Articles Posted in Federal Criminal Defense

overcriminalization-300x191What to know if you are in inmate in a Federal Prison: The New First Step Act of 2018                                        

For those who have family members or friends serving federal time the newly passed FIRST STEP ACT OF 2018 has now been reviewed for its projected population impact on current federal detainees.  The new Act was signed and enacted on December 21, 2018.  The impact of the act has been delayed because of the federal furloughs due to the impasse that affected federal employees during the Christmas 2018 three weeks federal shutdown.  Now the U.S. Sentencing Commission has issued a projected population impact on prison populations.  The Sentence and Prison Impact Estimate Summary can be found at: ussc.gov/…/January_2019_Impact_Analysis.pdf

What I have prepared is a summary of the population numbers which can and may be impacted.  Heralded as a major change in policy and implementation of release conditions for inmates the First Step Act of 2018 deals with six major subjects.  First it creates a new approach to Risk and Needs Assessments.  The Act creates a formula to reduce sentences served based on evaluation of the inmate’s likelihood of recidivism.  The Sentencing Commission and the Federal Bureau of prisons estimates that 106,114 inmate/offenders currently in custody can or will be impacted.   Section 102(b) increases good time credit available to currently in-custody offenders.  The estimate of the Sentencing Guidelines Commission is that 142,448 inmates are eligible for increases in good time credit.

Section 401 of the Act will only impact a very small number of inmates, estimated at only 56 offenders.  See the 851 enhancements for a fuller understanding of this reform or speak with a defense attorney specializing in federal matters.  The Act also broadens the existing Safety Valve departure but is limited to inmates with up to and less than four criminal history points in the pre-sentence report.  The estimate is that 2,045 inmates will benefit from this modification of sentence.  Section 403 impacts a very small number of inmates as if affects some, very few, firearms convicted detainees: an estimated 57 offenders convicted of a very limited list of firearms possession statutes.  The fact that the House, Senate and President Trump allowed any firearms to be included is a statement of how powerful the gun lobby is in the process of modifying federal sentences.  Even more to the point is the fact that this new Act exists at all.  If sentencing reform has any political will behind it then it should address a much broader pallet of issues and matters than the Act actually addresses.   Going further: Section 404 deals with aspects of the Fair Sentencing Act retroactively.  This section (404) affects 2,660 inmates in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.  Lastly, the report covers Section 603, the Federal Prison Reentry Initiative Reauthorization Act.  This affects the status of 1,882 inmates.  By way of an overview: The First Step Act is not a reform of federal sentencing and terms served.  It does not claim to be such and is not a true nor comprehensive sentencing reform statute.  It does not deal with Sentencing Guidelines, nor sentencing policy considerations.  It is not a reform in that it only brings some modifications to existing policies and programs.  Recidivism recognition, that is that inmates who are not a risk to return to criminal ways, has always been a major consideration in all aspects of sentencing.  The First Step Act does set up a structure for evaluating inmates even if the sentencing considerations of their individual cases were addressed by the federal judge at sentencing.  If anything, the importance of the new law is that it states that the purpose of the Act is to assist inmates returning from prison to society have a better opportunity to successfully transition from inmate to non-inmate status.  Maybe.

El-Chapo-1-296x300NARCOTICS SMUGGLING HIGHLIGHTED IN THE EL CHAPO TRIAL IN FEDERAL COURT IN NEW YORK

The federal trial in New York of reputed Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman Lorea, best known in the public eye as El Chapo, has, for many, brought focus on what is new and upsetting information about the efficacy of border searches and the proposed border wall. Testimony about the method and manner in which narcotics were smuggled into the United States has upset major public information sources from CNN to Fox News, and as well to our president Donald Trump.

The persistent and repeated testimony of drug smugglers has provided examples of how massive amounts of narcotics are brought into the United States across from Mexico without difficulty. It repeatedly shows that a wall would have no deterrent effect for professional and skilled narcotics traffickers. They move their drugs through the border protected areas through inspections under the very watchful eye of border patrol agents. It was in cooking oil tractor-trailers, it was in bales of flowers flown into Kennedy Airport, it was brought in as presidential emblems made in Mexico City for the inauguration. It was in plastic bananas that looked like real bananas, it may have fooled border agents it may have fooled inspectors but it did not fool trained monkeys.

