How Jeff Sessions’ Decision on Marijuana Could Affect Georgians
The federal government has, at least once, claimed that marijuana has no medical benefit. Studies have shown otherwise. A father in Georgia has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, namely Attorney General Jeff Sessions, alleging that the government’s classification as marijuana as a Schedule I substance is preventing some who need it from obtaining the “medication.”
Plaintiffs in the case say that the federal government has classified marijuana in the same category as LSD and heroin, both known to be highly addictive. The government has also failed to recognize that there are medical benefits to marijuana, leaving some who need it out in the cold. To put it all in perspective, marijuana is classified as Schedule I, while drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine are listed as Schedule II, or less addictive.
To make matters worse, the U.S. Justice Department issued a ruling in the first week of January that rescinded a policy that was introduced under the Obama administration. That former policy eased enforcement of federal laws within states that had legalized marijuana. As it stands today, the federal government has been given more latitude in pursuing criminal charges against those who grow or use the drug, even in states where it is legal.
What It Means for People in Georgia
Medical marijuana is currently legal for specific purposes in Georgia, thanks to a law passed in 2017. Unfortunately, people are now fearful of using what has been prescribed to them because of Sessions’ recent decision to allow federal law to overtake state law. The current administration has not said how they will proceed in states where the drug is legal, only saying that they are looking into options.
According to Sessions, Obama-era policy that discouraged federal prosecutors from pursuing cases in states which had legalized marijuana undermines the rule of law. Some state’s attorneys have publicly determined how they would utilize the decision by the Trump administration while others have not. For example, the U.S. attorney in Colorado said his approach would not change. The U.S. attorney in Massachusetts however said that the would pursue criminal cases at the federal level.
The U.S. attorney in Georgia has not stated how things will proceed with regard to medical marijuana. In the state, it is legal to possess up to 20 ounces of low-THC cannabis oil. A person may not grow or possess a whole plant. This means that even though it is legal to possess cannabis oil, it typically has to be procured out of state which poses several problems, not the least of which are possible criminal charges.
If you are a medical marijuana user and have been arrested and charged with a drug crime in Atlanta, reach out to our office. We have experience in defending people against drug crimes and will use that experience to your benefit. Call today to schedule a free case evaluation.