Colorado and Washington Marijuana legalization

Justice department does not seek to preempt legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado or Washington.

Last year, Colorado and Washington passed measures legalized recreational marijuana use. Last week, Attorney General, Eric Holder, stated that the Justice Department will not seek preemption of those state laws for now. Although, Marijuana possession and sale is still illegal under the federal laws, Attorney General’s position will loosen federal enforcement of such laws. At the same time, enforcement of serious trafficking cases would become a priority.

This is a good approach to handling the marijuana laws because it parallels the approach with alcohol. The enforcement and prosecution will be focused on preventing marijuana distribution to minors, stopping drug trafficking by gangs and cartels and preventing driving under the influence. Simple possession cases should receive less attention than serious trafficking cases that land Marijuana in front of children. The medicinal use of marijuana is another reason that simple possession cases should not receive as much scrutiny.

In California, possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana is an infraction as of January 1, 2011. Infractions are crimes that do not have the potential of jail time. California Health and Safety Code 11357b makes a possession of one ounce or less of marijuana punishable by a maximum $100 fine (plus fees) with no criminal record. California Health and Safety Code 11357c makes possession of larger amount of marijuana a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six months in county jail. In regards to Medical Marijuana, California allows medical patients and their caregivers to possess and cultivate if they have a physician’s recommendation pursuant to restrictions on the number of plants. California medical marijuana laws do not allow distribution or sale of marijuana.

If you have been charged with a drug crime in California, contact Ginny Walia Law Offices at (408) 724-9200 for a free consultation!