Attorney Jessica McElfresh continues to be an informative source on marijuana law and policy for local government and media, as well as providing representation for entrepreneurs who want to open lawful marijuana-related businesses in California.
McElfresh has been cited in recent television and newspaper reports discussing federal marijuana enforcement, marijuana dispensaries, the future of marijuana testing labs, and how the Trump administration might enforce federal marijuana laws and regulations.
Federal Marijuana Enforcement
With a change in the White House comes the possibility of a change in the approach the federal government takes toward enforcement of federal marijuana laws. Both recreational and medical marijuana possession and use remain illegal under federal law. The Obama administration opted not to intervene with states that chose to legalize marijuana, but the Trump administration has signaled a different direction for enforcement.
McElfresh told the San Diego Union-Tribune that uncertainty about federal marijuana enforcement and the prospect of a crackdown by the Justice Department is causing business owners and potential investors to be skittish about the burgeoning industry in California.
The San Diego City Council in late January greenlit the first regulations for recreational marijuana businesses and allowed for the operation of 15 marijuana dispensaries. However, the city also put in place tight zoning regulations and discussed a prohibition on cultivation, testing, processing, storing, and distribution — in essence, all parts of the supply chain other than dispensaries.
McElfresh spoke to The CW6 about the proposed ban and said it would put the public at risk by pushing these activities into the black market and out of public regulation and have the opposite effect the city intends on public safety.
“Why allow retail use and not the rest of the supply chain? I simply couldn’t wrap my head around what interest that served,” McElfresh said.
The council said it would revisit the supply chain issues in nine months.
Marijuana Testing Labs
The city’s approach to aspects of the supply chain other than recreational marijuana dispensaries could put testing lab PharmLabs in Ocean Beach out of business. The accredited lab has been in operation since 2011 and is used by all of the city’s permitted dispensaries for marijuana testing, but could have to move if the city adopts a ban on testing.
McElfresh told the Union-Tribune that there’s very little reason for anyone to oppose the presence of testing labs.
“It’s very hard to come up with a rational argument for banning testing,” she said. “There isn’t anything particularly exotic about these testing labs. There aren’t large quantities of marijuana there — it really is just testing.”
About McElfresh Law
McElfresh Law provides experienced advice and counsel to marijuana-related businesses throughout California about how to obtain licensing and permitting, how to comply with regulations, and steps to take to open their businesses.
California marijuana lawyer Jessica McElfresh has helped numerous marijuana businesses through the process to become operational. For a consultation about your marijuana business questions, contact McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 to schedule an appointment.
California marijuana laws change frequently. For updated information, see the following pages: Medicinal Uses of Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana Business