Federal Enforcement of Marijuana Laws May Impact Pennsylvania | Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys

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Federal Enforcement of Marijuana Laws May Impact Pennsylvania

In December of 2015, the Pittsburgh City Council voted to decriminalize the possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana. This means that if you get caught with a few joints within Pittsburgh city limits, the police will give you a citation for $25 to $100 instead of taking you to jail. Philadelphia passed a similar ordinance in 2014. Both initiatives have been credited with filling city coffers and reducing the strain on the criminal justice system.

In reaction to California, Washington, and Colorado legalizing recreational marijuana, Obama stated that the federal government had “bigger fish to fry” than prosecuting marijuana cases in jurisdictions where it’s legal. Will things change under the administration of Donald Trump? If so, one of our Pittsburgh marijuana attorneys will be ready to defend your rights.

If you’ve been charged with a marijuana crime, contact us today at (412) 281-2146 to find out how we can help you.

President Trump’s Position on Marijuana Legalization

For a politician who has been criticized for being inconsistent on policy issues, Trump has been straightforward in his support of medical marijuana for several years now. As for marijuana generally, he stated in 2015 that: “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state.” Now, his administration seems to be changing course – at least when it comes to recreational marijuana.

On February 24, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spencer clarified the administration’s position on recreational marijuana. While he recognized the benefits of medical marijuana, Spencer warned that the administration will treat recreational marijuana as any other Schedule I substance, which includes drugs such as heroin. Spencer added that Americans should expect to “see greater enforcement” of all laws against controlled substances.

Federal Enforcement of Drug Laws

As Attorney General, Jeff Sessions – a staunch proponent of the war on drugs – will set the Department of Justice’s course when it comes to federal marijuana law enforcement in states where it’s been legalized. And on March 15, 2017, he stated the following:

“I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable. I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”

During follow-up questions about medical marijuana, Sessions stated that “medical marijuana has been hyped” and that he was “dubious” about the medical properties of the plant. Nonetheless, Sessions indicated that the Obama administration’s stance on federal marijuana laws was largely valid, and that federal law enforcement is “not able to go into a state and pick up the work that police and sheriffs have been doing for decades.”

Consult a Pittsburgh Marijuana Lawyer

All things considered, it appears that there could very well be little change in federal marijuana policy under President Trump – despite the rhetoric of some members of his administration. Marijuana possession may be decriminalized in some parts of Pennsylvania, but there are still many ways in which your marijuana use could get you in trouble.

If you need a Pittsburgh marijuana lawyer, contact us today at (412) 281-2146 for your free and confidential consultation.