Marijuana laws in any state can be confusing. Just because a state has legalized marijuana, doesn’t mean that it’s legal in every instance, in every form, and/or in every amount. For instance Colorado allows home cultivation, whereas Washington doesn’t. Medical marijuana laws vary greatly from state to state. Marijuana business law can cause even more confusion. You need to hire the right attorney to help navigate the confusion.
If you get arrested for marijuana, do you want an attorney that knows the criminal law in your state inside and out, or do you want to rely on someone who usually handles wills and contracts? There’s a lot of different ways to defend your case, and you need someone with experience and knowledge, not someone who just simply knows where to find the relevant statutes. Some states have decriminalized marijuana, some have not. States have different penalties for different amounts. Some states have additional penalties for paraphernalia, or if the act was committed close to schools or public transit. Some states have different penalties for concentrated forms of marijuana, in addition to penalties for flower.
If you are a marijuana business owner, or prospective marijuana business owner, there’s a lot that you need to consider. The obvious question that you need to determine is ‘is your business even legal?’ This is a question that I have seen overlooked in Oregon for years and years now. People assume their business is legal, but if they would talk to a real marijuana attorney, they would find out that they are leaving themselves liable for all kinds of things, both in criminal and in civil court.
Moratoriums are hard to navigate, and are becoming more and more common to hinder the marijuana industry. The marijuana business law landscape is constantly evolving, and it’s hard to anticipate what could happen in the future. The right marijuana attorney can help with that. Doing things right up front, with the help of a qualified marijuana attorney, can save money on the back end.
I talked to a firm in California once that pointed out it costs about $5,000-10,000 to consult with their firm up front and get everything on solid ground. It costs $15,000-$100,000 if you have to have the firm represent you on criminal charges after the fact. It’s better to fork over the money ahead of time, especially considering that you will likely have no assets left after asset forfeiture takes all of your stuff during the criminal investigation.
Hiring the right attorney is very important. It can mean the difference between you losing everything and/or sitting in a jail cell, or being free and/or successful. It’s not something that you want to take lightly. I’m compiling a list of qualified attorneys in various states. If you are an attorney that specializes in marijuana law, feel free to e-mail TWB at firstname.lastname@example.org.