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Orange County Medical Marijuana Lawyers

Can I Face Charges for Possession of Medical Marijuana?

After running on a campaign claiming to take a "hands off" approach to California's legal medical marijuana laws, the Obama Administration started shutting down many medical marijuana dispensaries. Many medical marijuana stores in California received notices from the Justice Department and DEA to shut down or face fines and imprisonment.

California has several marijuana laws on the books, and every year hundreds of people are prosecuted for violating the state's marijuana laws. Many of these people who are arrested either don't have a valid "420 Card" or exceed the amount of marijuana they're legally allowed to have on their person.

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Federal Marijuana Law

The federal government regulates drugs—including marijuana—through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) under 21 U.S.C. § 811, which does not recognize the difference between medical and recreational use of marijuana. Under the CSA, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means that the federal government views marijuana as highly addictive with no medical value. This position was reaffirmed in a 2011 government study claiming medical marijuana had no medical value. Under federal law, doctors may not "prescribe" marijuana for medical use, but they can "recommend" its use under the First Amendment. It's important to point out that federal law trumps state law, which is why the feds can raid and close medical marijuana dispensaries even though medical marijuana is legal in California.

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Will the Federal Government Come After Me in Orange County?

Not likely. It is more likely the feds would come after you if they believe you have a large amount of medical marijuana. Federal marijuana laws are designed to catch people who possess, cultivate, or distribute large quantities of marijuana, which are what medical marijuana dispensaries typical do. Should you be arrested by the feds, chances are that it will be referred to the state to prosecute.

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I Own a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in OC. What Should I Do?

If you haven't received notice to close down, it is unclear if you can continue operating your business without worry or if you should just close down. Even if you have never received any formal notice—and even though your medical marijuana dispensary is well within California laws and regulation—the feds can enter, seize items, and arrest you since you are breaking federal law. Now, if you have received noticed to shut down, it is best you contact our lawyers so we can prepare the next step. It is unclear how far the federal government, Justice Department, and DEA will take these medical marijuana raids.

"For a few years our Medical Marijuana Dispensary was doing okay and we had no problem, but then one day DEA agents raided my place and arrested me for a ton of marijuana charges that could result in several years in prison. Law Office of Michael L. Guisti acted on my case quickly to keep me out of jail and keep my business..."

Client's rating: 5 of 5

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If Charged With a Federal Marijuana Crime…

If you decide to keep your medical marijuana dispensary open, whether you've received a notice from the feds or not, our team needs to stress possible charges you could face. First off, federal drug charges are not tried at county courthouse, rather federal courthouses; as such, there are different rules and procedures for federal court cases. Most importantly, unlike California criminal marijuana charges that can result in a fine, a few months in jail or even completely erased from your record upon successful completion of drug programs under PC 1000 or Proposition 36, federal marijuana charges carry MAJOR federal prison sentences.

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What Is NOT a Valid Defense?

If you go to federal trial for marijuana charges, it is very important to understand that using or selling medical marijuana—even though it is legal in California—is not a valid defense in federal court. Federal marijuana charges are very complex, but we will fight to create a winning defense for you.

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If Convicted…

People found guilty of federal marijuana charges face steep punishments. Despite social norms easing up, federal law still considers marijuana a dangerous, illegal drug with no acceptable medicinal value. Not all people convicted of federal marijuana crimes get an automatic sentence to federal prison; however, most of the time, if the federal government is prosecuting you for marijuana charges, it usually means you allegedly have a large amount of marijuana the feds are looking to punish you for, which means time in federal prison. How long you are sentenced to federal prison for and what fines you face will all depend on the amount of marijuana that were seized from you and just what you were doing with that marijuana.

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Call Our Orange County Marijuana Attorneys at (714) 530-9690 Now!

We know it is unsettling after being assured the federal government would not interfere with California's medical marijuana dispensaries or users only to have them turnaround and threaten to arrest you.

We know this is a nervous time, but our OC drug crime lawyers can fight to help you successfully get through this.

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Additional Information

Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

(714) 530-9690

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Client Reviews

“It was strongly recommended that I call federal defense attorney Michael L. Guisti. He had several investigators look at records and such, and my federal case was dismissed. Michael Guisti does what few attorneys can do, beat the federal government, and that is why if you’re in trouble with the government you need to call Michael Guisti right away!”

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“I had everything to lose, my future, my education. Basically I did something that got me a misdemeanor, and the judge wanted to give a guilty plea. But Michael Guisti would not back down. Instead he fought for me, and now my record is clean.”

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“Back in 2003 I was facing attempted murder. My family hired Michael Guisti to represent me. He is a very good attorney. He always answered my calls, addressed my questions and concerns, and kept me updated about my case. Thank you Michael Guisti for winning my case. I highly recommend anyone facing a criminal charge to see Michael Guisti.”

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Case Results

sex crimes

Case Dropped

Young man charged and arrested for sexual battery.


Case Dropped

Man charged with assault with a deadly weapon for hitting someone in the face with a heavy metal dust pan.

drug crimes

Served Less Than 30 Days in Jail

Young man charged with selling 1000 tabs of ecstasy to undercover officer.

Attempted Murder

Reduced to Assault With Deadly Weapon

Young man knocks the eye out his victim with a metal pipe. Charged with attempted murder and aggravated mayhem. Both cases carried life sentences.

Assault & Battery

Serves 80 Days on Work Furlough

Woman arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon using scissors on a co-worker.

Vehicular Assault

Serves 80 Days on Work Furlough

Man charged with three felony counts of vehicular assault with a deadly weapon.


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OC Medical Marijuana Attorney Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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