2016 Marijuana Legalization Election Results

Cannabis reform measures are on the ballot in nine states which could lead to a historic win for the legalization movement. Of the many things we learned about American voters last night, here’s a big one: They are ready for cannabis prohibition to be over. 8 out of 9 states approved legalization measures on Tuesday. All four medical marijuana initiatives passed, and four out of five – minus Arizona – supported adult-use. Medical marijuana is already legal in Arizona, but they did not take the next step to allowing recreational use.

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The four states that voted to pass new laws to make cannabis use equivalent to alcohol consumption are: California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada. Those states now join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia. More than half of all states (28) allow marijuana for medical use now that Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota voted “YES” on their ballots.

The good news is that Cannabidiol (CBD) is 100% legal in all states, safe to consume, and studies show many benefits from the oil which is extracted from industrial hemp plants. CBD oil can’t get you “high”, since it is non-psychoactive, but it can definitely help your overall well-being. Some other benefits that studies have shown, include:

  • Antiemetic – Reduces nausea and vomiting
  • Anticonvulsant – Suppresses seizure activity
  • Antipsychotic – Combats psychosis disorders
  • Anti-inflammatory – Combats inflammatory disorders
  • Anti-oxidant – Combats neurodegenerative disorders
  • Anti-tumoral/Anti-cancer – Combats tumor and cancer cells
  • Anxiolytic/Anti-depressant – Combats anxiety and depression disorders

In two more years, we will see how many more states will pass cannabis reform measures on their state ballots. The countdown continues as many await a pro-cannabis America.

FDA Strongly Warns Companies Marketing CBD Products

Plus-CBD-OilIn addition to six warning letters sent out in April 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent out eight more warning letters to companies marketing unapproved new drugs containing cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has been used as a treatment for its pain-alleviating effects in humans and animals.

The eight companies that received letters, include:

The FDA’s letters specify that the CBD products being sold do not contain the amount of CBD that they claim to and that the companies are making numerous health claims that are not backed by medical studies. Unless the product was marketed before GW Pharma published clinical trials, the companies are not allowed to make any health claims.

As per the warning letters, the FDA has concluded that, “CBD products are excluded from the dietary supplement definition under section 201(ff)(3)(B)(ii) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(ff)(3)(B)(ii)]. Under that provision, if a substance (such as CBD) has been authorized for investigation as a new drug for which substantial clinical investigations have been instituted and for which the existence of such investigations has been made public, then products containing that substance are outside the definition of a dietary supplement. There is an exception if the substance was “marketed as” a dietary supplement or a conventional food before the new drug investigations were authorized; however, based on available evidence, FDA has concluded that this is not the case for CBD.”

The CBD products are considered “new drugs” by the FDA and may not be legally introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce without prior approval from the FDA. These companies cannot market or sell unapproved drugs to diagnose, mitigate, treat, or prevent diseases in humans or animals.

The FDA provided the companies fifteen working days to notify their office in writing of the specific steps they are going to take in order to correct the violations. Cannabis companies that ignore federal commercial regulations do so at their own peril.

If the FDA takes legal action, this will not be the first legal case related to marijuana.

 

Volkwagen “Clean Diesel” Owners: Should You Join a Class Action Lawsuit?

vw4-SIf you own one of the Volkswagen vehicles involved in the emissions cheating scandal, you’re most likely reading the news as it unfolds.

In September 2015, the EPA informed Volkswagen that it was in violation of the Clean Air Act since the automaker intentionally and deceptively programmed certain diesel engines to selectively circumvent emissions controls. During testing, engines meet or exceed standards; however, on the road they spew out up to 40 times the nitrogen oxide (NOx) output.

What does this mean for someone who owns a VW?

It means you’ve got a car that performs nicely, but is wildly out of step with acceptable standards and has taken a massive hit in value.

VW is in the process of recalling the affected cars. A fun fact is that many owners of  VW diesels don’t want to return the vehicle for correction. The owner bought the vehicle for higher performance, value and better fuel mileage. In other words, why would they agree to a recall service that will lower performance and gas mileage?

