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Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Business of Marijuana

There was an article in the Charlotte Observer today about the legalization of marijuana. According to the article, the business of selling marijuana has turned into a corporate business, with successful trade show circuits, internet marketing, coupon incentives and health centers opening in states where marijuana has been legalized for medicinal purposes.

As a former Deputy District Attorney from California and now a criminal defense attorney practicing in the Charlotte area, I have seen thousands of cases in the criminal system involving marijuana. California is one of fourteen states that legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. North Carolina has not.

While the intent of this law is to help those in pain, it creates more of a bottleneck in the court system. I saw criminal defense attorneys coming to court with highly questionable 'prescriptions' from 'health centers' in the local area. I saw many defendants charged with possession of marijuana arrive at court, unrepresented by a criminal attorney, with a certificate from a 'medical professional' who told them that this piece of paper allowed them to smoke marijuana. The District Attorney's Office had a policy that required medical documentation from a licensed medical professional before these cases were dismissed. I saw many individuals receive incorrect legal advice from people in the community trying to make a business out of marijuana. It raises the question whether the legalization of marijuana creates unintended abuse.

If you are charged with any drug offense in Mecklenburg or the greater Charlotte area, always seek legal advice from a criminal defense attorney.

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posted by Carilyn Ibsen at

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