Tag Archives: cannabis

PSP is Denying Firearm Purchases for Medical Marijuana Card Holders, even after Governor Wolf stated that “We Won’t Take Guns Away”

Although Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently declared that “[w]e won’t take gun away” from medical marijuana users, the Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”) has not received the memo, as we have seen several instances where individuals who merely obtained a medical marijuana card – in the absence of actual use – have been denied by the PSP.

Specifically, starting in at least early December, the PSP began placing individuals who are medical marijuana licensees into “undetermined status,” when they attempted to purchase a firearm. If the individual challenged the determination through a Pennsylvania Instant Check System Challenge, the PSP responds that the basis is that the individual is a “Current Medical Marijuana Card Holder.”

PSP Marijuana Response

This obviously begs the question of how this information came into the possession of the PSP, since pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act, 35 P.S. § 10231.101, et seq., and more specifically, 35 P.S. § 10231.302, all patient applicant information is confidential and not subject to disclosure. Furthermore, the implementing regulation relating to the confidentiality provision, 28 Pa. Code § 1141.22,  explicitly states that “[t]he name or other personal identifying information of a patient … who applies for or is issued an identification card” is confidential and “will not otherwise be released to a person unless pursuant to court order.” As the application is submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, only the Department of Health should have access to this information, absent a court order.

As I am sure litigation will ensue, we just may find out, at some point, how the PSP obtained this confidential information.

If you or someone you know has had their right to keep and bear arms infringed, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.

 


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.

 

 

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Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

Governor Wolf passes new law allowing research into industrial hemp.

Pennsylvania has taken another step forward in legitimizing the production of Cannabis. In this instance, it’s industrial hemp. On July 19, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed a new law providing for industrial hemp research. House Bill No. 967, now Act 92 was approved by Governor Wolf and amends Title 3 (Agriculture) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for industrial hemp research; imposing powers and duties on the Department of Agriculture and the Legislative Reference Bureau; and imposing civil and criminal penalties.

Industrial hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. Industrial hemp was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. Industrial hemp can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.

Industrial hemp grows in a variety of climates and soil types, is naturally resistant to most pests, and grows very tightly spaced allowing it to outcompete most weeds. Industrial hemp is a natural substitute for cotton and wood fiber.

Under the law “Industrial hemp” is define as “the plant Cannabis sativa L and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 24 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3% on a 25 dry-weight basis. Both recreational marijuana and industrial hemp are derived from the Cannabis sativa plant but they are distinct strains with unique biochemical compositions and uses. Industrial hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects. Industrial hemp has absolutely no value as a recreational drug.

“William Penn himself was an advocate of hemp growth, and in 1683, one of the first laws passed by the General Assembly in Pennsylvania was a law to encourage every farmer to grow hemp,” said Governor Wolf.

The new law authorizes industrial hemp to be grown or cultivated by the Department of Agriculture or an institution of higher education for the purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program. The law authorizes the Department and/or institutions of higher education to begin cultivating hemp for research purposes, either by themselves or via independent contractors.

The new law is another step forward in creating new business opportunities for cannabis growers in Pennsylvania.

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FICG Files Comment in Opposition to ATF’s Proposed Changes to the 4473 Form

Today, Attorney Adam Kraut and Chief Counsel Joshua Prince of Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (“FICG®“), a division of Prince Law Offices, P.C., filed a Comment in Opposition to numerous changes that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives proposed to the 4473 Form.

FICG® raised a plethora of issues, including that ATF is the incorrect federal administrative agency for determinations of prohibition under 18 U.S.C. 922(g), that ATF cannot redefine a “fugitive from justice” in these proceedings, and issues relating to the certification statement. FICG® also requested that ATF revise the 4473 Form, consistent with the ATF Form 1 and Form 4, whereby it would include fields for fictitious entities, instead of requiring FFLs to draft and attach a fictitious entity form as required by 27 C.F.R. 478.124(g), for which, ATF provides no sample form.

Cannabis Industry Law Group (“CILG”), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., also filed a Comment in Opposition raising issue that 27 C.F.R. 478.11 already acknowledges that the use of physician prescribed controlled substances does not result in a prohibition, as well as that ATF is the incorrect federal administrative agency for determinations of prohibition under 18 U.S.C. 922(g). CILG’s stated purpose is to “protect, defend and assert the legal rights of businesses, professionals and individuals to operate lawful cannabis-related businesses and professions and to use cannabis medication without discrimination.”

It will be interesting to see how ATF responds to these and any other comments submitted.

