--- 1.0 CLE Credit for AZ,CA,CO,CT,FL,ID,NJ,NY,PA,WA
--- constitutional law
--- course production date: 3/7/2016
--- presented by AMEER N. BENNO

In 1996, California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act, making it the first state in the union to allow for the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 22 more states, the District of Columbia and Guam have enacted similar laws.

At the federal level, however, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, where Schedule I substances are considered to have a high potential for dependency and no accepted medical use, making cultivation, distribution, and use of marijuana a federal offense.

Ameer Benno, a New York City-based civil rights and criminal defense attorney, discusses the conflict of laws between the federal and state governments surrounding medical marijuana, the associated federalism issues, and the legal implications for people involved or looking to get involved in medical marijuana businesses.

Key course points are:
• Understand current federal enforcement priorities under the Controlled Substances Act.
• Explore the federalism issues implicated by the conflict between federal and state laws on the issue of legalization of medical marijuana.
• Gain insight on essential business considerations facing medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries, and the effect of federal law on starting and operating those business.
• Become acquainted with the banking and financing difficulties facing marijuana businesses.
• Learn about current proposed state and federal legislation.

--- presented by AMEER N. BENNO

Ameer Benno is the founding member of Benno & Associates P.C., a New York City-based law firm that represents plaintiffs in civil rights and constitutional law litigation in state and federal courts, and which also concentrates on appellate litigation and criminal defense.

In his civil rights practice, Mr. Benno champions the rights of individuals who have been subjected to governmental abuses of authority. His cases range from police misconduct matters to prisoner rights cases, from unjust conviction claims to First Amendment matters, and from ADA claims to cases challenging involuntary civil commitment.

Ameer began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, where he served in both the trial division and the appeals bureau. Upon leaving government service, Mr. Benno worked at civil litigation law firms where his caseload focused on civil rights matters in both state and federal courts.

From 2006 through 2012, Mr. Benno was an adjunct professor at New York Law School, where he taught Appellate Advocacy and Legal Reasoning and Writing.

Mr. Benno has been named to The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 in criminal law, the National Trial Lawyers “Top 40 Under 40,”and has been selected for inclusion in New York Super Lawyers Rising Stars (Metro) for the last four years in the areas of First Amendment and civil rights law.

He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and Cornell Law School.