The federal government recently made a decision that has angered proponents of marijuana legalization throughout the United States. It was expected that the Obama administration would at least consider removing marijuana from the list of “most dangerous” controlled dangerous substances; however, government officials have decided that they will not be reclassifying marijuana.
Under existing federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I narcotic. What this means is that marijuana is considered an extremely dangerous drug that does not have any useful medical applications and that has a high potential for abuse. (This seems especially wrong in light of the fact that medical marijuana has been legalized by many states.)
The implication of the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug is that individuals arrested for marijuana possession could potentially face stringent criminal penalties.
Remarkably, a drug like cocaine is actually classified as a less dangerous Schedule II drug under current federal regulations. This means that potential penalties for cocaine possession at the federal level may be less severe than the penalties for marijuana possession under certain circumstances.
It was anticipated that the federal government, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the US Health and Human Services Department, might consider removing marijuana from the list of Schedule I controlled dangerous substances – particularly in light of the increasing number of states where voters have approved laws legalizing marijuana use.
The Obama administration did specify that it is not ruling out the possibility of reclassifying marijuana as a less dangerous drug in the future, depending on the outcome of further research into the potential medical uses of pot.
For more information, read the New Jersey News 12 article, “US Government Won’t Reclassify Marijuana, Allows Research.”
If you or a loved one has been charged with simple possession of marijuana, marijuana distribution, or any other drug crime in New Jersey, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. can help you fight your drug offense charges and avoid severe penalties. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.