Bill aims to harmonize policy regarding federal, state marijuana laws

Would provide protection from federal prosecution for property owners

September 18, 2015 |
Bill aims to harmonize policy regarding federal, state marijuana laws

Marijuana grow house. Photo: Coleen Whitfield/Creative Commons

As states legalize the use of marijuana, developers and landlords are in a quandary. If they allow tenants to grow, sell, and use pot on their property, they could run afoul of federal law. A bill recently introduced in Congress could eliminate that dilemma.

“The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which has bipartisan support, was recently introduced in both houses of Congress. If it is passed and enacted into law, the CARERS Act would finally provide protection from federal prosecution in states where medical marijuana is legal,” writes Morgan Stewart, a partner with Irvine, CA-based Manly, Stewart and Finaldi.

At least 30 civil forfeiture cases were filed by the federal government against commercial property owners leasing space to marijuana-related businesses in California, according to Stewart. The federal government can legally seize the property without filing criminal charges against the owner, he writes.

Over a dozen states have enacted medical marijuana laws, and four have legalized it for recreational use.

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