out of legal trouble.
Maryland’s medical marijuana laws changed in 2014 when Governor Martin O’Malley signed House Bill 881 into law. Under the new laws, licensed cannabis dispensaries can provide qualifying patients with medical marijuana as an alternative treatment without concern about fines or other legal consequences. A medical marijuana lawyer in Rockville can help you set up a legal dispensary and sell cannabis to qualifying patients. The requirements for receiving medical marijuana in Maryland include:
Only Maryland residents are eligible to purchase medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries in the state. In addition to presenting a valid medical marijuana card, patients must also provide proof of Maryland residency. Acceptable proofs of residency include a driver’s license or other state-issued identification card, a passport, a utility bill, or a bank statement.
Maryland marijuana patients must possess a documented condition that has been clearly outlined by the Medical Marijuana Commission and Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s list of qualifying conditions. Qualifying conditions include cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, severe nausea, chronic pain, and epilepsy.
Application for Marijuana Card
An individual will need to submit an official application for a medical marijuana card to Maryland’s medical marijuana program. Legitimate medical records and written certification from a doctor must accompany the application as proof of a qualifying condition. Medical marijuana cards are issued by the Medical Marijuana Commission and Department of Health & Mental Hygiene after the application it approved and processed.
If you need help complying with Maryland’s complex marijuana regulations, contact a law firm in Rockville that specializes in providing counsel on medical cannabis in the state. A criminal law attorney can also help you in the event that you unknowingly sell cannabis to anyone with an invalid marijuana card.
If you’re facing legal troubles and seeking legal representation, make sure you are prepared for your first meeting with a lawyer in Rockville . Being unprepared can be a waste of time for both you and the lawyer, and it may even have an impact on the outcome of your case. In addition to basic contact information, you’ll want to provide your lawyer with a chronological summary of the facts in your case. Also make sure to bring any documents that relate to your legal matter, include contracts, photographs, accident reports, witness statements, and correspondences. Even if you don’t believe a document to be important, your criminal defense lawyer may find it incredibly valuable in mounting your legal defense.
It can also be helpful to prepare a list of goals that you want the lawyer to help you achieve. If you have any questions about what you should bring, call the defense attorney prior to your initial consultation.
Being arrested for drunk driving in Maryland can have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. Even first-time offenses can carry steep fines and prison time if convicted, so contact an experienced and aggressive DUI lawyer in Rockville if you have been charged with driving under the influence. To help you know where you stand, here’s a look at the different charges and penalties under Maryland law.
DUI vs. DWI
Driving under the influence (DUI) is the top alcohol infraction, and it means that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) posted at a level of 0.08% or higher. People who end up on the lower end of the BAC spectrum but fail on a field sobriety test (administered by a police officer) are charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). In defending against a DUI or DWI, your criminal defense lawyer will analyze the results of field sobriety tests and/or chemical tests to find weaknesses in the case against you. Your lawyer will use these findings to negotiate down during sentencing or have your case dismissed entirely.
First offense DUI carries administrative license suspension penalties of six months. Reinstatement will require completion of an alcohol/substance abuse treatment program. An ignition interlock device may be mandated at the discretion of the courts upon reinstatement. First-time offenders also face incarceration for up to one year, with enhanced penalties of up to two years if transporting a minor at time of arrest. Fines and penalties for a DUI conviction amount to $1,000 for a first offense and are significantly higher for second and third offenses. A third offense also carries jail time of up to three years.
An experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney in Rockville can help you avoid the most serious consequences of a drunk driving conviction. Schedule your initial consultation as soon as possible after arrest to give your lawyer ample time to formulate an effective defense strategy.