This is what every
person closely involved with Medical Cannabis Collective activities should ask
oneself because increasingly police will state during an encounter, “Show me what you’d show the judge.”
While one should never
say much during a law enforcement encounter, having proper documentation in a
Compliance Binder on hand at the time of the encounter can do the talking for
PAN offers Medical
Cannabis Compliance Seminars to help Collectives and all their operations stay
safe. Below are some things to
consider when preparing documents for the Collective and off-site
Incorporation, State Seller’s Permit, Business License(s), Other requisite permits,
i.e., Tobacco Seller’s Permits – To avoid unnecessary scrutiny from local
should hold all necessary permits
and licenses and pay all requisite taxes.
Patient and Caregiver
Collective Membership Applications/Registration/ Agreements – Any and all persons
involved with the operations of a Collective including cultivation, processing,
storage, testing, transport, dispensing, administration and management should
be a legally qualified patient or caregiver** under State law and be a
registered member of the Collective.
Collective Membership Agreements may also include the organization’s
rules, policies, guidelines and reasons membership may be revoked to further
demonstrate compliance with closed-loop membership and activities, and a
Cultivation Agreements, Collective Transportation Agreements, Medical Cannabis
Processing Agreements, Medical Cannabis Testing Agreements - Collective members
that produce, process, store, test and transport medical cannabis on behalf of
a Collective should be able to account for the amount of cannabis present by
the number and need of the patients being served. These providers should be able to demonstrate a direct
relationship with their Collective(s)***/patients and all parties agree to
abide by the law. Agreements
should be severed upon any reasonable suspicion that illegal activity is taking
place by any party.
Other Documentation – Depending upon the
circumstances, one’s Compliance Binder may also include letters of reference
and support, thank you letters, community memberships, awards and acknowledgements
or other types of ‘character references.’
Multiple Copies – Be prepared to then
make multiple copies of your binder to be kept in the right places and with the
Recordkeeping – “Non-profit operations”
are considered acceptable by California law enforcement. Should this become an issue, expect to
be audited. Persons involved in the
medical cannabis profession are expected to only make what is ‘reasonable’ for
their time and expenses and to pay requisite taxes. Consult a good accountant to establish clear recordkeeping
and tax history and make sure to understand IRS code 280E.
caregivers involved in collective cultivation, processing, testing,
transportation and dispensing run the risk of criminal prosecution, whether
local or federal. The general
concern is quantity. When
providing goods and services for a collective, the quantity of cannabis on hand
is generally greater than that for personal use putting these Collective
members in the position of ‘proving’ that all cannabis is by and for legally
qualified patients only.
While State medical
cannabis laws are not protection from Federal interference, with preparation, patients, caregivers
and their collectives can demonstrate that all cannabis related activities are
conducted in the spirit of State law.
records and documentation at the time of arrest may assist the defendant in
having a speedy trial, which has demonstrated to largely benefit defendants.
While these precautions
are not protection from Federal prosecution, proper documentation at the time
of a DEA encounter may help determine if Federal authorities choose to file charges
or not. Smash and grab raids suck
but they are better than Federal prosecution and prison.
In California our
voter-approved law is very murky and the “GUIDELINES
FOR THE SECURITY AND NON-DIVERSION OF MARIJUANA GROWN FOR MEDICAL USE August
2008, while not
law, is regarded by law enforcement as the set of guidelines for determining
legal medical marijuana from illicit drug activity. For purposes of collectives the guidelines mainly focus on:
closed-loop, patient-to-patient, collective member activities; State taxes and
Some things to know:
No amount of paperwork will prevent arrest. If a cop chooses to arrest you, he will, no matter
what. However, arrest does not
always mean prosecution.
There are no sure things, not even in court. Even with the best defense, some judges are just impossible,
making for lengthy court cases and appeals.
Make sure you know your rights during a law enforcement encounter. 96% of all criminal convictions come
from what you say in the first 5 minutes of a law enforcement encounter.
You are only as safe as those around you. If someone else along the chain is conducting illegal
activity it may lead to investigations of other collective members/activities. Know who you are working with.
PAN offers legal training for Collectives – Law Enforcement
Encounter Training & Raid Preparedness Seminar. “This is the most valuable training I’ve
ever had!” – from dozens of participants
* All of the
above also pertains to Medical Cannabis ‘Cooperatives.’
** While legally a voluntary program, providers
of goods and services to their Collectives are encouraged to get the California
State Medical Marijuana ID Card.
*** While not
law, there is debate among law enforcement and law makers regarding ‘one
patient, one collective,’ meaning a patient or a caregiver can only be a member
of one collective at any one time and therefore only provide goods and services
to one collective. Working with multiple Collectives requires good record
keeping and careful attention to detail.
to set up your seminar or training.