Why Maryland Cannabis Businesses, Lawyers Aren't Worried About DOJ Changes
Emily Burned Featured in the Baltimore Business Journal
Morgan Eichensehr Reporter, Baltimore Business Journal
Attorneys and businesses owners involved in Maryland's medical marijuana industry do not think the Department of Justice's recent anti-legalization moves will have any real effect on the state.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last Thursday his decision to rescind Obama-era policies that essentially permitted state-based marijuana legalization without federal interference. It was a move that Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said could cause fear and disruption in nascent marijuana industries across the country, as technically federal law — which still holds that the possession, use and sale of marijuana is illegal — trumps any state legalization measure.
Emily Burns, an attorney with Offit Kurman's Cannabis Law Practice, said in fact, Sessions's decision doesn't really change things in any concrete way. Technically, she pointed out, the Obama administration's policies never provided any true legal protection and federal prosecutors have always been free to pursue charges for marijuana law violations if they so chose. But medical marijuana states, like Maryland, do have a little extra legal protection, Burns said.
A provision called the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, now called Rohrabacher-Blumenauer, which was passed in 2014 prohibits the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent states from implementing medical marijuana laws. The amendment has been renewed in budget votes each year since its passing, and is up for renewal again this month.
ABOUT EMILY BURNS
Emily became passionate about pursuing a legal career in the cannabis industry while attending Vanderbilt Law School, as she had the opportunity to enroll in one of the nation's first Marijuana Law and Policy courses, taught by leading marijuana law and policy scholar, Professor Robert Mikos. Emily soon began assisting Professor Mikos with writing a first-of-its-kind casebook entitled Marijuana Law, Policy, and Authority, acquiring in-depth knowledge of the various state regulations governing cannabis consumers, producers, and other third parties. In addition to having expert knowledge of the complex legal issues presented by conflicting federal-state marijuana laws, Emily is also involved in marijuana policy reform efforts at the federal level. By incorporating her knowledge of marijuana policy with her understanding of the legal and regulatory environment, Emily is able to anticipate and identify potential legal concerns ex-ante.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. With over 140 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our eleven offices serve individual and corporate clients in the Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City regions. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.
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