At around the turn of the 20th century, a campaign to vilify marijuana began throughout the United States. Prior to that time, marijuana was not considered a dangerous drug nor were those who used it thought of as criminals. By the time the “Sex, Drugs & Rock-n-Roll” decade of the 1960 came around, marijuana was firmly implanted at the top of the list of dangerous drugs and a large portion of society believed it was just that – dangerous and with no conceivable medicinal benefit. As is so often the case, both with the law and with society, the pendulum began to swing back the other direction. In recent years, many states across the United States have passed laws legalizing the medicinal, and even personal, use of marijuana. The following updates on legalization from a marijuana possession attorney may help you avoid problems with the law.
Overview of Marijuana Possession in 2017
The legalization of marijuana movement can be divided into two types of legislation. The first type, know broadly as “medical marijuana,’ aims to legalize the possession, cultivation and/or sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes only. The second type, usually referred to as “recreational use,” allows an individual to possess and/or cultivate a small quantity of marijuana for personal use. As of 2017, there are 29 states plus the District of Columbia that have passed some type of legalization of marijuana law.
States with Only Medical Marijuana Laws
States where medical marijuana is now legal include: Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, New Mexico, Arizona, Illinois, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
States with Recreational Use of Marijuana Laws
As of 2017, eight states plus the District of Columbia have passed fairly broad laws legalizing recreational and medical marijuana. Those states include California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts.
What Do These Laws Mean to Me?
Whether you have a medical condition that may be helped by marijuana, or you simply want to be able to use marijuana for recreational use, the legalization movement is certainly good news. It is also rather confusing for anyone trying to navigate the various state laws. Although the push to legalize marijuana is clearly a national movement, legalization must occur at the state level as marijuana remains an illegal controlled substance under federal law (see below). Consequently, the method of legalization and the details of the law can vary widely from one state to the next. Some states have taken the Constitutional Amendment route while other have taken the legislative route. Some states have very clear, tightly regulated laws regarding the cultivation and sale of marijuana while other are still struggling to enact regulations. Because state laws can vary so significantly, it is always best to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before assuming it is legal to possess, grow, or use marijuana in any state.
Marijuana and Federal Law
Although more than half of the states have now legalized marijuana for medical use, federal law continues to include marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” So far, the federal government has taken a “hands off” approach. While there has been no move to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Schedules, neither have federal law enforcement agents made any real effort to interfere with state laws.
Possession of Marijuana in Nebraska
Unfortunately, if you are a resident of the State of Nebraska you are still unable to possess marijuana for any use. Although there was an attempt in 2017 to join the medical marijuana movement, that legislation died without being passed, meaning that you can still be arrested and convicted of a criminal offense for possession of marijuana in Nebraska.
Contact a Marijuana Possession Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, or another marijuana related criminal offense in the State of Nebraska, consult with an experienced marijuana possession attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.