Articles Posted in Drug Laws

A doctor licensed in Puerto Rico practicing medicine in Miami was recently arrested on 16 federal charges related to an alleged $20 million health care fraud scheme that reportedly involved claims to Medicaid and Medicare that were either fraudulent or false. Federal authorities also say the doctor was illegally distributing oxycodone and a number of other powerful controlled substances. doctor

Federal prosecutors with the U.S. Justice Department allege the 51-year-old defendant attempted to defraud the government and receive health care bribes and kickbacks. Specifically, he owned an operated several clinics in Miami that “purported to practice medicine as an area of critical need.” According to the indictment, defendant from 2009 through this year referred Medicaid and Medicare recipients allegedly under his care to a local discount pharmacy as well as several home health agencies. In exchange, prosecutors allege, defendant received kickbacks and illegal bribes from these entities.

Further, authorities allege the doctor submitted claims to Medicare Part D for services like office visits and procedures that he either didn’t provide or that clearly weren’t medically necessary. Some of those included billing for removing lesions and therapeutic injections he never actually gave, authorities said. Prosecutors assert that in some cases, he wrote prescriptions to powerful drugs known to be cause addiction (i.e., oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam and others) even though there was no valid medical reason to do so.  Continue reading

It seemed after years of incessant and arbitrary crackdowns by federal agents on marijuana operations in legal purgatory by way of incongruous state and federal laws, there was finally a reprieve with the “Cole memo.” marijuana

In 2013, the Obama administration issued a new policy, by way of Deputy Attorney General James Cole’s memo, that essentially promised to back off businesses that were abiding well-regulated state marijuana system laws. With that, the marijuana industry saw a boom, with the anticipation of topping $25 billion by 2020. A total of 28 states – including now Florida – have some form of legalized medicinal marijuana, while eight states allow it for recreational use.

But now, it seems, the Trump administration may throw a wrench in that cog. Marijuana still remains illegal under federal law, and absent action from Congress, that’s unlikely to change. It seemed initially after Trump’s unexpected win he would maintain the status quo, at least with regard to federal marijuana policy. But status quo has never really been his thing.  Continue reading

Minimum mandatory sentences in Florida may be on their way out. That’s if the conclusions of the Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee are taken to heart by the rest of the state legislature. prison

Lawmakers concluded after close examination of tough-on-crime-era policies that not only are minimum mandatory sentences ineffective, they are costing taxpayers enormous amounts of money – often for very little return. On top of that, the cost to communities, families and individuals, who are serving decades behind bars for non-violent offenses, is astronomical.

Take for example the 25-year prison term of one inmate at a correctional facility in Homestead. In 2002, she was arrested for selling 35 pills. She got $300 out of the deal. She was arrested and later convicted for drug trafficking. Minimum mandatory sentencing guidelines meant the judge had no discretion: She would have to serve 25 years. Housing her in prison costs taxpayers more than $18,000 annually. By the time her sentence is over and she is released in 2023, it will have cost taxpayers nearly $452,000.  Continue reading

President Obama recently announced the sentence commutation of more than 100 federal prisoners serving decades-long penalties under arcane cocaine trafficking statutes. Obama has commuted the sentences of nearly 600 people this year, and over the course of his term, more than the last 11 presidents combined.powder

Unfortunately, the vast majority of individuals arrested for cocaine trafficking in Miami will not be able to count on a presidential commutation or pardon. These charges potentially carry decades-long sentences, so it’s imperative that your Miami criminal defense attorney have the experience, skill and resources to properly defend your case.

F.S. 893.123 is the state statute on drug trafficking and outlines the minimum mandatory penalties for the various charges. Contrary to popular belief, cocaine trafficking is not primarily the work of criminal masterminds or even career criminals. In fact, one need not even sell the drug to be arrested for trafficking. Continue reading

Most readers are aware that several states in the United States of America have legalized marijuana, which has led to a new industry being developed.  The problem many of these industry participants have is the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law as well as many states.  Though the federal government has not been actively and aggressively enforcing federal laws as it applies to marijuana.  This is welcome news to many, but those who choose to either conduct business related to marijuana should seek legal advice in order to avoid the many pitfalls of this contradiction in the laws within the U.S.  Recently, I was contacted by a Canadian law firm who shared the following chart and information with me, which I thought would be useful to any of my readers traveling to Canada and elsewhere.  If you run into any problems, our firm handles criminal matters throughout the U.S. and also we provide consulting services to anyone seeking to step into the marijuana (cannabis) industry arena.

Marijuana in Canada

 

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