Medical Marijuana Lawyers
Are There Any Federal Regulations on Medical Marijuana?
As the result of a June 2005 Supreme Court case, the federal government received the power to prohibit the cultivation, possession, and use of medical marijuana in all states. Prior to this decision, Congress did not have the authority to create laws monitoring the noncommercial growth of marijuana and marijuana that did not cross state borders.
Other Types of Federal Medical Marijuana Prosecution
Since marijuana is federally classified as a Schedule I drug, individuals involved in the cultivation, distribution, prescription, and marketing of marijuana are eligible for prosecution under federal law, even in states that have legalized medical marijuana. The following are groups that are typically involved in federal marijuana prosecutions:
- Cultivators -Those who grow and cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, even if permitted and approved by the state government, are subject to potential prosecution. These individuals are in violation of federal laws, most notably the Controlled Substances Act, which make it illegal to grow, cultivate, or manufacture Schedule I drugs.
- Distributors - In states where medical marijuana has been legalized, various forms of distributors have emerged that have state permission to distribute marijuana only to those with prescriptions or membership cards. These operations vary in size and quality, but almost all are subject to federal prosecution for the distribution of a Schedule I substance.
- Doctors - In states where prescriptive medical marijuana has been legalized, doctors can also face federal prosecution. Most often, doctors will not face criminal prosecution, but because medical licenses are federally distributed, the government has the ability to either sanction the doctor or remove their certification.
What Are My State's Guidelines on Medical Marijuana?
Some states, such as Illinois, Texas, New York, and Florida, do not have laws validating marijuana use. However, ten states and the District of Columbia have regulations which justify medical marijuana. For example, under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, Californians received protection from the state when using medical marijuana in certain situations.
How Does the Federal Ruling Affect State Laws?
When federal and state laws conflict, the federal rule prevails. Therefore, if Congress bans medical marijuana, states allowing it will need to make modifications. Although such a change will certainly affect state lawmaking, the federal government is currently responsible for just about one percent of marijuana prosecutions.
Should I Contact a Defense Attorney about My Involvement with Medical Marijuana?
Because marijuana cultivation, possession, and use in any state involves severe consequences, including time in federal prison, it is extremely advisable for any grower, distributor, user, or doctor who prescribes marijuana to discuss the potential of federal prosecution with an attorney.
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Last Modified: 04-05-2012 11:20 AM PDT