The United States has a confusing patchwork of state and federal laws related to marijuana. Medicinal and recreational use, amounts for legal possession, paraphernalia, and other matters related to marijuana can all be subject to different legal regulations depending upon the state one happens to be in – or even different places within the same state. Because of this, the enforcement of marijuana laws is also confusing, and some defendants are treated unfairly as a result. It is important for defendants charged with marijuana offenses to have the advice of an experienced marijuana defense attorney, so that their case is not unfairly prosecuted due to confusion in applicable marijuana laws.
State Marijuana Laws and Federal Marijuana Laws
One of the most basic conflicts in marijuana law across the United States is different regulations in state and federal laws. For example, many states (including Georgia) allow for the medicinal use of marijuana products by eligible patients who obtain a marijuana card from the state. Federal law recognizes no such exemption. Under federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance. This designation is given to highly dangerous drugs with no recognized medical benefits. Other Schedule I substances include heroin, LSD, and peyote.
Because so many states allow for the medicinal use of marijuana, federal law enforcement agencies have generally not prosecuted those who adhere to state marijuana laws in violation of federal laws. This common sense approach to a convoluted legal problem may be overruled by new Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions has made no secret of this abhorrence of marijuana. He is implemented his own personal war on drugs through policies within the Justice Department. The Washington Post reports that Sessions issued a memo to all federal prosecutors shortly after taking office in 2017. The memo directed prosecutors to “pursue the most severe penalties possible” by charging defendants with the most serious crimes they could. These aggressive policies are likely to create conflict between permissive state regulations of medical marijuana and aggressive federal prosecution policy.
Even simple matters of geography can complicate marijuana regulations. Federal lands remain under federal jurisdiction, regardless of what state they are in. As a result, medical marijuana cardholders can be charged with possession of medical marijuana in a state which allows it, if they happen to be on federal lands at the time. National parks, federal office buildings, historic sites, and similar locations are common examples of federal lands which are subject to federal marijuana laws.
Aggressive Defense of All Types of Marijuana Charges
Confusion in the applicability of state and federal marijuana laws can lead to unfair and inconsistent enforcement of these laws. With the experienced advice of a marijuana defense attorney, defendants can mitigate the consequences of criminal charges. They will also be better able to protect their important constitutional rights throughout the criminal proceedings. Call 678-889-7953 today to schedule your free consultation. Our extensive knowledge of marijuana law, friendly staff, and personalized service will ease the burden of the criminal case process.