During the recent elections, California voters passed Proposition 64, which legalized the use of cannabis for recreational purposes. So, the issue is settled, and now Californians are free to enjoy marijuana at their leisure, right? Well, not so fast. Other election results could have a profound effect on a citizen's right to both use and sell marijuana for personal, and even medical purposes.
The core issue is that regardless of whatever legislation is passed in California, marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. In fact, it is considered a Schedule 1 drug, putting it in the same category as such powerful substances as LSD or heroin.
The fear among California pot sellers and advocates is based on the election of Donald Trump to the office of the presidency. More specifically, one of the leading nominees for the position of attorney general in the Trump administration is Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama.
On the one hand, president-elect Trump has stated that he believes that use of recreational and medical marijuana is a states-rights issue. But, the director of a leading drug-law reform group says that by all indications, Sessions would be a "nightmare," regarding all drug policy, including that which pertains to marijuana.
So as it stands, perhaps the most accurate assessment of the situation is, "who knows?" Time will tell how things will work out. However, it is important to remember that the sale and possession of marijuana are still federal crimes and will be for the foreseeable future.
Typically, the federal government is only going to press charges in cases it considers especially serious. This means if you receive federal charges for marijuana or other drug-related crimes, it is imperative that you have the assistance of an experienced attorney. An attorney who has successfully defended clients in federal courts could work to make sure your rights are protected and help to minimize or even eliminate the possibility of incarceration.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Buzz kill: Pot industry worried Trump, Sessions will erase gains," David Downs, Nov. 18, 2016