Margolin & Lawrence Video History

  • Where can marijuana be? Attorneys Allison Margolin & Stewart Richlin tackle this existential question in 90 seconds with a discussion on zoning law and sensitive use restrictions. #wherecanmarijuanabe
  • Federal & State Marijuana Law in 9 mins w/ Allison Margolin

0:00 so with that I’m going to pass the torch
0:01 to the next speaker hi everyone so I was
0:05 originally going to do criminal
0:06 development for prop 64 but I think we
0:09 should kind of shake it up a little
0:10 because we’ve heard a lot about
0:12 cannabis regulations so I kind of want
0:15 to talk to you I guess a little about my
0:16 experience kind of in the trenches of
0:18 the war against marijuana which we’re
0:21 just coming out of actually surprisingly
0:23 in the courts and what you need to look
0:26 out for as a practitioner considering
0:29 that it’s still violation of federal law
0:30 to be involved marijuana activities so
0:34 you heard a little bit about the
0:35 beginnings of cannabis law in
0:37 California it started in 1996 with The
0:39 Compassionate Use Act and in the
0:42 beginning we basically had laws that
0:45 immunize certain types of conduct from
0:47 criminal sanctions on the beginning
0:49 there was an initiative it’s that you
0:50 can grow your own marijuana or you can
0:53 grow as a caregiver for others but that
0:55 was a very limited concept which means
0:58 like you could grow marijuana for
0:59 someone who had an extreme medical
1:01 condition where you have to actually do
1:02 caregiving for that person and that kind
1:05 of prohibited the idea of these
1:07 mainstream dispensary type stores that’s
1:09 more convenient obviously so because
1:11 there was a need for dispensaries the
1:13 legislature actually passed the first
1:14 marijuana sales legislation not just
1:16 recently but in 2004 and that was also
1:20 this kind of immunity type of claws and
1:23 a basically said certain conduct again
1:24 was immunized including marijuana
1:26 sales marijuana transportation any other
1:30 kind of marijuana conduct would be
1:32 immunized if qualified patients
1:34 collectively associated to cultivate
1:38 marijuana now it also has this other
1:40 clause in the law that says this must be
1:42 done and not-for-profit basis now you’ve
1:46 heard that this kind of requires a
1:47 non-profit well that’s actually not
1:49 really true when you litigate these
1:51 criminal cases let me tell you two kinds
1:53 of advice one is like a criminal defense
1:54 advice and then one is like a pro active
1:56 device when you’re dealing with people
1:57 who are trying to comply but at a
2:00 criminal defense attorney the law until
2:02 january first 2019 is still that
2:05 patients who collectively associate as
2:07 long as they’re doing it a
2:08 non-for-profit basis may have immunities
2:11 and what does that mean in practice well
2:13 I mean it can mean like you have a
2:15 client this is like an example of a case
2:16 I actually went to trial on and we
2:18 ultimately won a guy with a bunch of
2:19 weed on his body and in his car there’s
2:22 a search warrant executed he has text
2:24 messages to friends that have some of
2:27 whom I have recommendations saying like
2:29 you know can I get a bud can I get an
2:32 eighth okay so even so that kind of
2:35 scenario you would think like how do you
2:37 have a defense but actually what’s
2:38 awesome is because of the way that the
2:40 medical marijuana law was written and
2:42 this is a health and safety code 11 360
2:44 2.7 75 is still there is very vague even
2:48 though the AG guidelines say you have to
2:50 have a corporation when you look at the
2:53 california crim which is the during
2:54 instructions for this that we finally
2:56 got in 2015 it says that it has to be
3:00 non for profit when you have like a few
3:01 people you’re selling to that doesn’t
3:03 mean you necessarily have to have an odd
3:04 for-profit corporation what it means
3:06 that you have to somehow frame your
3:08 activity into marijuana sales that
3:11 result in a person who’s operator having
3:13 a salary that’s based on overhead costs
3:16 and operating expenses but on a criminal
3:18 level it’s been really fabulous we’ve
3:21 been able to basically get people off of
3:22 felonies until top 64 for many years
3:26 based on the vagueness of the law now
3:28 what strange is that the reason that the
3:30 law was weird in Vegas only immunized
3:33 conduct is because we have this federal
3:35 law called the Controlled Substances Act
3:36 it says that regulating marijuana is
3:39 actually illegal okay this is very
3:42 strange because now we know in the
3:43 context of the country we have many
3:45 states are now regulating marijuana well
3:48 although that is the law of the land the
3:51 Obama administration throughout this
3:52 memo that was discussed as said that
3:54 basically if people have robust
3:56 legalization systems synthesized will
3:58 generally stay away so this is very
4:00 strange as a lawyer because you know
4:02 previously first of all a violation of
4:05 federal law makes it less likely are
4:07 going to be prosecuted that’s very odd
4:09 but that is what the that was with the
4:12 Cole memo said now did that men will
4:14 prevent the DEA from further doing