If there’s a double meaning there, and there is, they made a monkey out of our inspection services. It made into the punchline of a joke  what is commonly thought of as the porous border between the United States and Mexico that facilitates narcotics smuggling. The testimony revealed that operatives for the cartel created front companies. Those companies exported cooking oil from Mexico into the United States. The cooking oil trucks were floating in cocaine. Tens of millions of dollars in transactions from drug cartel operatives went through the most worldwide international banking institutions in the planet. The ongoing federal criminal trial is taking place in Brooklyn, NY in the federal courthouse in the Eastern District of New York. Channel 10 news has regular coverage, and tourists flock to the federal courthouse for a glimpse of a trial that is both enlightening and salacious. The trial focuses and highlights the sheer magnitude of narcotics trafficking into the United States.  Seizures of narcotics on the Mexican border totaled over one and one half-million pounds. Seizures of marijuana alone at the US borders total 8.2 million pounds. 32,600 pounds of cocaine, 34,000 ounces of heroin, and 17,600 pounds of methamphetamine. Mexico is the US largest supplier of methamphetamine and marijuana. But as highlighted in the trial, the methods and manner of crossing the border would not be affected by a physical barrier. The cost in human suffering is by most standards immeasurable.

But if measurement be had, the Congressional research service tells us that in 2016 there were an estimated 948,000 individuals, 0.4% of the population 12 years and older uses heroin in United States.

prison-cells-jpg--300x169Federal sentencing was upset when the Supreme Court, in 2005, ruled that the Sentencing Guidelines are no longer mandatory but merely advisory.  What was then thought a landmark decision (taking sentencing from the heartland of the Guidelines back to judicial discretion) has been somewhat  illusory.  “Illusory”…yes as now a federal judge doing a sentencing of a federal criminal defendant now can sentence a non-guidelines sentence, if the judge desires.

Excerpt of the introduction of Federal Guidelines

This brief post is an introduction to the path from a sentence that is set by the Sentencing Guidelines Commission to a non-guidelines variance sentence.

First the court must determine what is the correct guidelines range, let’s use a level 21 Guidelines of 37 to 46 months and move forward.  First you must give a legal reason for the judge to pronounce a sentence that is non-guidelines.  There is a wealth of caselaw to use here.  In essence you are providing the judge, in a Defendant’s Sentencing Memorandum, the caselaw which supports a judicial finding that a non-guidelines sentence is appropriate.  All the arguments arise from federal statute  section 3553 which you find as 18 U.S.C. 3553(a)(1)-(7).  Read it.  You will see and you must be familiar with the four basics of sentencing policy created by the Congress in the statute  What follows is the basics, heartland and the entire world of sentencing: the 3553’s.  Read is slowly: The court must pronounce a sentence that is “sufficient but not greater than necessary” to achieve the goals of 3553. It must reflect the seriousness of the offense and at the same time promote respect for law.  The federal criminal sentence must also  provide a just, or appropriate punishment for the offense.  The sentence must provide adequate deterrence to any criminal conduct by others (future federal criminal defendants).

Moving on, it must protect the public from any further crimes by the defendant before the Court and the sentence should provide the defendant with some of the needed educational and or vocational training while in custody.  The federal criminal court judge must balance the purposes, nature and circumstances of the offense with the history and characteristics of the Defendant.  Then, with a look over the judicial shoulder and a view into the future, the judge must fashion a sentence that avoids unwarranted differences or disparities of sentence for like-situated defendants and provide for restitution so the victim is compensated.

Your federal criminal attorney will argue some of the leading cases such as Gall vs U.S. 552 US and a host of other cases.  What appears like a confusing mess is very simple after you see the path for federal sentencing.  Step one: convince the judge to give a non-guidelines sentence by demonstrating that the guidelines are either out of date or have been eclipsed by new law, new studies and new sentencing laws.  Just this past year the Congress passed and President Trump signed a new sentencing statute that puts most of the past twenty years of caselaw and sentences in a new light.

