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Marijuana: Conflicts Between Federal and State Laws

Under federal law, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means that it is illegal to possess or use marijuana under any circumstances. In direct conflict with federal law, however, is the law in more than half of the states that makes it permissible to possess or use marijuana in certain situations. Some states permit only medical marijuana usage, and other states permit some recreational usage. For example, the state of Texas enacted the Texas Compassionate Use Act, a very restrictive medical marijuana law, in 2015, but it still conflicts with federal law. IN Texas, you can use low-THC cannabis products with a doctor’s recommendation to treat intractable epilepsy. Whatever the case may be, there is steadily growing tension in the conflict between federal law pertaining to marijuana and state law that legalizes the drug in some respects.

There are other aspects of this federal-state law conflict, as well. For instance, federal law prohibits unlawful users of controlled substances (including marijuana) for possessing firearms in a manner that affects interstate commerce. Therefore, it is a federal criminal offense to sell a firearm to an individual who uses marijuana, even if that individual legally possesses marijuana pursuant to Texas law.

There are local conflicts with federal marijuana law, as well. While it remains illegal under federal law to possess or use this Schedule 1 controlled substance, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg essentially decriminalized marijuana possession last year, in that possession of less than four ounces of marijuana is now subject to a small fine and required attendance at a “decision making” class; this type of offense also results in no criminal record. This county-led decriminalization also remains at odds with Texas state law, which provides only for marijuana possession for medicinal purposes in very narrow circumstances.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have the experience and knowledge needed to represent the interests of those individuals charged with drug-related criminal offenses, including crimes involves marijuana. We will focus on gathering evidence on your behalf, building a strong defense in your case, and developing the best strategy for defending your case. The earlier we get involved with your case, the more help we can offer you. Don’t hesitate to contact us today and learn what we can to help.

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Posted in Drug Crimes

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