Will the Federal Government Legalize Marijuana?

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East Hartford drug crimes defense lawyerThe laws in the United States related to marijuana have undergone many changes in recent years, and this has led to some confusion about which laws apply in which locations. Multiple states, including Connecticut, have made marijuana legal for both recreational and medical use. Other states only allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes, and some still consider it to be an illegal drug. At the federal level, marijuana is still considered to be a controlled substance, which means that people could potentially face federal charges even if they purchase marijuana legally in one state but transport it to another state. Lawmakers have taken steps to address these issues, and recently, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act

In July of 2022, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon formally introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) in the U.S. Senate. When doing so, they noted that the overwhelming majority of people in the United States support the legalization of marijuana, and the majority of Americans also live in states where cannabis is legal in some form. They also stated that the so-called “war on drugs” and the prosecution of crimes related to marijuana has negatively affected many people, especially people of color, and decriminalization of marijuana will promote both justice and public safety.

In its current form, the CAOA would make the following changes to federal law:

  • Cannabis would be removed from the federal list of controlled substances and states would be allowed to implement their own laws and policies regarding the possession, use, sale, and distribution of marijuana.

  • Regulation of cannabis would no longer be the responsibility of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and would instead be handled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). This would establish health and safety standards for cannabis products, ensure that state laws prohibit the possession and use of marijuana by people under the age of 21, establish licensing requirements for marijuana producers and labeling standards for cannabis products, and allow cannabis businesses to access financial services and claim tax deductions for business expenses.

  • Federal convictions for marijuana offenses would be automatically expunged, and states would be encouraged to take similar actions for people who have been convicted of state-level drug crimes related to marijuana possession or distribution.

  • People who had previously used marijuana would no longer be prohibited from receiving federal benefits such as student loans.

  • Federal employees would no longer be required to undergo drug testing for marijuana use.

Contact Our Hartford Drug Crimes Attorney

While federal laws related to marijuana may change in the future, there are currently a number of situations where people can face criminal charges for possessing, distributing, or selling this drug or other substances. Those who are facing drug crime charges need to understand their options for defense. At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can provide strong, effective representation in these cases and we can help our clients determine whether diversion programs may be available or whether they may be able to take action to remove previous arrests or convictions from their record. To learn how we can assist with criminal cases involving marijuana or other drugs, contact our Connecticut drug charges lawyer at 860-290-8690 and schedule a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.booker.senate.gov/news/press/booker-schumer-wyden-introduce-cannabis-administration-and-opportunity-act

https://norml.org/blog/2022/07/21/senate-leadership-introduces-legislation-to-end-federal-marijuana-prohibition/

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