If you, or a loved one or friend, is facing a federal sentencing then take the time to read over 18 U.S.C. 3553(a)(1)-(7) and sit with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who knows your district court and it’s sentencing attitude.  Good luck!

 

 

 

PillsOwner and president of a New Port Richey pharmacy, Nicholas A. Borgesano, plead guilty to two counts of conspiracy in the Middle District of Florida on October 30th, 2017, for being at the center of a multi-million-dollar mediation fraud scheme.  Mr. Borgesano is 45 and his sentencing will be scheduled in federal court before United States District Judge James S. Moody Jr. and is facing a maximum of 15 years in prison.  Count one is for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and count two is for conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions involving criminally derived property.

According to the Department of Justice, the fraud ran from October 2012 to December 2015 and it impacted private insurance compaies, Medicare, and Tricare a health care program for the military.  Before him, seven others had plead guilty in connection to the scheme.  As part of his testimony, Mr. Borgesano explained that him and his co-conspirators owned and operated numerous pharmacies and shell companies to execute a fraud scheme involving prescription compounded medications. Per the Tampa bay Business Journal, compounding is when pharmacists or physicians combine drug ingredients to create another medication in order to attend to individual needs.

With this scheme they generated more than $100 million in fraudulent proceeds.  Mr. Borgesani owned and controlled A to Z Pharmacy, Havana Pharmacy, Medplus/Newlife Pharmacy, and Metropolitan Pharmacy, Jaimy Pharmacy, and Prestige Pharmacy.  It was in these pharmacies where he created the submission of false and fraudulent reimbursement claims for prescription compounded medications, pain creams, scar creams, and private insurances.  They all manipulated billing codes, paid for kick backs and bribes to further the exchanging and signing of prescriptions for patients he never saw.   The disbursement of all the money was done through wire transfer to the co-conspirators, by assets, or checks.

Most of all their properties will be forfeited including 50-foot racing boat, expensive cars, and houses which equal to over 7.6 million dollars. The total amount that will be forfeited is the result of everything that was purchased with income from the fraud scheme.

The investigation of this fraud scheme was part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force conducted by the FBI and with the assistance of HHS-OIG and DCIS.  According to the Department of Justice, The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.  They operate in nine different locations in the United States and since it’s creation on March 2007, it has charged over 3,500 defendants who have falsely billed the HealthCare system for $12.5 billion.

CollegeAt the beginning of this year CBS News reported that there were more than 300 open investigations of sexual violence at colleges and universities across the country according to the Department of Education.  They also explained that of the 223 schools under investigation, five are located in Florida.  The five schools are Full Sail University, Stetson University, the University of South Florida, the University of Miami and Florida State University.

The Orlando Sentinel also states that many Florida residents believe that no one ever gets convicted of rape on Florida’s public universities.  According to police records, in 2012 and 2013 55 rapes were reported on between different campuses but only five arrests were made and of those five cases, three have already been dismissed.

The parents of these victims feel that there is something wrong with the way universities and colleges are handling sexual assault and rape cases, they want law and regulations changed.  They also feel that there are hidden reasons why the schools handle these cases the way do and those hidden reasons are usually funding, student attendance, and the school’s reputation.

Under the investigation completed by the Orlando Sentinel, four of every five campus-rape cases were actually considered date rapes and three of every four of those cases, the alleged victim was extremely drunk or on drugs.  Alcohol and drugs created more complicated issues when the perpetrator and the victim are actually acquaintances at a social event, rather than when the perpetrator is a stranger.  Recently, the White House and Congress have declared that campus sexual assault and rape is a widespread issue and that colleges are doing too little to stop it.

According to the FCASV ( Florida Council Against Sexual Violence), the State of Florida university police departments say they take rape allegations seriously. They usually have several officers investigate. Then the victims are referred to victim’s advocates; witnesses and suspects are interviewed; security-camera videos and entry card-readers are checked; and clothing and other evidence are sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for DNA tests.

