With the rapid rise of marijuana legalization comes potentially vexing legal issues for consumers and the rise of marijuana lawyers. The key issue arising is the difference between federal and state law as marijuana is still federally classified as a schedule one substance, placing it in the same category as heroin, cocaine, and meth. This deeply flawed classification stems from a mostly weak premise that marijuana causes as much societal crime and strife as heroin – which is, at this time, contributing to one of America’s most serious drug epidemics in recent memory. Marijuana was moved to a schedule one classified drug during Nixon’s failed War on Drugs. Rather than target high-level cocaine dealers, Nixon redirected federal resources to go after petty criminals who were mostly minorities. Some say that Nixon’s approach was a thinly veiled manner in which to control the radical left, i.e., hippies, anti-war protesters, the Black Panthers, and the environmental movement. Maybe Nixon should have smoked some pot as it may have calmed his historically unparalleled paranoia.
And yes, there was a rise in crime in the Seventies; however, the new federal approach emphasized the seizing of property through “presumptive warrants.” This increase in crime meant that if an individual were to house a relatively small amount of marijuana, his assets could be seized and redistributed amongst the DEA and local police departments as a financial reward. Free market substance policing incentivized excessive persecution, especially of poor minorities. Worsening this trend was Regan’s mandatory minimum sentencing. In unison, schedule one classification and mandatory minimums bloated the prison population with mostly nonviolent, minority criminals.
This unreasonable, micro-targeting of those in more precarious socioeconomic standings continued with Bill Clinton’s three-strike law. An individual who committed one violent felony could be jailed for life if he committed two other nonviolent felonies. For example, hypothetically speaking, a young man that was tried and convicted of felony assault, and who may have eventually turned his life around by not committing any more similar charges, could go to jail for life, based on committing two separate instances of felony marijuana possession. Meaning, a criminal may have tamed or eradicated his violent tendencies, but, due to financial standing, may have started to sell pot to support himself or family and because of the prior felony, would face the potentiality of life in prison. All in all, the fracturing of the African-American family was a negative externality of an unconscionable marijuana policy.
Lest not forget, the paranoia associated with marijuana honestly started to gather steam with the influx of immigrants from Mexico during the 1930s. What once was considered a relatively well-received drug, morphed into a xenophobically perceived substance. Obviously, the justification behind its illegalization was a direct consequence of a “fear of the foreigner.” Before illegalization of Marijuana, it was widely available at local pharmacies and stores – it was often used in medicinal concoctions and healing elixirs. One such example of a product before Marijuana’s illegalization was a hashish candy that helped control anxiety.
False perceptions deriving from “American hysteria” gave way to swiftly changing public opinion and pro-marijuana consumption scientific studies. What once was a society jaded by flicks like “Reefer Madness” quickly transitioned its views toward marijuana legalization, especially concerning its health benefits, such as easing the pain of cancer patients. Within a matter of decades, medicinal marijuana started to become legalized at the state level, challenging the Federal Government’s notion of marijuana being a menace to society. Also, some states chose to go the entire route and legalize it completely. As of now, medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and D.C., while marijuana is completely legal in 8 states. Marijuana lawyers are in need now more than ever.
Now, with the expansion of marijuana, comes the ever-increasing complexity of US marijuana law. We here at Leafbuyer find it crucial to explain some of the most common violations for marijuana consumers, whether it be crossing state lines with marijuana or driving while under the influence, ultimately “refeer” (cleva gal) those with pending legal charges to the appropriate legal counsel.
Crossing state lines with marijuana
Transporting marijuana from a recreational or medicinal marijuana state into a prohibited state violates both state and federal law. And remember, ignorance of the law isn’t a compelling defense, in particular for the Feds. Incidentally, crossing from a legal marijuana state into another legal marijuana state could, from a Constitutional perspective, topple the total legality of state instituted marijuana legalization. Due to the existence of the Commerce Clause, transporting illegal goods across state lines could lead to a case reaching the Supreme Court, which, possibly, could invalidate state Marijuana laws due to a compelling state interest to control the substance. So, it’s best to follow state and federal law in regards to the transportation of marijuana.
Marijuana DUI laws
Remember, marijuana is on par with alcohol in the sense of legal punishment for moving a motor vehicle while under the influence. And while the standard of testing is different between the two, the legal repercussions are just as severe, which is where marijuana lawyers come in. Disappointedly, I’ve heard quite a few odd justifications that marijuana isn’t as “bad” because people under the influence are less reckless and drive slow. Now, to be frank: driving under the influence only complicates things for people who follow marijuana policy. It is safely presumed that the more violations that occur, the more marijuana itself will be regulated. As for the legal consequences, be ready receive fines up upward to $10,000 and possible jail time.
Exceeding homegrown marijuana state-imposed limits
Along with personal use becoming legal, many states also permitted homegrown pot, which is especially beneficial to those with major illnesses. However, strict limits in many states prevent a home grower from growing what the state perceives to be “too much, – some recreational jurisdictions have even imposed a ban on homegrown. For example, in Washington State, it’s illegal to grow pot in one’s house. A failure to abide by this law is a felony and would result in hefty fines. Now, in Alaska, residents can have up to 12 homegrown plants in their home. Worst of all, growing too much may be viewed as a distributional felony which could warrant an elongated jail sentence. Remember, once a felony label is attached, a person will be barred from voting, prevented from obtaining student loans, and, ultimately, employment will be difficult to obtain. So, it is crucial to analyze the laws in a state-by-state manner because these statutes vary drastically.
If you, or a friend of yours, gets involved with marijuana-related legal issues, seeking legal assistance could ease the financial burden. Moreover, it could prevent jail time. The rapidly emerging marijuana market is also contributing to a booming legal market, especially in states with new marijuana DUI laws, so finding an attorney in this niche of law is easier. If you need help finding an attorney, please check out the database at the end of this piece to discover marijuana lawyers near you. The database is set up in a clear and concise fashion in a state-by-state manner. Just click on the applicable state(s) in regards to where the marijuana charge occurred so you can find yourself the best attorney possible. Most important, make sure to research the firm and individual marijuana lawyers before forming a contractual agreement.
Visit http://lawyers.norml.org/ to find a lawyer.
Article By: Jason Newell