4:17 anything not really and did it prevent
4:19 us attorneys from prosecuting people
4:20 know but for the last two years we’ve
4:22 had this thing called a Rohrabacher Fahrr amendment
4:24 that says that
4:27 the DEA can’t use funds to medical
4:29 marijuana States now does that stop the
4:32 DEA well we have to understand is that
4:34 this is like bureaucratic politics it’s
4:36 way beyond what’s the right thing to do
4:38 should marijuana be legalized we’ve had
4:40 since nineteen like 68 huge bureaucracy
4:43 and law enforcement that’s been set up
4:45 to deal with marijuana offenses other
4:48 drug offenses half the federal prisons
4:50 are still drug offenses so even though
4:54 we have this memo we have this amendment
4:57 the DEA and US Attorney’s can still file
4:59 cases us heard a little bit about the
5:02 US v. McIntosh case and that is a
5:04 good case in the Ninth Circuit that says
5:06 if you’re in strict compliance with
5:08 California law you have the right to an
5:11 evidentiary hearing in federal court now
5:13 that sounds awesome of course no one
5:15 ever has successfully has this
5:17 evidentiary hearing yet so it sounds
5:19 great but the reality is and I don’t
5:23 want to be like scaring people because
5:24 there’s been very few federal
5:25 prosecutions over the last few years
5:26 however the reality is that you’d be or
5:28 your client could be in a position where
5:30 they’re fighting a federal case that’s
5:31 10 years to life which is usually what
5:33 federal cases are and ok so they have a
5:36 medical marijuana defense possibly which
5:39 we don’t even know what that would mean
5:40 and what it says in the federal court is
5:42 that strict compliance is what you have
5:44 a defense for but then we’re going to
5:46 get into the issues i’m kind of going to
5:48 discuss like what are the issues in the
5:49 future well what does it mean to be
5:50 strictly complying well the district
5:53 attorneys in California from 2004
5:55 through even like currently they think
5:58 you can’t even sell marijuana in
6:00 California they their position is that
6:03 all sales are illegal and the federal
6:05 government has also taken that da
6:07 positioned when they’re litigating these
6:09 map closed Macintosh cases they’re
6:11 saying well you left they’re taking the
6:13 positions at the DA’s took for many
6:14 years litigating these cases that there
6:17 really aren’t sales allowed that you
6:18 have to be a caregiver so when we think
6:20 about yeah there’s a federal defense but
6:22 when you get into federal court and you
6:24 have US attorneys arguing whether you
6:26 have a defense they’re going to take a
6:27 very narrow view of things so it’s in
6:29that context that we now have these
6:32 massive changes in criminal law relating
6:34 to marijuana and this regulatory system
6:35 and
6:37 the basic changes in criminal law from
6:39 prop 64 has been that all marijuana
6:41 offenses in the state are now
6:42 misdemeanors unless the marijuana is
6:45 being distributed out of state and/or
6:47 the person has a super strike which is
6:50 like a murder or arson something very
6:53 serious case or they have a 296
6:55 registration and if you have any of
6:57 those categories and it’s still a
6:58 wobbler meaning a felony or misdemeanor
7:00 so this is obviously great news for like
7:03 the random marijuana grower or
7:04 transporter that is doing it even you
7:08 know in this weird grades oh that many
7:09 of the speakers have already talked
7:10 about that now it’s a misdemeanor
7:12 offense versus a felony another great
7:14 change has happened is that the smell of
7:15 marijuana is no longer probable cause so
7:18 that’s part of pop 64 that started
7:21 November 8 2016 and that yeah very
7:24 exciting and that’s I think a way that I
7:26 think the the government will you know
7:27 not have a chance to get into many
7:29 people’s lives so the state basically
7:32 has you know large part decriminalized
7:34 marijuana that’s a great thing but
7:36 because there’s still as this federal
7:38 bureaucracy and the DEA out there that
7:40 actually if this appropriations writer
7:43 doesn’t get continued then any activity
7:45 that we do now can be enforceable fits
7:47 within the statute of limitations so
7:49 that’s also something to note about
7:50 McIntosh that let’s say that next week
7:52 they don’t continue the Appropriations
7:54 rider then any conduct that we do like
7:59 even within the statute of limitations
8:01 can be prosecuted when there’s no writer
8:03 so it’s just something to be very aware
8:05 of when you’re you know dealing with
8:07 marijuana cases I would say that
8:09 whenever you have a conversation with a
8:10 potential new client you should treat
8:13 them as if they’re a basically a DEA
8:14 agent I mean I know a lot of people
8:16 might think I’m paranoid but that’s the
8:18 way you should handle it so I’m happy to
8:20 take any questions afterwards and we’ll
8:22 hear from one of my opponents
8:26 [Applause]

  • Go Ask Allison, Ep. 1 Intro: Prop 64, CA med. cannabis law overview
    Attorney Allison Margolin on the new California cannabis laws, the history of marijuana law in California and answers to your specific questions about prop 64, dispensaries, local zoning regulations, and personal use.

