The current political climate has made the future of marijuana in America uncertain at best. The Obama administration took a lax approach to federal enforcement of marijuana-related crimes, allowing states that decided to legalize recreational marijuana use do so without federal repercussions. Medical marijuana has also continued to grow in popularity throughout the country. However, the current administration has not been completely clear about the approach they will take towards marijuana moving forward. While the future of recreational marijuana hangs in limbo, Denver’s ABC-7 recently reported that lawmakers were able to include a rider into a potential bipartisan budget deal which would keep Colorado’s medical marijuana industry safe from federal crackdown until at least September of this year.
The Future of Marijuana
The report notes that 30 states and the District of Columbia have approved the use and possession of some form of medical marijuana. After mixed signals about the administration’s potential approach to any form of marijuana, the medical marijuana industry is breathing easy at the potential of a possible reprieve from federal interference. This particular rider, which still needs to be approved by Congress and the President on a long-term basis, was first approved in 2014 and has been added to every spending bill in Congress since that time.
This particular rider also includes language that protects industrial hemp research. While the federal government declined to reschedule marijuana last year, it has slowly changed its approach to testing for potential benefits related to marijuana. Last year, regulations surrounding such industrial use were relaxed allowing more involvement in the industrial marijuana research sector. While Congressional officials are pleased at the possibility of maintaining the status quo for at least one portion of the industry, they are hopeful that a more permanent solution is on the horizon. Finding a long-term solution to the ongoing question of whether state laws allowing for the medicinal and/or recreational use of marijuana can exist in contrast to federal laws governing the same substances.
Whether you consume marijuana in Colorado for recreational or medicinal purposes, driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal. While marijuana DUIs in the state have declined, fatalities in drug-related accidents have risen and police are still on high alert for drivers that operate a vehicle under the influence of the drug. Keeping abreast of current state and federal laws regarding marijuana can help you avoid many marijuana-related criminal charges, and choosing a designated driver can help you avoid a marijuana DUI. If you are facing these types of marijuana-related charges, they can have severe consequences. Working with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney can be an important first step in making sure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. Contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can learn more about the charges you are facing as well as what options might be available to you in your defense based on your individual circumstances.
(image courtesy of David Everett Strickler)