- About About
Medical Patient Resources Becoming a State-Authorized Patient Talking to your doctor Which conditions qualify? The Medical Cannabis Patient’s Guide for U.S. Travel Patient's Guide to CBD Patient's Guide to Medical Cannabis Guide to Using Medical Cannabis Condition-based Booklets Growing Cannabis Cannabis Tincture, Salve, Butter and Oil Recipes Leaf411 Affordability Program Tracking Treatment & Gathering Data with Releaf App Medical Professional Resources CME for Medical Professionals Cannabis Safety Medical Cannabis Research
- Legal Legal
Advocacy ASA Chapters Start an ASA Chapter Take Action Campaigns No Patient Left Behind End Pain, Not Lives Vote Medical Marijuana Medical Cannabis Advocate's Training Center Resources for Tabling and Lobby Days Strategic Planning Civics 101 Strategic Messaging Citizen Lobbying Participating in Implementation Movement Building Organizing a Demonstration Organizing Turnout for Civic Meetings Public Speaking Media 101 Patient's History of Medical Cannabis
Policy Model Federal Legislation Download Ending The Federal Conflict Public Comments by ASA Industry Standards Guide to Regulating Industry Standards Recognizing Science using the Data Quality Act Fact Sheet on ASA's Data Quality Act Petition to HHS Data Quality Act Briefs ASA Data Quality Act petition to HHS Information on Lawyers and Named Patients in the Data Quality Act Lawsuit Reports 2020 State of the States Medical Cannabis Access for Pain Treatment Medical Cannabis in America
- News News
- Join Join
A large majority of drug prosecution cases occur on the state level. But when federal prosecutors get involved, the consequences can be much more serious. It’s unclear whether a recent memo issued by the Department of Justice could apply to medical cannabis patients following their state laws.
The amount of a substance in your possession is often the deciding factor for federal or state charges. Generally, federal crimes carry much stricter sentences than state level offenses. Federal cases often deal with drug trafficking or distribution while state cases often deal with simple possession charges.
Attorney General Sessions said that the purpose of the memo was “returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress, plain and simple." Meanwhile, his memo seems to ignore that Congress recently passed a law that included a budget provision which prohibits the Department of Justice from prosecuting medical cannabis patients until September 30, 2017.
The memo focuses on the conduct of drug traffickers, and encourages prosecutors to seek the highest possible penalties available under statute. This includes mandatory minimum sentences. Under federal mandatory minimum sentences, possession of cannabis is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000 for a first conviction.The Trump Administration still has yet to provide a clear and consistent stance on how medical cannabis fits into its enforcement priorities. However, the memo released today indicates a trend towards harsher treatment of drug users and drug offenders than in recent years.
This is yet another unsettling development leaving advocates and patients asking the question, “What is Sessions planning to do?” The only way to ensure that patients and programs are protected is to pass permanent federal legislation preventing federal interference in state medical cannabis programs.