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Cultivation of Marijuana Lawyers

Cultivation of Marijuana Laws: A Guide for Lawyers

Marijuana laws in the United States have undergone significant changes in recent years. Many states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, while it remains illegal at the federal level. This conflicting patchwork of laws has created complexity for lawyers advising clients on cannabis cultivation. This article provides an overview of key issues and developments in marijuana cultivation laws that lawyers should understand.

State Laws

While illegal federally, 37 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, and 19 of those states plus D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana as of November 2023. State laws regulating cultivation vary widely in terms of:

  • Approved medical conditions for access
  • Possession limits
  • Home cultivation rights
  • Commercial licensing programs

For example, Oklahoma has a relatively open-ended medical marijuana program allowing licensed patients to possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to six mature plants. In contrast, Minnesota’s medical marijuana program does not allow home cultivation, and only allows oils, pills and vapes to be sold in dispensaries.

Recreational marijuana states also take different approaches to regulating personal and commercial cultivation. California allows individuals to grow up to six plants at home, but gaining a commercial cultivation license involves a lengthy application process. Meanwhile, Vermont does not allow commercial sales, but adults can possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana.

Navigating Conflicting Laws

The conflict between federal prohibition and state legalization creates legal uncertainty for cannabis businesses. However, the Department of Justice has issued guidance directing federal prosecutors to focus enforcement on cases involving:

  • Distribution to minors
  • Revenue going to criminal enterprises
  • Diversion to states where marijuana remains illegal

The SAFE Banking Act, if passed, could also ease access to financial services for state-licensed marijuana businesses by preventing federal regulators from penalizing banks that serve them.

Lawyers advising clients on entering the marijuana industry should research the applicable state licensing requirements and also develop policies to ensure full legal compliance. It remains illegal to transport marijuana across state lines, even between two states with legal marijuana. Lawyers should counsel clients to closely track inventory and sales to avoid federal charges.

  1. Federal Trafficking Penalties, DEA
  2. Federal Trafficking Penalties, DEA
  3. Federal Trafficking Penalties, DEA
  4. Federal Trafficking Penalties, DEA
  5. DISA – Map of Marijuana Legality by State
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