Is VW going just going to graciously offer VW owners cash? This week the company announced that it would offer $1,000 gift cards to affected owners. But half of that amount has to be spent at a VW dealer, which is like getting credit at a restaurant that just gave you food poisoning. There are a couple of issues with this. First, the VW owners I’ve talked to are insulted by this and see it as a slap in the face. Second, we need to talk about how these gift cards may affect your standing in the one good shot you have at recouping some value: a class action lawsuit.

What is a class action lawsuit?

In a class action, lead plaintiffs file a suit on behalf of a class of “imaginary” people out there who have suffered similar injuries, among other factors—those imaginary people, together with the actual plaintiffs, put the “class” in “class action.”

The judge then decides whether to “certify” the class. This turns the imaginary people out there into real people to be included in the class. In this case, the class should be pretty easy to certify since the same software apparently caused the issue across the board, everyone affected is having an identical experience and it can also be verified via their VIN number.

Should I join in a class action suit?

If you have an affected car, you’re probably hearing from a lot of attorneys inviting you to join their suit against VW. Most likely, these are invitations to be an initial plaintiff in the case, or maybe they’re looking for more plaintiffs or witnesses. As the suits get going, you can be involved in multiple suits prior to the class certification. The general rule is you only get to prosecute your rights once.

Rewards don’t come quickly. Large-scale class action litigation can take years. Take that into account when you’re deciding to hold onto your VW or sell it.

If I had an affected VW, I’d certainly want to be a part of a class action suit. Really, it’s the only affordable action against Volkswagen available to private citizens. True, there may be fines or judgment down the road on the federal or state level that could be passed through to you—but don’t count on that.

Be smart, do some research and submit your information to a qualified VW class action attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve.

 

Mayor of Baltimore Asks Department of Justice for Civil Rights Investigation

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On May 6, 2015, the Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, requested that the Department of Justice (DOJ) order an investigation of the Baltimore Police Department. She would like the DOJ to determine if there is a “pattern or practice” of widespread discrimination in the police department. The Mayor specifically stated that this type of investigation is required to make any necessary reforms to the Baltimore Police Department. A similar investigation took place after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last year.

The DOJ is already investigating the specific incident that has sparked debate in Baltimore—the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray died after a struggle with police on April 12, 2015. According to reports, Gray ran from police and, when restrained, police discovered a switchblade in Gray’s pocket. Gray passed from a severe spinal cord injury, but Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez told reporters that there was no indication of how the injury actually occurred. Mayor Rawlings-Blake stated that Gray asked for medical attention, and it was not provided right away. Six officers were suspended after his death.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake would like a much broader investigation than the DOJ is already conducting. The investigation would extend beyond this single incident and look for any patterns of discriminatory behavior or an unwritten practice that the police force has been instructed to engage in.

Department of Justice Investigation in Ferguson, Missouri
When the DOJ conducted a similar investigation in Ferguson, they found systematic discrimination against African Americans by both the police force and the municipal court system. They found that blacks are far more likely to be subjected to vehicle stops, citations, and arrests when compared to their proportion of the population (67% of the Ferguson population is black). African Americans were also more likely to be searched during a stop and cited for minor offenses. In addition, in 88% of the cases where the police used force, it was against a black person. Consider the following statistics from Ferguson between 2012 and 2014:

• 85% of people involved in vehicle stops were African American
• 90% of people who received citations were African Americans
• 93% of all people arrested were black
• 95% of those cited for jaywalking were African Americans (“manner of walking in roadway”)
• 94% of all “failure to comply” charges were against black people
• African Americans were 68% less likely to have their cases dismissed by a municipal judge

The investigation even found racists jokes in government e-mails from officials and members of the court.

Review in Baltimore
Baltimore Police Captain, Eric Kowalczky, stated that he is open to the investigation into Gray’s death, because he wants to know what happened as well. He has said that he wants the police department to be transparent, and they owe an explanation to Gray’s family and the people of Baltimore. However, he has not yet commented on the possibility of having the DOJ create a wide-ranging report in the same way that they did in Ferguson.

A DOJ representative confirmed that they had received Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s request for an investigation. The representative also stated that “the attorney general is actively considering that option in light of what she heard from law enforcement, city officials, and community, faith, and youth leaders in Baltimore.” Regardless of the DOJ response, Mayor Rawlings-Blake has stated that the Baltimore Police Department will have body cameras by the end.

photo credit: Operation Baltimore Rally (license)

Marijuana Legal in the U.S. Capital

marijuana-legal-washDCIn Washington, DC, the high was short-lived. Just five days after marijuana became legal in the nation’s capital, city lawmakers voted for strict limits on pot use which includes no smoking in public spaces, including inside private clubs, bars, hotels and restaurants.

