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San Diego, CA |

i am federal employee and live in California. my daughter and her husband, my son-in-law live with me in my house. my son-in-law wants to open a marijuana dispensary in some rented out place. As soon as I found about this, i tried to change my son-in-law mind to open the "dangerous" business, escpecially me being with Federal government. My daughter does not want to listen saying that nothing will happens as I will not be part of that business. Please someone explain to my daughter that I do have obligations before the Government and cannot have that happened as we all live under the same roof. She is fighting with me saying that I need to be more supportive. Help me please to explain to her how dangerous for me to live together with my son-in-law who runs that kind of business

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I agree with you that your job is at risk if anyone in your household operates a marijuana dispensary. I am an employment law attorney in San Diego and I frequently represent federal employees in their employment problems. Federal agencies generally have an extremely broad "no tolerance" policy and really don't care what reasons a person has for violating federal drug laws.

Regardless of California law, it is still a crime under federal law to sell marijuana. The Obama administration has been vigilant in enforcing this law (despite his campaign promises to the contrary) and as a result, all the dispensaries in San Diego have now closed, other than the few that provide a delivery service.

Chances are there will be some dispensary-related materials in the house . . . even traces. Not to raise anyone's fears irrationally, but you could be charged and even convicted of a crime. While it is possible federal law enforcement will eventually figure out that your son-in-law is responsible, it is possible it may not. Even if it does, in the interim you will be out many thousands of dollars and perhaps out of work.

It is your home and your job. Your future, including your retirement, are potentially at stake. Most of us take calculated risks based on the likelihood of future problems and the penalties if we get caught. This one is really risky for you. Don't let your son-in-law live in your home if this is what he is doing. I'm sure this is very hard for you as it involves your daughter, but prisons are full of people who say they "didn't do it."

By the way, I am someone who fully supports the legalization of marijuana.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


Being supportive is one thing, risking your job is another thing altogether. If they did not live with you I believe the risk would be lessened. Perhaps you can be supportive by helping them move.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.


This question was posted under federal crime. If your fear is that you will be prosecuted because you live with your son in law, as long as you don't assist in his business in any way, you are not at risk. If he robs a bank it has nothing to do with you or your job. This is no different.

This answer is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as the practice of law in any jurisdiction in which I am not licensed. The answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the information provided, and may be inaccurate in the context of additional facts that have not been provided. The questioner should be aware that I am only licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Minnesota. Accordingly, before taking any action or refraining from taking any action, the questioner should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in his or her jurisdiction.

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Marilynn Mika Spencer


The asker didn't list the question in any category. I re-posted under Employment and also under Federal Crime, to help the asker get more responses. It's good to know the asker may not be prosecuted, but I assume this would require the authorities to not make any mistakes in any arrest/investigation/prosecution. In employment, an employer is often legally entitled to make mistakes, provided the mistakes are no more than mistakes made in good faith. With the terrible economy and high unemployment, a good faith mistake that costs someone his or her job can result in long term unemploument.

Robert David Richman

Robert David Richman


He could stay in bed and they could make a mistake if that is what we are guarding against.


In the words of Jack Byrnes: "It's my way, or the Long Island Expressway."

Law Offices of David Shapiro 3555 4th Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 295-3555

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