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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Regulating Marijuana Comes With Uncertainty

Proposition 64
If you live in California you are probably aware that Proposition 64 (Adult Use of Marijuana Act) was passed by voters in November 2016. And with voter approval, California became one of eight states and the District of Columbia where it is legal for adults to use cannabis products. It is a sign that more and more Americans across the country are in favor of lightening restrictions on a drug that has been deemed illegal by the Federal government for over 80 years.

The reasons why Californians voted the way they did are varied, but many would probably argue that marijuana prohibition has done far more bad for society, than good. While many scientists and health experts agree that the drug can have a negative impact on the mind and body (especially on teenagers and young adults), they would also argue that the punishment for using the drug has never matched the severity of the crime.

California has a long history of being involved in the movement to change marijuana policy in America. In 1996, Californians were the first to pass and institute a medical marijuana program. Now, twenty years late the state is gearing up for legal pot beginning on January 1, 2018. The process of instituting a recreational pot industry should not be “too” difficult, since several other states have already paved the way (i.e. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, et al.). However, as California works to put in place cannabis regulations, there is some uncertainty regarding the Federal government.

Over the last eight years, the previous White House administration essentially left states to their own devices regarding marijuana law, even though the drug was still illegal under Federal law. Naturally, we are all living in different times than just over a month ago. It seems the current Commander-in-Chief and Attorney General's outlooks on marijuana legislation might be more conservative than previous administrations. So, it probably won’t come as any surprise that there is talk of taking a hard stance on marijuana law by both the White House and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, The Los Angeles Times reports. But, at this point, there is no way of knowing what the current administration plans to do about enforcing Federal law in states that have legalized the controversial drug.

“We’d like to know who’s making the decisions [about federal marijuana policy]. Is it Congress? The president? The attorney general?” — California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

If you have been charged with a drug offense in California, please contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower.

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