Universities have also created noncriminal student-discipline programs that victims can use instead of courts. They offer a lower standard of proof and no criminal punishment to certain students. This is because a sexual-battery conviction in Florida carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years and it also establishes the lifelong stigma as a sex offender, which many parents do not wish for their children.  State attorneys offer very few plea bargains for cases of this matter, most of them only offer a misdemeanor battery that doesn’t carry a sex-offender identification and no prison time.

Therefore, who is to blame for the lack of safety the students encounter on a daily basis? Are the schools doing a good enough job to keep the students safe and are they providing enough information on their campuses’ that explain where help could be found for those types of situations? Why are certain cases publicized and others are not? How are schools planning to fix these issues? These are a few of the many questions that parents and the Department of Education have for those in charge of the universities and colleges dealing with these types of crimes. According to the DOE, the number of victims of sexual assaults in college should be decreasing with how advanced criminal technology is nowadays, not increasing.

Sexual AssaultSexual assault cases are on the rise in the United States because victims are finally opening up about it after allegations against Hollywood movie producer, Harvey Weinstein. Sexual assault, according to the Bureau of Justice is a wide range of victimizations, separate from rape or attempted rape. These crimes include attacks or attempted attacks generally involving unwanted sexual contact between victim and offender. Sexual assaults may or may not involve force and include such things as grabbing or fondling. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling verbal threat, and attempted rape.

On October 5th, 2017, the New York Times published the initial article that opened the door to the Weinstein sexual harassment epidemic and those of other Hollywood artists.  According to the Rolling Stones, the article from the New York Times revealed allegations of many women who explained that Mr. Weinstein has been sexually harassing women in the industry for decades.  The allegations of these women went into deep patterns of intimidation and even rape.  This event is just one of the thousands of situations that happen around us everyday but the victims decide to suffer through it alone due to fear.

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), every 98 seconds, another person is experiencing sexual assault.  The number of people victimized each year is composed in the following way: 80,600 inmates were sexually assaulted or raped, 60,000 children were victims of “substantiated or indicated” sexual abuse, 321,500 Americans 12 and older were sexually assaulted or raped, and in the military 18,900 experienced unwanted sexual contact.  The majority of sexual assaults occur at or near the victim’s home, a public place, a relative’s home, parking lots or garages, or on school property.

The Rolling Stones explains that Weinstein’s victims date incidents back to 1984 and since then almost 30 reports followed into 2015.  The investigations have been able to reveal the pattern he had when committing these crimes.  Weinstein would invite younger women to his hotel room or apartment on a professional pretense, appear in a bathrobe or completely undressed, and request a massage and/or sexual favors, either implicitly or explicitly offering the exchange for career advancement. Many of the victims refused to speak about these incidents in public due to fear of jeopardizing their careers.

Many of these cases are not reported in a timely manner because woman believe that they live in a society where they are discouraged from coming forward with stories of harassment and rape.  According to the National Institute of Justice 9 out 10 victims of rape are females and only these statistics have not changed since 1998.  When these types of crimes are committed it is important to report them as soon as possible because each state has different statutes of limitations.

Since statutes of limitations vary from state to state it is important for victims to understand that the sooner they report these crimes the quicker the police will catch these perpetrators. This is crucial when there is DNA involved.  When conducting an investigation DNA evidence can make or break the outcome of the alleged crime. These types of forensic exams are beneficial in three ways:  it increases the likelihood of identifying the perpetrator, it increases the likelihood of holding them accountable, and it prevents them from committing future sexual assaults.

CrashThe State of Florida continues with its operations to crack down on Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud and it has encountered two more cases in the past two weeks. One of the PIP kickback schemes discovered totaled in $2 million and the other one totaled in $23 million dollars.  Attorneys, chiropractors, and clinic owners are all being charged with auto insurance fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and health care fraud.

According to the court papers filed with U.S. District court in Miami, they are accused of orchestrating a kickback scheme to take advantage of the state’s mandatory personal injury protection car insurance program.   They are also accused of using chiropractors and tow truck drivers to solicit patients and clients.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation explains that the intent of the PIP program was to provide injured drivers up to $10,000 in immediate medical coverage in lieu of establishing fault through the court system.  Their goal was to reduce payment delay for injured drivers, as well as limit the utilization of the court system.  In the State of Florida, PIP coverage is required to be purchased by everyone who owns a motor vehicle that is registered in the state.