0:04 hi this is attorney Alison Margolin
0:07 and this is my youtube show called Go Ask
0:10 Alison which is something that I’ve been
0:12 working since maybe I was 19
0:16 years old because all humans in the
0:19 whole history of society have used marijuana
0:26 [Music]
0:29 well now is legal in California
0:48 because as of January 1, 2018 the state is
0:53 going to start issuing licenses and so it’s going to
0:55 take about a year before people are able
0:56 to fully acquire them and they
0:58 have the same defense than that they do
1:01 now which is that if you’re a marijuana
1:04 patient and your associate other
1:05 patients in a not-for-profit basis you
1:07 have a sense of state for only federal
1:10 court well basically you are a legal
1:18 under the zoning law if you don’t have a
1:20 license right now another state law you
1:22 have a defense until January 1, 2019
1:24 if you’re a non-profit or
1:26 operating on profit and you’re
1:28 associating with other patients only the
There’s a
1:33 lot of places doing
1:34 like a prop 64 special like
1:36 dispensing and that still a misdemeanor
1:39 offense under state law and moreover in
1:41 places where your dispensary is violating local zoning I
1:44 believe with the federal government
1:44 would say for violating that would
1:4 6not be in strict compliance with state law
1:52 proportional to be time for me to
1:54 somewhere just beginning of the
1:56 presentation of a thinking there’s
1:58 something about marijuana I think that’s
2:00 very not anarchic but something that’s
2:02 not corporate something that is
2:05 anti-government. you can grow
2:07 yourself and use and you don’t really
2:09 need anybody the process that’s not
2:10 really like even alcohol which you
2:12 can make out for in your bathtub but
2:13 even that you can die if you do it wrong and
2:16 with marijuana that is not the case. when I
2:18 started practicing was was out to the
2:20 beginning of the new wave the fact it
2:23 was a system like a hippie generation
2:25 you know and that kind of conversation
2:27 there’s all these things that I think
2:28 that are behind people not wanting to
2:30 come out down but I’m doing this and
2:32 that’s why things have taken a long time
2:34 to change you know from 1960 through like
2:38 2002 around was kind of part of the
2:40 stark draconian era that saw many people
2:42 being imprisoned for drugs in a 2000 for
2:45 the sales and medical cannabis became
2:47 labels I said like 10 years fighting
2:50 DA’s on that interpretation I’m saying
2:53 that you couldn’t sell marijuana unless
2:54 you quote like put your fingers in the
2:57 dirt. they said you had to actually be
2:58 be cultivating not just purchasing
3:01 cannabis the store so I spent a long
3:02 time kind of fighting with DAs to see our interpretations
3:04 and fortunately usually
3:06 succeeding but having to have a lot of crazy dog fights along the way
3:14 What is the inspiration for go ask allison?
3:18 the first inspiration is classic book go
3:21 ask alice by anonymous which is this
3:23 very lurid tale but like somehow
3:25 exciting to us as kids. It’s a story of drugs in
3:28 the big city many of us found to
3:31 be kind of somehow interesting a
3:33 bohemian and was also the name of my health
3:36 services at Columbia. The idea was that it was harm reduction based
3:39 which is a process that I advocate which
3:41 is the idea that instead of moving to an
3:45 advocate of the evolution of drugs that
3:47 society would figure out how to reduce
3:49 the harm from drugs
3:53 you

Video History


  • TBT 2006 – Allison’s first YouTube — On being a marijuana lawyer in the mid-2000s, and one of her cases defending an MMJ patient collective.
  • 2011 – Wisdom Organics Legal Panel on Marijuana Law – Attorneys discuss legal issues in the next marijuana reform legislation. Featuring Chris Conrad, Hanna Dershowitz, Matt Kumin, Allison Margolin, Bill Panzer, Robert Raich.
  • 2012 – Al and Raza’s early days. In front of the Courthouse discussing the current state of marijuana law and their views on the war on drugs and defending medical marijuana patients from prosecution.
  • 2012 – Allison Margolin, marijuana criminal defense attorney, on LegalEaseTV
  • 2013 – Raza interviewed on Federal Marijuana Law.
  • 2014 – Allison on the Lip TV discussing marijuana ballot initiatives and marijuana law in California.
  • 2015 – Raza on the War on Drugs and medical marijuana law in California in both state and Federal court.
  • 2015 – Criminalizing your Consciousness. Med. marijuana attorney Allison Margolin on the criminalization of marijuana