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Filed under ATF, Firearms Law, News & Events

PENNSYLVANIA’S MEDICAL CANNABIS ACT

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives convenes on March 14, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. One of the items on the House Calendar is Senate Bill No. 3 (“SB3”). SB3 is a bipartisan bill providing for the medical use of cannabis in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. SB3 was introduced as a bi-partisan bill in the Pennsylvania Senate.   On May 12, 2015, Pennsylvania’s Senate passed SB3 by 40-7 vote with 2 Senators not voting (n/v).   SB3 was then referred to House Health Committee for consideration where it was then re-referred to the House Rules Committee for consideration. On November 18, 2015, the House Rules Committee voted 25-8 to report the bill as committed to the full House for consideration. On January 25, 2016, the House removed SB3 from consideration. House Majority Leader David Reed, R-Indiana, has chosen to bring SB3 up for a vote when the members of the house return to Harrisburg the week of March 14.   SB3 has the support of both conservatives and liberals in the General Assembly. Additionally, Governor Tom Wolf has already stated that he would sign a medical marijuana bill. While it is not automatic that Pennsylvania will have a state medical marijuana program as set forth in SB3, it is the closest the Pennsylvania General Assembly has come to passing a medical marijuana law.

From a patient perspective, SB3 limits medical marijuana use to individuals who have a specified “Qualified Medical Condition”.   Qualified Medical Conditions include: 1) Cancer; 2) Epilepsy and seizures; 3) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; 4) Cachexia/wasting syndrome; 5) Parkinson’s disease; 6) Traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome; 7) Multiple sclerosis; 8) Spinocerebellara Ataxia (SCA); 9) Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; 10) Severe fibromyalgia; 11) HIV/AIDS; 12) Glaucoma; 13) Chronic or Intractable pain; 14) Chrons disease; and 15) Diabetes.

Patients can only obtain medical marijuana from state licensed “Medical Cannabis Dispensers” as home cultivation is not allowed.   In comparison, 15 of the 23 States which have medical marijuana programs allow some sort of home cultivation. SB3 will also require patients to register with the department of health and obtain a medical access card. SB3 imposes a $100.00 application fee for a two year medical access card and $50.00 annual renewal fee. Additionally, SB3 restricts the form in which medical marijuana may be dispensed to oils, ointments, tinctures, liquids, gels, pills and similar substances. Smoking is not a method of dispensing allowed under SB3, typically the most economical and easiest method of intake for patients.

From the perspective of individuals seeking to grow, process or dispense medical marijuana, SB3 establishes a state licensing procedure. To obtain a license to be a “Medical Cannabis Grower” there is an initially licensee fee of $50,000.00 and an initial annual renewal fee of $5,000.00 for each year immediately following the year the license is issued. SB3 limits the amount of Medical Cannabis Grower licenses to 65 statewide. Both Medical Cannabis Processors and Medical Cannabis Dispensers must also pay an initially license fee of $50,000.00 and an initial annual renewal fee of $5,000.00 for each year immediately following the year the license was issued. Under SB3, Medical Cannabis Processor licenses are limited to 65 and Medical Cannabis Dispenser licenses are limited to 130. Employees will also be required to obtain an Occupational Permit to work at any licensed facilities.

The cost may not seem excessive but considering that marijuana remains classified as a schedule 1 drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, there is significant risk in paying $50,000 to obtain a license for a business venture that is still considered illegal under Federal Law. For that same reason, banks have generally been very reluctant to loan money to start a medical marijuana business. Any start up money will likely be from private investment limiting the number of individuals or groups who can afford the risk. The license fee is just the beginning as there will be many costs for any medical marijuana facility including: the building or fitting out of locations for growing, processing or dispensing; the implementing and maintaining of State protocols; the installment of State required theft security systems; and the screening, hiring and training of employees.

Additionally, the market is limited and tightly regulated under SB3. Medical marijuana may only be sold to registered patients with valid Medical Access Cards. Medical Cannabis Growers may only supply to Medical Cannabis Processors who in turn supply to Medical Cannabis Dispensers under SB3.

While it is inevitable that Pennsylvania will pass some sort of medical marijuana law, it does not mean that medical marijuana will be easy or cheap to grow or buy. The significant cost associated with SB3 will make it very difficult for the average mom and pop small business to start a medical marijuana business. Additionally, the cost of the medical marijuana is likely to be very high and I doubt it will be covered by medical insurance given it is still illegal under Federal Law. Patients may chose to take their chances and pay the cheaper costs associated with buying marijuana on the streets.   However, SB3 represents a start and there will be some opportunities for some eager businessman to get in on the ground floor.

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Filed under Business Law, Marijuana Law