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U.S. House of Representatives Passes Marijuana Legalization Bill

April 08, 2022

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The country came one step closer to legalizing marijuana throughout the nation as the House of Representatives passed a bill legalizing the substance. The bill goes as far as to legalize the manufacturing and distribution, as well as the possession of cannabis. The liberal legislation passed the House by a vote of 220 to 204. The legislation referred to as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act met scrutiny in the House despite passing, but has not been passed by the Senate. The Senate has been working to craft its own legislature, but it seems unlikely to pass in that chamber due to the split in opinions between Democrats and Republicans. Most Democratic politicians support the legalization of marijuana, but the majority of Republicans do not join in their fervor. Opponents of the legalization of marijuana do not support the proposed law as it poses a public health and safety risk and is morally objectionable.

Holding Paper with Marijuana Leaf Shape
Many states have legalized the use of marijuana either for medicinal or recreational purposes. Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, which was soon followed by seventeen other states, along with Washington DC and Guam. States which have not legalized marijuana are dealing with if and how to legalize the drug. Proponents for the legalization of marijuana claim that it would benefit states as the drug would be taxed and would also act as a social justice initiative leading to a decline in arrests in minority communities. Some states have even included in their legislature that past convictions for marijuana charges are now eligible to be vacated and/or expunged.

In Florida, cannabis is considered legal for qualified patients, with the only requirement being the possession of a valid medical marijuana card, but recreational marijuana at this point in time is still illegal. Possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to one year in the county jail with a $1,000 fine. Some jurisdictions in Miami-Dade County charge possession of marijuana as an ordinance violation which is much like a traffic ticket and not a crime supporting the notion that it is not taken seriously. Florida medical marijuana laws prohibit possession of marijuana in any form unless sealed in a container provided by a dispensary. Under federal law, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that at present, the federal government believes that marijuana has no proven medical use and anyone caught cultivating, distributing, or possessing marijuana is acting in violation of the law.

Medicinal Marijuana
While Florida and Miami-Dade County are of the opinion that simple possession is no big deal, remember that possession of more than 25 pounds is considered trafficking, which is a first-degree felony and carries a three-year minimum mandatory sentence. Possession with intent and sale of marijuana are both third-degree felonies carrying a potential sentence of 5 years in prison. Anyone arrested for any of the above charges, especially felonies, should seek the advice of experienced counsel as a felony record can have long-term detrimental consequences. Also, remember that convictions for drug offenses can result in the suspension of an individual's driving privileges. Being smart and safe is the best advice.

If you want to learn about the prosecution of drug-related charges in the state or Florida, the legal team at Donet, McMillan & Trontz, P.A. will provide the best assistance. We have served countless clients facing drug possession charges, and we've never failed to bring the most favorable outcome suited to each case. If you find yourself involved in an investigation for a drug-related offense, you can always call (305) 444-0030 for a free consultation. Our lawyers are available 24/7.
Categories: Drug Offenses
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