Marijuana Law

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What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana, derived from the cannabis plant, is typically ingested through inhalation. Marijuana is a Schedule I drug according to the federal government, but many states have begun a process of decriminalization, typically through medical marijuana initiatives.

Federal Marijuana Prosecution

Like most other illicit drugs, marijuana use is not usually prosecuted under federal law. However, over recent years, the federal government has shifted considerable attention on the international and domestic marijuana trade. This focus is aimed primarily at disrupting domestic growers and distributors, as well as stopping importation of marijuana from foreign countries.

State Marijuana Prosecution

States all have their own set of fines and penalties for anything from mere possession of marijuana to the sale of large quantities. Marijuana related crimes are often wobblers, and may be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the case and any aggravating factors. The following is a general breakdown of the parameters of state prosecution:

Keep in mind that some states, like Washington and Colorado, have recently legalized marijuana for recreational use. This does not, however, exempt a person from crimes that may result from the use of marijuana, such as driving under the influence.

Are There Any Defenses I Could Use If I Am Accused of Possessing or Selling Marijuana?

The defenses to possession or sales of marijuana are typically the same as most illegal drugs. The only differences between marijuana and other drugs may be that marijuana can be used for medical purposes. Note that medical use of marijuana is not a defense under federal law.

Defenses to Marijuana Possession

Defenses to Marijuana Sales

Should I Hire an Attorney for Marijuana Issues?

If you have been accused of or arrested for possessing or selling marijuana, you may find the aid of a criminal defense attorney extremely helpful. The advice of a defense attorney may help you understand both the procedural aspects of criminal prosecution and local attitudes in your jurisdiction toward prosecution for possession of this drug.

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Last Modified: 03-05-2014 12:50 PM PST

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