Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Will Federal Enforcement of Marijuana Use Impact Recreational Pot Smokers in MA?

In December, 2016, Massachusetts joined the growing list of states who have passed the  legalization of recreational marijuana. As in the other states, recreational use is still illegal at the federal level, but the Department of Justice has been fairly hands-off, up until now. The Trump administration may increase federal enforcement of these laws, creating an uncertain future for recreational marijuana use in MA. If after reading this post you are still unsure about how these potential changes may impact you, consult with a Boston criminal defense attorney.

In a recent White House press conference, spokesperson Sean Spicer said the new administration is likely to play a bigger role in the enforcement of federal marijuana regulations. “I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” said Spicer. “Because again there’s a big difference between the medical use … that’s very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into.” He then went on to link marijuana use to opioid addiction:

“I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country the last thing that we should be doing is encouraging people, there’s still a federal law that we need to abide by in terms of … when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”

Federal Law Trumps State Law

These statements from the White House, along with the appointment of the new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions (an outspoken opponent of legalization) may indicate less leniency for recreational pot smokers in the coming months. When federal and state laws are in conflict, federal law takes the cake. As a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, marijuana possession and sales are still illegal at the federal level. A MA drug defense lawyer can help you determine if you’re at risk of criminal penalties.

Of course, cracking down on recreational pot use in states that have legalized it would be highly unpopular. Quinnipiac University recently conducted a survey and found that more than 70 percent of Americans do not agree with federal enforcement in states that have legalized recreational and medical marijuana. This may bode well for the future of federal enforcement, but only time will tell. Spicer failed to provide details about what an enforcement would actually look like. More optimistic folks hope that it will focus on illegal exportation to other states. “The biggest crackdown we may see is on the increase of cannabis being illegally exported out of recreational states,” said Nate Bradley, of the California Cannabis Industry Association. Let’s hope he’s right.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Drug Crime Defense Lawyers Serving All of Massachusetts

If you have been charged with any type of drug crime, the skilled criminal defense team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of individuals charged with crimes for more than 50 years. If you believe that your constitutional rights may have been violated during your arrest, it is of the utmost importance to seek legal counsel immediately. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we will find every weakness in the prosecution’s case and position you for the most favorable outcome. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed altogether. We will analyze every detail of your case and make sure you understand your rights and options before moving forward. If you are facing charges for any type of criminal offense, we can help. It is our goal to keep you out of jail and to keep your record clean. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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