Medical Cannabis Compliance Lawyer Says Recent California US Attorneys’ Actions Do More Harm Than Good

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Recent actions taken by the California US Attorneys have had a detrimental effect on the continued development of a legal medical cannabis industry while handing a windfall to the illegal growers and drug cartels, says medical marijuana attorney Chris Van Hook.

The federal agencies have roughly outlined what they are looking for as triggers for enforcement, so it would be a good idea to implement policies to avoid those triggers and to stay as compliant as possible.

The recent crackdowns on California medical marijuana dispensaries by the state’s four US Attorneys, which have resulted in the closures of dozens of collectives around the state, have dealt a blow to the legal medical cannabis industry, says California medical cannabis compliance lawyer Chris Van Hook, founder of the Clean Green Certified medical marijuana inspection program. He says these actions have only served to benefit the illegal cannabis market, turning patients to the street and putting money in the pockets of criminals and drug cartels.

According to the New York Times, the four US Attorneys in California recently sent letters threatening federal prosecution to medical cannabis growers and dispensaries, causing dozens of locations to close down. As the article notes, letters were also sent to some landlords for renting to these locations, forcing property owners to evict tenants for fear of prosecution.

Van Hook says this is a frightening development, explaining, “Once the federal government gets the taste for forfeiture property and the resulting funds it could develop we will be on a very slippery slope.”

The medical cannabis compliance attorney explains that the result of these actions has been to reduce the number of legal outlets for medical cannabis, forcing patients and growers to go back to the black market for their medicine and to find patients.

“The federal agents have been targeting legal growers and dispensaries, as they are easy to contact. They have filled out permits, or have entered into state-sanctioned cannabis programs, making it as easy as looking up the name and address of the facility and raiding them,” notes Van Hook, saying these federal tax dollars would be much better spent going after the illegal growers, cartel growers and criminal activity.

The solution to this issue, says Van Hook, is a further clarification of the 2008 California Attorney General’s guidelines for state marijuana policy. California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently requested clarification on the marijuana law from the legislature, in order to clearly distinguish between legitimate and shadow enterprises.

Van Hook says the 2008 guidelines have allowed the California medical cannabis industry to grow and contribute millions of dollars to the California economy. But the current wording has allowed abuses to occur, which have put a black eye on the vast majority of medical cannabis personnel who are trying to do it correctly.

“The same regulatory guidelines and state agencies currently in use for agriculture and food processing should be used in the medical cannabis industry. Third-party certification by qualified inspectors and accredited companies would be used to implement the same tracking, cultivation and food handling standards currently in use by the state. State-licensed laboratories should be allowed to work with cannabis, allowing them to screen for pesticides and other contaminants,” explains Van Hook. He points out that this infrastructure is already in place, and including the existing medical cannabis industry in the current state structure would bring much-needed tax dollars into state coffers.

“Medical cannabis is here to stay. It is the largest agricultural crop in California. We should work to bring this crop into the light of day and use the regulatory framework of other similar agricultural products,” Van Hook states.

In the meantime, Van Hook advises current growers and dispensaries to review their compliance programs. “Whether you are a grower or a dispensary, this is a good time to establish a compliance program or to have your existing compliance program reviewed and updated. Look for a California attorney who is well-versed in the state medical cannabis laws and has a compliance background. The federal agencies have roughly outlined what they are looking for as triggers for enforcement, so it would be a good idea to implement policies to avoid those triggers and to stay as compliant as possible.”

One of the main reasons Van Hook created the Clean Green Certified program was to help growers and dispensaries ensure they are compliant with California medical marijuana standards. “The advantage of Clean Green is that it allows you to have an experienced California medical cannabis compliance attorney walk around your growing or dispensing operation with you to discuss individual issues and concerns,” he explains.

About Clean Green Certified
Clean Green Certified, an independent third-party medical cannabis certification program created by attorney Chris Van Hook, is an agricultural process review and certification program based on the non-use of synthetic chemical fertilizers and sprays, and the building of consumer confidence that their agricultural products are produced in manner that is both healthy and safe for the environment. Their California medical marijuana quality control programs also include Best Practices certification, which allows the limited and responsible use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, and compliance with Mendocino County Code 9.31 (the medical cannabis cultivation regulation ordinance).

Clean Green’s expert legal team also provides services that include: medical cannabis expert witness testimony; on-site inspections; medical cannabis compliance for growers and for handlers/processors/dispensaries; formation of grower collectives and nonprofit corporations; commercial leases; product licensing; contracts and real property issues; administrative law; and permit assistance and acquisition.

For more information about the Clean Green Certified program, call Chris Van Hook at (707) 218-6979 or visit


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Chris Van Hook
Clean Green Certified
(707) 215-4009
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