Marijuana Reformation through the. . .
Marijuana Reformation through the Federal Government
The effort for marijuana legalization across the nation has faced some changes last month when President Obama signed and passed a spending bill through Congress. The bill, which became law on December 16, 2014, not only provides the Federal Government with over a trillion dollars of funds to be used through the summer of 2015, but it also limits the Federal Government’s prosecution against medical marijuana users and sellers in certain states.
The 1,603-page bill, known as the “Cromnibus Bill”, that deals with federal spending measures also includes a provision that collectively prohibits the Department of Justice from arresting, charging, and prosecuting any citizen who uses or dispenses marijuana for medical purposes so long as they are complying with their state’s medical marijuana laws. Specifically, Section 538 of the bill, labeled as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, provides that the funds dispersed
through the bill cannot be used to prevent, interfere, or disrupt the states that have legalized medical marijuana from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
Under this section of the bill, individuals who reside in a state where medical marijuana is legal will no longer have to worry about being arrested by federal agents for using marijuana for medicinal purposes. In states that allow for medical marijuana, the narcotic must be prescribed by a licensed doctor to patients who use may use marijuana for medical purposes. Furthermore, licensed medical marijuana dispensaries operating legally in a medical marijuana approved state will not have to worry anymore about federal agents raiding, seizing, and/or shutting down their businesses. Currently, twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized
medical marijuana and eleven additional states have approved “low THC, high cannabidiol products for medical reasons”. Before the “Cromnibus Bill” was passed into legislation, many federal drug agencies would arrest and prosecute individuals and businesses on marijuana charges even though these individuals and operations were complying with the medical marijuana laws of their state. Because marijuana is classified as a Schedule One Substance under the Controlled Substances Act at the federal level, the narcotic is still illegal to possess and distribute.
Although the federal government has continued to label marijuana as a high level narcotic, they have recently begun to take a less strict stance on the drug. In fact, former Attorney General Eric Holder issued
a memo back in 2009 encouraging federal prosecutors to back off from prosecuting people who act in accordance with their state’s medical marijuana laws. While this was a positive step in the fight for the nationwide legalization of medical marijuana, the recent passage of the spending bill has officially prohibited the federal government from interfering with state medical marijuana laws. The passage of this bill progresses the step towards the legalization of medical marijuana throughout the nation. However, several states still have strict laws that ban the use of marijuana for any purposes, including medicinal. Florida is one of these states that has not legalized the narcotic for any reason, other than the recent law that allows for low dose THC treatments to be administered to terminally ill patients. Therefore, if you have been arrested and charged with a crime relating to marijuana use, it is important that you contact, it is important to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable in this aspect of the law.