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Fate of federal marijuana law enforcement under Trump administration not clear, P.2

In our last post, we began discussing the present uncertainty about how President Trump will address the enforcement of federal marijuana law. As we noted, while the Department of Justice under Barack Obama took a lenient stance toward law enforcement—only enforcing federal law against those who failed to abide by state law—marijuana is still an illegal substance under federal law.

The fact that Senator Jeff Sessions was nominated to head the Department of Justice indicates that the next four years will likely not bring any changes in federal law, and very well could bring about changes in the way federal drug laws are enforced. 

Sessions is known to be an opponent of legal marijuana. In Senate hearings, Sessions has said that he is not opposed to prosecuting those who violate federal marijuana law, even those who are abiding by the laws of their state. At the same time, his responses to questions indicate that he recognizes the practical problem of enforcement, given that marijuana is legal in 28 states and the District of Columbia. He has received heat, though, for what many people perceive to be his disapproval of marijuana use in general.

In Florida, marijuana is till generally illegal, but the state has passed a law allowing the use of cannabis strains meeting certain criteria for certain qualifying conditions. Patients with terminal illnesses are allowed to use cannabis strains with higher levels of THC, but must obtain them from a state-licensed dispensary or producer.

Individuals who use medical marijuana should understand their rights under state law to ensure they are in compliance with the law, and should always work with an experienced attorney when they run into federal enforcement issues.

Source: Norml.org, “Florida CBD-Specific Marijuana Law,” Accessed Feb. 3, 2017. 

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