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Congress Says No Funds to go to Medical Marijuana Prosecutions

December 30th, 2014 at 8:18 am

drug possession, Illinois drug crimes attorney, drug dealing, Illinois defense lawyer,After generations of taking a hardline stance on the War on Drugs, Congress finally effectively ended the federal government’s ban on medical marijuana, at least for now. This extraordinary news can provide comfort for those involved in Illinois’ medical marijuana program. Rather than facing potential federal drug charges, nationwide users, growers, and sellers who comply with state laws regulating medical marijuana will finally be able to relax when it comes to the fear of federal prosecution.

Congress Cuts Funding for Medical Marijuana Prosecutions

While Congress did not actually “legalize” medical marijuana on a federal level, it did the next best thing. The Los Angeles Times reports that Congress included language in its massive spending bill that cut funding for prosecuting these crimes. So while operating a medical marijuana dispensary is still technically a violation of federal law, federal agents and prosecutors will not be able to prosecute these crimes because they will not have the money to do so, so long as the so-called criminal is complying with state laws regarding medical marijuana. Congress’ action comes on the coattails of the Obama administration’s efforts to follow a similar policy over the last year, but Congress’ action is the first time that the federal government has actually codified any type of decriminalization of marijuana since criminalizing it in the first place.

What this Means for Illinois Medical Marijuana

It is a little unclear whether Congress’ action will have any immediate practical effect in Illinois. This is because while our legislature has authorized the use of medical marijuana, we currently don’t have any legally authorized medical marijuana dispensaries. Illinois is preparing to authorize the first dispensaries, and state officials are expected to announce who will receive the first licenses in the state to sell medical marijuana some time before the end of the year. Ultimately there will be 21 grow centers and 60 dispensaries spread across the states. Once these businesses are actually licensed and up and running, they will have a much easier road than dispensaries in other states like California faced when they opened for business only to be subjected to raids by the FBI and DEA. But until these businesses actually are up and running, there will be no one lawfully dispensing medical marijuana under Illinois law, so the new federal law will have no effect here.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you find yourself accused of a drug crime you will need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley and schedule a consultation today.

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