Smoking weed will be restricted to private homes, ending some would-be potrepreneur’s dream of a marijuana “green rush” business of pot-themed clubs and events. Entrepreneurs can still open hemp stores and sell pot accessories, but will find that new regulations and laws still limit what types of marijuana-related business they can conduct.

The first state to legalize marijuana was Colorado, followed quickly by Washington. An ironic twist with pot being legal in Washington and Colorado is that individuals can now be charged with a Marijuana DUI in those states under new legislation that accompanied the legalization of recreational marijuana use. New rules establishing impairment limits for the now-legal recreational drug have caused different legal risks to users who drive in the state while under the influence. Arrests for drug-related driving offenses may actually rise, considering the blood-level limits for THC intake are now quite strict, and may not accurately detect the driver actually being impaired. THC remains in the bloodstream far longer than alcohol and very low levels suggest the driver is impaired which can cause a criminal record with light pot use. If you find yourself in need of legal representation, there are Colorado and Washington attorneys that take marijuana related cases, which may be a growth industry as more and more people begin using marijuana recreationally as a legal right. Washington D.C. has not yet updated their DUI laws to reflect the new status of the drug, but is expected to soon.

dc-weedAnother factor that plays into the legalization of weed is that you cannot sell it without criminal charges if you are not a licensed grower or distributor. Marijuana has produced significant revenue for Washington and Colorado since it is highly taxed, and a regulatory scheme has emerged that allows government officials to keep tabs on the revenues flowing from the newest cash-crop to contribute to State budgets.

In a recent news release, Colorado announced that the state recorded more than $42.7 million in recreational marijuana sales in the month of March. The overall sales in 2014 in Colorado were $699,198,805, above most conservative revenue expectations of the first year of legalization.

In February, 2014, Alaska became the third U.S. state to end prohibition of marijuana and put Ballot Measure 2 into full effect. In November of 2014, Oregon passed the marijuana initiative, Measure 91. Adults will be able to light it up beginning July 1st, 2015, although law enforcement has already begun the process of decriminalizing possession and usage leading up to the official date.

One thing that many people don’t think about is marijuana for pets. Yes, that’s correct. Bills are being introduced, one currently in Nevada, that will allow veterinarians to prescribe pot to animals with illness that may be alleviated. The cannabis plant has many compounds in it such as cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD. This is what has been used as a potential treatment for epileptic seizures and pain relief for cancer patients, and is the substance that can have similar pain-alleviating effects in animals.

The Obamacare Lawsuit & What it Means for You

When Obamacare was in the drafting stage, nobody could have guessed that a few choice words would make such a difference a year into the program. That’s what’s taking place now, with a massive Obamacare lawsuit hitting the courts in 2015, with major players on both sides of the party lines drawing their guns and firing at each other in the name of courting the American people for the next vote.

The case is called “King v Burwell” and could very possibly overturn the Affordable Care Act. It’s set to go up before the Supreme Court very soon. Let’s see what all the fuss about in this crucial matter that really affects us all.

The Phrase That Started it All…

Legislation initiating the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) calls up on each state to create a medical insurance marketplace. These are to be central online websites for each state, run by the state, where those living in that state could find out about and register for health insurance.

The insurance of course is to be cheaper (for families) and more inclusive of things like pre-existing conditions and as far as coverage goes, these plans are required to cover more services, especially preventative services like annual exams.

The marketplaces, or “exchanges”, as they’re called are for people who don’t have access to medical insurance coverage through their jobs. The added benefit for these plans is that if income meets low threshold requirements, those paying for them also get a tax credit.

If any state were to fail to set up its own exchange, no problem…the Federal marketplace is there for anyone living in a state with no exchange of its own.

So far, so good- everything has gone as planned as far as these primary elements go. Now, the phrase in question in the ensuing lawsuit concerns doubt over who gets those tax credits. According to the verbiage in the Affordable Care Act, the federal subsidies (tax credits) are for people who purchased insurance through….

