So I've been predicting that the Trump administration would crack down on legalized marijuana, and when I said that on NPR I was accused of being a fear-mongerer. Wednesday I spoke to a group of law students about legalized marijuana and how it affects employment law, and the first thing I said is that lawyers should beware representing marijuana dispensaries because a crackdown was coming from the feds.
Alarmist? Maybe not. Because yesterday the White House announced a crackdown on marijuana use. I'm rarely proven right this quickly, so thanks? Our new Attorney General has made it clear that he is very, very anti-marijuana. What does this mean for states with legalized marijuana and legalized medical marijuana?
The announcement seemed to indicate that the first crackdown would be in states with legalized marijuana for recreational use. That means you can expect the jackbooted thugs to start raiding marijuana dispensaries in those states, getting lists of customers, and then arresting those customers. I have been predicting that anyone involved in the marijuana industry will start being charged with conspiracy, and that includes lawyers.
Once they bust the recreational users, it's just a matter of time before they go after those medical marijuana cardholders. If you have a disability and are using prescribed marijuana to give you relief from your horrific symptoms, beware. Once they start busting recreational users, I suggest finding alternatives and not getting caught holding the bag (see how I did that?) with even prescribed marijuana.
As for lawyers advising the industry, you are not only risking your license but your freedom. I recommend caution all around.
Not only does the administration have an incentive to bust pot smokers to bolster the private prison industry (read: indentured servitude for big corporations), but getting busted can mean forfeiture of your property with very little right to due process, so when the administration bankrupts the country (yes, I said it, and you can bank on it the way we are headed) they will be desperate for funds to bolster the failing economy.
There are very few protections already for employees who use medical marijuana legally. Now there is even more reason to be cautious before filling that prescription.
Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.