According to the Sun Sentinel, the state and federal government spent years and millions of taxpayer dollars wiring up witnesses and tapping phones thinking these clinics were leading a Russian organized crime network, instead they discovered a crime ring of corrupt clinic owners, chiropractors, and lawyers who operated in Miami, Broward, and Palm Beach County. Their operation was so elaborate that they defrauded the insurance companies more than $23 million between 2010 and this year.  If convicted the defendants could face 20 years or more in federal prison.

The crime investigators stated that kickbacks between $500 to $2100 per patient were given to tow truck drivers and body shop owners who would direct the accident victims to clinic that were owned by the defendants.  They would have the doctors and chiropractors register the clinics under their names to cover up their ownership.  The defendants would tell these doctors and chiropractors the treatment the victims were going to receive based on the amount of money they believed the case was worth and not the treatment the victim actually need it. The medical staff knew exactly what to write on the medical reports in order for the victim to qualify for the entire amount of benefits available based on the insurance policy.

The prosecutors on this case are calling these clinics “PIP mills” in relation to “pill mills” that have also under been under investigation because of insurance fraud.  The defendants are both being held in federal prison and without bond because of fear that they will flee the country because of ties and frequent travels to Ukraine and Israel.

 

OpioidsThe opioid crisis continues to worsen throughout the entire county, but in certain states more than others because the drug has become more accessible.  To makes matters worse, insurance companies are taking advantage of this situation by overcharging for the drug treatment needed by those who suffer from all types of drug addictions. One of the rehab capitals of the United States is Palm Beach County, Florida.  The state of Florida has a billion-dollar drug treatment industry that, according to an NBC investigation, is overwhelmed by clients who continue to overdose and increase in insurance fraud.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others. The reason why people are abusing the use of the drug is because not only does it relieve pain but it produces euphoria that many become dependent on. Overdoses on opioids have continued to severely increase since 2007, especially because the drug is now being mixed with other drugs to produce other addictive effects.  Family members of the drug abusers rely on drug treatment centers to save their loved ones but the outcome is the complete opposite.

Dave Aronberg, Palm Beach County’s top prosecutor and State Attorney, stated to the NBC News investigator that the entire drug treatment industry has been corrupted by the accessibility of easy money.  Mr. Aronberg also explains that, the actors of this industry have taken advantage of well-intended federal law, and a lack of any good law at the state level, to profit off people at the lowest stages of their lives.

The law he refers to is the Affordable Care Act, which along with the federal Mental Health Parity Act passed in 2008, was meant to ensure people suffering from addiction could get the care they needed. People saw this as an opportunity to make a lot of money and have taken advantage of desperate people, who are usually young or dependent on their families. These scammers have also made it difficult for genuine and ethical centers to prosper because people are losing faith in the credibility of these centers.

According to the investigation done by NBC News, within a few months of a drug abuser reaching the drug treatment centers, they would call their family members stating that they had transferred to another sober home. Bills from the insurance companies kept arriving to their homes with treatment worth thousands of dollars. The bills included from medical treatments, lab tests, chiropractic therapy, and counseling.  When they family members of these victims called the treatment centers to figure out why the bills were so high, the person on the other end of the phone would hang up. The insurance bills detailed charges of $5,000.00 for things like a urine test or $1,800.00 for one counseling session. One of the victims bills reached $1.2 million for only 15 months of treatment, even though they were bounced among nine different facilities.

Governor Rick Scott, officially declared Florida’s opioid crisis a state of emergency in May of 2017. Also, legislators recently passed a bill that would increase penalties for brokering. They believe this will give prosecutors sharper tools to crack down on what a grand jury last December found was rampant brokering and fraud across the insurance industry.

StudentsAccording to the Florida Sun Sentinel in 2005, teacher Blake Sinrod, was accused of molesting four third grade students at Coral Sunset Elementary School.  He fondled the four girls in his classroom during their reading groups, a classroom movie, and he would also instruct them to touch his genitals or he would he would place their hands on his genitals over his clothes. After a 12-year-old lawsuit, the Palm Beach County School District gave the approval for a $3.6 million settlement.

