OUACHITA PARISH, Louisiana. Despite the decriminalization of marijuana (and legalization of the drug) in many states, the DEA continues to classify marijuana as a Class 1 substance. This means that under U.S. federal law, marijuana is treated as a substance with the same kind of risk or danger as heroin. According to Vice News, the DEA found that there remains a high potential for marijuana abuse. Yet, despite the federal classification of the drug, recreational marijuana is legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Washington.
After the recent election, 29 states permit marijuana use for medicinal purposes, with another 65 million people living in states where recreational marijuana use is legal. This means that, while a person could face jail time for using marijuana in one state, another person can freely purchase marijuana at a store in another. According to Politico, we may see a showdown in which the will of the states may come head to head with the federal government.
President-elect Donald Trump nominated Senator Jefferson Sessions as the attorney general. Senator Sessions has long taken an antagonistic stance toward marijuana. Sessions has also critiqued the Obama administration for failing to enforce the federal classification of marijuana as a Class 1 substance.
It isn’t clear whether Sessions will begin to crack down on marijuana use in states where it has been approved for medical or medicinal use. His agenda includes cracking down on illegal immigration and relaxing federal oversight of local police forces. Sessions could, theoretically, decide to arrest marijuana growers, retailers, and users in states where marijuana is legal.
While many states continue to debate whether marijuana should be legal in any form, a Sessions decision to crack down on marijuana where it has been legalized could wreak havoc on a $6.7 billion industry. While many believe that Sessions will respect the will of the states, at the end of the day, many understand that their states have to take his stance on trust. Others have expressed concern that Sessions will bring back Reagan-era enforcement.
As it stands, memos with the U.S. attorneys essentially ask that federal attorneys avoid prosecuting marijuana cases. But, with a new attorney general, it is possible that large marijuana growers and sellers could face federal crackdowns or enforcement. What does this mean for individuals facing criminal charges for marijuana? As of right now, nothing. State laws hold when it comes to marijuana enforcement, penalties, and jail time. If you live in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana and are facing marijuana charges, it may be wise to seek out the drug possession criminal defense lawyers at Ross Downs. Drug possession charges can have a serious impact on your future, your freedom, and your reputation. If you were stopped on a DUI under suspicion of driving while under the influence, you could face more serious charges and may even lose your driver’s license. Ross Downs is a lawyer who is watching closely as marijuana law and policy continues to evolve. If you are facing criminal charges for marijuana or drug possession, visit www.rossdownslaw.com to learn more about your options and rights.