“…an exchange established by the State”

Is that meant to mean that people who didn’t purchase insurance through an exchange established by the State won’t get the Federal subsidies? In other words, if your state didn’t create an insurance exchange and you purchased your through the Federal exchange, will you be denied the tax credit?

Why Would It Be Written in Such a Vague Way?

The Obamacare lawsuit says yes, that’s what the language is intended to mean. Furthermore, they claim that the Affordable Care Act was intentionally written that way. Why?

Because it’s a veiled threat to states who planned on not providing their inhabitants a state exchange. Plaintiffs are claiming the vague language was meant as a threat to states along these lines…

“establish your state exchange or else your people won’t get the Federal subsidies”

If the case goes through and they win, it means millions of people will lose their federal subsidies…and become uninsured in the process. This would destabilize the insurance market altogether, and cause a ripple effect of “very bad things” to happen. I found a blog with a very frightening tale of what this ripple effect could look like here.

What You Need To Know About Class Action Lawsuits

Sad Young WomanWhat is a class action lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit is one in which there are a large number of plaintiffs bringing similar claims. These lawsuits are also called representative actions or collective lawsuits. Typically, there are only a handful of named plaintiffs, but those plaintiffs are representative of a larger group. Individuals who sign onto class action suits typically relinquish their rights to independently sue the same entity.

What are the benefits of class action lawsuits?

If you have been wronged by an entity with substantial resources, it can be difficult to fight for your rights. Large companies can afford to hire teams of attorneys and drag a case on for years. Few individuals can withstand the financial cost of such a process. This is not the case with a class action lawsuit, however. Given the large number of plaintiffs and the potential for substantial damage awards, a law firm can work on a class action case on contingency, costing the plaintiffs nothing during the proceedings.

What are damages in class action lawsuits?

There are two types of damages available in class action lawsuits. They are:

Compensatory damages – meant to compensate plaintiffs for direct damages such as medical bills, pain and suffering and wrongful death

Punitive damages – meant to punish the defendant for intentional or gross wrongdoing

What are the types of class action lawsuits?

  1. Consumer Class actions:

Consumer class actions are generally brought when consumers complain about being injured by a company’s systematic and illegal practices. Examples of such consumer complaints include illegal charges on bills, illegal penalties for late-payments, and failure to comply with consumer protection laws. While consumers often write a complaint letter to such companies, complaint letters often go unanswered, in which case you’ll want to contact a class action consumer lawyer regarding your consumer complaint.

  1. Securities Class actions:

Securities class actions are typically brought on behalf of a group of investors who have been injured as a result of a company’s improper conduct, such as misstating earnings, concealing or misrepresenting risks, or otherwise engaging in activity detrimental to the company.

  1. Product liability/Personal Injury Class actions:

Product liability and personal injury class action lawsuits are generally brought when a defective product, such as a drug with harmful side effects, or “mass accident”, such as a toxic spill, harms many people.

  1. Employment Class actions:

Employment class action lawsuits are typically brought on behalf of employees of a large company for claims ranging from systematic workplace discrimination to unpaid overtime pay.

If you have a potential class action lawsuit, there are experienced attorneys that can help you begin the process. Class action attorneys are skilled at evaluating and handling a wide variety of class action suits. Contact one today to have a free case evaluation.

 

 

 

Is Obama Care Washington’s Worst Decision Ever?

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photo credit: qwrrty

Obama Care was supposed to provide Americans with low cost health insurance that was efficient and cost-effective. Unfortunately the initiative has proven to be an abject failure, as many other analysts and experts have pointed out.

It is without precedent for a single piece of Washington legislation to cause so much confusion and hardship for citizens and the country at large. Despite this disaster, the President and a big majority of Congress keeps ignoring the harmful consequences to people’s lives and the country’s economy that this legislation has wrought.

To list just a couple of the problems that Obama Care has created:

  • An estimate 5 million of Americans have lost access to their preferred insurance policies.
  • A majority of the same Americans were undergoing serious medical treatments (ex. cancer treatments) when they lost their insurance policies. This has created undue hardship that left their treatment and health up in the air.
  • Left without health insurance, these people are forced to buy new insurance which has historically grown in price and offered less benefits.
  • The poorly implemented technical aspect of Obama Care has created what experts dub “an identity thief’s wet dream” due to the lack of security checks and proper security protocols.
  • The new Obama Care policies restricts a patient’s access to preferred doctors and preferred hospitals.
  • The same policies also restrict access to medicine which was previously freely accessible and affordable.
  • Companies, schools, government agencies and NGOs are cutting down on new hires, restructuring or have already fired people in order to cope with the financial burden that the legislation has caused. This in turn has strained national economic growth.

