As an increasing number of states legalize the use of marijuana, Americans are left wondering what role will federal prosecutions for marijuana crimes take in the future. The recent Federal Budget Plan proposed to Congress features protections that are specifically for the cannabis industry. The bill’s language blocks the Department of Justice from spending money that would prevent states from “implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
While this offers some reassurance to cannabis dispensaries and patients using medical marijuana for treatment, the bill does not provide any assurances for recreational marijuana users. This means that any marijuana possession, cultivation, or use remains a federal crime that is subject to fines and prison time. As such, the Department of Justice can still prosecute individuals for marijuana crimes as part of their procedure.
The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment
According to some advocates, the new budget bill is another step in the right direction. In 2014, legislation was enacted to prevent the U.S. Department of Justice from targeting marijuana users who are abiding by their state’s laws. Known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, this particular piece of legislation has been used to prevent DEA enforcement and prosecution in states with medical marijuana laws. However, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ hardline stance against marijuana legalization, cannabis users were worried that pro-marijuana legislation would expire or be repealed. The new budget proposal seems to indicate that pro-marijuana laws will at least be considered by the Department of Justice.
Changes in Nebraska Marijuana Law
In Nebraska, marijuana possession is still illegal despite neighboring states’ loosening of restrictions. Because marijuana, like heroin and LSD, is considered a Schedule I drug at the Federal level, the transportation of marijuana legally purchased in Colorado, a neighbor state, is illegal and could result in prison time if prosecuted. Therefore, even with potential enactment of budget language that would provide some shielding in other states, both federal and state law enforcement could target marijuana users in the state of Nebraska.
Marijuana Defense Attorney
Despite changing policies, marijuana businesses and casual users continue to face persecution by law enforcement. If you or someone you love has been arrested for marijuana possession or cultivation, Berry Law may be able to help. As we have discussed, drug laws are constantly being altered to keep up with a changing general public. This is why it’s important to find a lawyer who is experienced and familiar with marijuana laws at both the state and federal levels.
At Berry Law, we know how serious the penalties for drug crimes can be. Our team of lawyers is here to aggressively defend your rights. Let us put our skills to work for you today.