Mr. Blake Sinrod was fired from Coral Sunset Elementary in 2006 and his teaching license was revoked in 2008.  Mr. Sinrod plead guilty in 2006 to molesting two of the four girls but the four families persisted in filing a joint civil suit against the school district.  According to file from 2006, the defense used by Mr. Dale Friedman, the defense attorney, was that the victims were old enough to understand the consequences of of their actions and conducted themselves in careless and negligent minor.  The parents of the four victims could not believe this was the defense tactic used by the school district.

Attorney Dale Friedman, told the Sun Sentinel that the district’s outrageous claim was used in an effort to reduce potential damages the district might have to pay out, a tactic she referred to as “comparative negligence.” Friedman insists, “We have never blamed the girls or given them the appearance of holding the girls responsible for what their teacher did.” But this defense only weakened the defense’s case further because it re-victimized the victims. According to Mr. Jeffrey Herman, an attorney who represents victims of sexual abuse, explained that he had never witnessed the use of such a defense and the fact that the school district was blaming the four girls of what happened to them would remain as permanent record of the case.

However, when the parents of the four third grade students filed a civil law suit in 2006, their lawyer at the time, Charles Bechert, said that the parents believed their children were preyed upon in part because they were immigrants and that perhaps the teacher thought their parents would not know how to report the crimes, or feel comfortable doing so.  This is something that continues to happen to children all over the world but children do not speak out about it because of fear of their families being deported or hurt in any form.

According to 7 News what infuriated the parents of the victims and their attorneys is that the school district failed to investigate or take proper action against Blake Sinrod in the sexual molestation incidents in 2003.  The Sun Sentinel reports that the school district also uses as its defense that Mr. Sinrod’s actions were unknown and beyond the foresight of a reasonably prudent person.  But this insufficient for both the parents of the victims and their attorneys because they do not understand how the School District did not think that this man was a danger to the students and why he was not revoked of his teaching license from that very moment.

MarijuanaAccording to ABC News a senior citizen and her son, in Pasco County Florida, explain that the nursing home where she lives is denying her potential pain relief, by refusing to allow her to have the medical marijuana she has a legal prescription to take. This seems to be an issue that is affecting Florida residents who live in long term care facilities throughout the state. Ms. Simpson, who is  attached to a wheelchair and suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, has tried everything she could have possibly tried to assist her with the medical conditions she suffers from, but medical marijuana  had given her faith in a new alternative that would allow to live a little more comfortably.

Medical marijuana legislation in the State of Florida was finally established by the governor on June 16, 2017 after years of Florida residents explaining to the government all its health benefits. In Amendment 2 of the Constitution of the State of Florida, patients with a debilitating medical condition will not be found subjects to criminal or civil liability for consuming medical marijuana.  Debilitating medical conditions mean cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.

Ms. Simpson’s son explains that after medical marijuana became legal in Florida, a doctor prescribed it for his mother and she applied for a compassionate use permit. When she was finally approved, and the medicine was delivered, they gave it to him and told him he had to take it home with him because it would not be permitted inside the nursing home. But according to a healthcare expert from the University of Florida, even though Ms. Simpson had a legitimate medical therapy reason for the use of medical marijuana and a prescription for it, it doesn’t mean they have to allow her to take it if they can provide her with other options for her pain.  This is one of the biggest dilemmas with the statue because it is not completely clear on the regulations of long term health care facilities and the acceptance of medical marijuana therapy.

States like California, Colorado, and other states have found other alternatives to balancing the use of medical marijuana in long term health care facilities.   Instead of having their patients, who suffer from chronic diseases, consume the marijuana inside the medical facilities, they offer to take the patients to close by dispensaries where they can practice this therapy without breaking the law. Unfortunately, medical marijuana is a scheduled narcotic and is considered a private business, therefore nursing homes can set their own rules regarding its use in their facilities, even if it causes their residents to live uncomfortably.  Issues such as this one will push the government to amend Section 381.986, F.S., or to create a brand new legislation that clarifies the rules and regulations of the use of medical marijuana with better ways of providing it to its consumer.