New Laws Could Provide Hope For Ending DEA Raids
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 09/19/2012 in Medical Marijuana Laws
Since the late months of 2011, hundreds upon hundreds of letters have been sent out by the United States Department of Justice to landlords throughout the state of California who either rent or lease property that pays homage to some of California’s medical marijuana dispensaries. As a direct result of the issuing of these letters, there has been an overwhelming wave of shutdowns of these facilities despite being authorized by California state law. It just goes to show that regardless of being protected by the state of California, these facilities are not immune to the crackdowns conducted by the Drug Enforcement Agency, best known as the DEA.
Ever since it’s approval by voters on November 5th, 1996, California’s famous Proposition 215, or California’s Compassionate Use Act, has permitted safe and discreet access to medical marijuana for individuals who receive a licensed and certified physician’s recommendation. Recently however, the Medical Marijuana Program Act had expanded its blanket of protection from criminal prosecution by defining presumptively legal quantities of mature plants or dried marijuana. Despite the outcries of advocates and patients alike for federal authorities to respect state laws, the DEA has continued it’s outrageous enforcement actions against the commercialization of medical marijuana in the state of California. The real question remains, when will a bill be presented to exercise these states’ rights?
Finally, several bills presented before Congress would ensure that any federal investigator or prosecutor allow citizens of states with progressive medical marijuana laws to exercise their legal rights. Even though these bills have not fare extremely well during a national election year, they are an early indication of bipartisan support to create a more clear states’ rights issue.
The first bill, House Bill 1983, otherwise known as the State’s Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, provides for the rescheduling of marijuana within the federal criminal code system strictly for the use of medical marijuana within accordance to various state laws. This means that marijuana would go from being classified as a Schedule I drug, which cannot be prescribed by any means, to a Schedule III drug, which would finally recognize it for it’s medicinal value.
The second bill, House Bill 1984, entitled the Small Business Banking Improvement Act, specifically includes a provision that would protect any financial institutions that accept deposits made by the owners or landlords of medical marijuana dispensaries. This bill would amend title 31 by providing an exception to Section 5318(g) wherein banks and other financial institutions will be permitted to provide services to medical marijuana businesses without being subject to “suspicious activity” reporting requirements. House Bill 1984 would put an end to the Bank Secrecy Act.
The third and final bill, House Bill 1985, The Small Business Tax Equity Act, would provide the amending of the IRS tax code and allowed businesses to deduct expenses that are associated with the selling or distribution of marijuana to patients for medical purposes that are authorized by state laws. This particular bill is designed to prevent any unnecessary audits of medical marijuana businesses by the IRS. House Bill 1985 would strike “no deduction” in the Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code. This act would also end any existing IRS audits underway against medical marijuana dispensaries.
All of the above mentioned bills completely highlight the fact that the DEA can disrupt the marijuana economy without directly taking on its most sympathetic participants, those being the individuals who use medical marijuana to treat their multiple sclerosis, unbearable side effects of chemotherapy and glaucoma. These are individuals who deserve the most compassion and the best of services offered through their respective state.