Duane Morris’ Seth Goldberg will be presenting at the 24th Annual Health Law Institute in Philadelphia on March 13-14, 2018.
Seth’s presentation, “The Regulation of Medical Marijuana Under Federal and Pennsylvania Law,” will take place on Wednesday, March 14 after 3:35 p.m.
The Health Law Institute delivers important new content over the course of various presentations. The Institute provides a place for you to learn more about the developments and practice challenges within health law-ranging from over 48 different topics. This is a great way to explore what is happening in terms of health law issues and network with over 400 health law professionals.
For more information and to register, please visit the event website.
Just one week after the DEA and FDA reiterated the federal government’s willingness to allow broader research into the health benefits of cannabis, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision barring the DOJ from using federal funds to prosecute individuals and businesses conducting activities in compliance with state medical cannabis laws and regulations.
In U.S. v. McIntosh, No. 15-10117, (9th Cir. 2016), the Court determined that a rider (§ 542) to the appropriations act that funded the government through September 30, 2015, which provided that funds made available under that act could not be used “to prevent  States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession. of cultivation of medical marijuana,” was to be read as prohibiting the federal government from prosecuting individuals and businesses acting pursuant to those state laws and regulations because such prosecution would effectively prevent the states from implementing their cannabis laws and regulations.
As the Court explained, “DOJ, without taking any legal action against the Medical Marijuana States, prevents them from implementing their laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana by prosecuting individuals for use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana that is authorized by such laws. By officially permitting certain conduct, state law provides for nonprosecution of individuals who engage in such conduct. If the federal government prosecutes such individuals, it has prevented the state from giving practical effect to its law.”
The Court was also careful to warn industry participants that cannabis-related conduct falling outside a state’s cannabis laws and regulations would not be protected from federal prosecution: “We conclude that § 542 prohibits the federal government only from preventing the implementation of those specific rules of state law that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. DOJ does not prevent the implementation of rules authorizing conduct when it prosecutes individuals who engage in conduct unauthorized under state medical marijuana laws. Individuals who do not strictly comply with all state-law conditions regarding the use, distribution, possession, and cultivation of medical marijuana have engaged in conduct that is unauthorized, and prosecuting such individuals does not violate § 542.”
On January 26, 2015, in a bipartisan effort, Pennsylvania senators Mike Folmer (R) and Daylin Leach (D) reintroduced to the General Assembly of Pennsylvania a bill (Senate Bill No. 3) providing for the medical use of cannabis in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Senate Bill No. 3 comprises a comprehensive set of regulations that include (1) licensing and administrative procedures for growers, processors, dispensers, patients and health care professionals; (2) enforcement and penalties; and (3) fees and surcharges.
Recent comments by Pennsylvania’s newly inaugurated Governor, Tom Wolf, and last year’s passage by the PA Senate of a similar bill (Senate Bill No. 1182) by a 43-7 vote, suggest that Pennsylvania may be one of the states (the recent trend suggests there will be others) that enacts Medical Marijuana legislation in 2015. As Governor Wolf stated on the same day that Senate Bill No. 3 was introduced, “I commend the bipartisan effort to allow Pennsylvania doctors to prescribe medical marijuana… We should not deny a physician’s ability to recommend medical marijuana treatment for Pennsylvanians suffering from seizures, those affected by PTSD, cancer patients affected by chemotherapy, and Pennsylvanians suffering from many other ailments and conditions that could benefit from this effective, doctor-prescribed treatment.”
Continue reading “Pennsylvania Could Enact Medical Marijuana Legislation In 2015”
Duane Morris partners Philip Lebowitz and Seth Goldberg published an article in The Legal Intelligencer describing the ethical dilemmas faced by lawyers who have clients who may embark on business ventures that involve medical marijuana in Pennsylvania and other jurisdictions where the law and the norms are still being formulated. You can read the full text on the Duane Morris website.