The constantly-changing landscape of medical marijuana has left many with questions about whether their use is within the boundaries of current law. For example, respected defense attorney, Eric D. Shevin says, “it is widely believed that medical marijuana is legal when in fact marijuana remains illegal under all circumstances. Medical marijuana laws simply provide a defense to criminal marijuana charges.” This is among the issues that Shevin will address through a new regular column at www.the420times.com.
“Our readers constantly come to us with questions about current law and where it’s headed,” says THE 420 TIMES’ Editor David Brian. “We’re gratified to offer them the counsel of one of the foremost experts on this specialized area of law. In his new column, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS, Eric will offer medical marijuana users advice on avoiding legal hassles while preserving access to the medicine they need.”
Some other misconceptions that Shevin will answer involve the belief that patients can grow and possess any amount a doctor writes on a recommendation. Shevin notes that “Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Supreme Court has conclusively ruled that the patient has the burden of proving that any amount of marijuana cultivated or possessed is an amount necessary for the patients medical use. Doctors do a disservice to their patients when recommending enormous amounts, as it appears the Doctor is only relying on the patients’ representations. Would a doctor write a prescription for 10000 Vicodins? Of course not. The doctor’s credibility would be destroyed as a result. Nothing harms a patient more than having their doctor look like a quack.”
An experienced courtroom advocate, Shevin is a lifetime member of the NORML legal committee and a recipient of the Defender of Justice Award from Americans for Safe Access. He is an expert on the intricacies of medical marijuana law and has represented the interests of patients impacted by restrictive dispensary regulations in the City of Los Angeles.
Conflicting medical marijuana laws at the state, federal and local level have led to a great deal of confusion about what is permitted — and how a patient’s legal situation can vary from one jurisdiction to another. “I look forward to fielding readers’ questions and helping them make sense of a confusing and evolving situation,” Shevin says.