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Criminal Defense Resources
- Find Criminal Defense Lawyers, Criminal Law Attorney Finder
- The Changing Landscape of Drug Laws in the United State
- No Jail Time: Choosing the Right Plea Bargain Strategy
- The Rights of Immigrants Charged with Criminal Offenses
- When Misdemeanors Escalate Into Felonies
- Even White Collar Crimes Carry Long Prison Sentences
- More Criminal Defense Articles
The Changing Landscape of Drug Laws in the United State
Marijuana reform laws were on the ballot in November 2012. Voters in six states—Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon and Washington—voiced their opinions on measures to legalize recreational marijuana and to legalize medical marijuana.
Legalized Recreational Marijuana
Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. A ballot measure in a third state, Oregon, failed to garner the necessary support.
But the Colorado and Washington laws have a considerable foe: The federal government. A 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case, Gonzales v. Raich, found that the U.S. government can criminalize marijuana even if local laws decriminalize it.
According to Lawyers.com, "Though President Obama said there wouldn’t be a federal campaign against individual marijuana users in Colorado and Washington, U.S. Attorneys in both states have reminded citizens that their responsibility to enforce pot prohibition remains unchanged."
A number of states and cities have already decriminalized small amounts of marijuana that are intended for personal use. Users may still be fined for possession, but they won't be charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime.
Legalized Medical Marijuana
Massachusetts voters legalized medical marijuana in November 2012, while Arkansas and Montana voters rejected new medical marijuana laws. Massachusetts join a host of other states that have previously legalized medical marijuana.
Cannabis is used to treat a variety of medical issues, including pain, nausea and glaucoma. Medical marijuana users typically get a doctor's prescription, which allows them to buy pot in specific quantities from licensed dispensaries.
Visit LawyerLocator for more information about drug laws or to find a criminal defense attorney in your area.