Finding a good Propecia lawyer in Washington DC

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photo credit: VinothChandar

Having a viable claim doesn’t guarantee that a Propecia lawyer will automatically take your case. As important it is for an individual to research a lawyer or a firm before asking for their help, the attorneys will in turn analyze if your case is a good fit for them.

Keep Your Spirits High

A good attorney will make client satisfaction one of his top priorities. However, lawyers will tell you that some clients are incredibly difficult and remain unsatisfied no matter what. When you’re seeing the attorney to discuss your case for the first time, try to remain positive and look at the bright side, despite the setbacks that you have faced. An example might be if the attorney comments on how fortunate the client has been that he didn’t experience other, more serious side effects as a result of taking Propecia. If the client responds with something to the effect of “Never mind the side effects, I could have been hurt and I want to sue.” this could be a sign for the lawyer that he has got a difficult client on his hands – one he would be weary of working with.

An Entitled Attitude

It’s common and understandable to feel entitled for compensation if you believe you were harmed by a drug whose manufacturers did not disclose all possible side effects. However, keep in mind that if a jury does not like you, the possibility of getting compensation for your loss is very slim. If a claimant blames everybody else for his problems and feels entitled to receiving compensation, odds can be not in his favor.

You Are Responsible for Your Actions

Another mindset similar to the entitlement attitude described above is the one where the client is dishonest and refuses to fully take responsibility for his own actions. As a Propecia lawyer will explain, legal fault for side effects and injury related to a drug depends on a variety of factors. If the accident victim did not take into account the warnings and other advice the doctors have given him (such as recommended dosage, drug interactions, etc.) then this may put some of the legal responsibility for the accident solely on the injured person’s shoulders. If a client is headstrong and keeps to his “drugs should not be dangerous in the first place” myth, he may not make a good client.

Lawyers Are People Too

Another red flag that attorneys are on the look out for is clients who are constantly questioning their professional competence. It reasons to say that most attorneys will not accept this kind of behavior for very long.

While drug injury lawyers try their best in obtaining a specific result when they take on a case, they cannot guarantee that the client will obtain compensation. Usually, if you ask to see their track record, you will know if you have an attorney who has experience with this type of case or not.

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries as a result of taking Propecia or Proscar, contact a lawyer in Washington DC to see if you are eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers of this drug.

How To Find The Perfect Industrial Premise in DC

When your business has grown enough that moving into an industrial premise becomes a necessity, that’s when things start to feel more real and tangible. Although it doesn’t clear you of the growing pains that every business experiences, such a move signifies growth, profit and a sign that things are only starting to get bigger and better. We’re going to look at what you need to know and where you need to look to get the perfect industrial premise in Washington DC.

Size is important

Size is important for two reasons:

  1. The bigger the space, the more it will cost – many business owners get overexcited at the idea of moving to an actual location and go wild, looking at options that are big and expensive. For obvious reasons, this isn’t the best idea. If you’re not an established company, a big space will drain your business’ coffers and you might not even need such a space.
  2. Down the road, space is good for expansion. If you can rent a bigger space but share it with another business, you would save money, paying only for the space that you’re actually using as well as sharing the bills, boardrooms, receptionist and security personnel.

Style – a fit for your business

What sort of business are you running? Be practical. If you’re going for an office space, the hot desking option is a good first choice as it allows your business to grow at its own pace which means that you only pay for space that you use. No need to move out of the offices every time you hire a new employee – you can simply add another desk to the rent package that you’re already paying for. Further down the line, this may cease to be a cost effective solution, but until then, this is the best solution for a burgeoning business.

What is your budget?

If your business has worked this long without having a physical office, it’s possible that renting office space is not exactly at the top of your priority list. Before you dive head first into a leasing agreement, take a very close look at where you’re sitting with your finances and whether it makes sense to rent space. If you can’t find something affordable, play the waiting game. The fact is that other companies will either grow or go bust and then they are forced to move out, freeing the space for you.