CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, September 9, 2013

"Controlled Substances Act Looms Large After DOJ Statement on Marijuana Laws"

Sam Kamin (Denver Law) has this post at ACSBlog:

But the memo can do only so much to alleviate the uncertainty and confusion caused by the continuing federal marijuana prohibition. In the first place, the memorandum is a unilateral act of the executive and can always be undone by other unilateral executive actions; when a new presidential administration takes over in January 2017, there is no telling how it will view the federal government’s marijuana enforcement priorities. 

More fundamental, however, is the fact that marijuana remains a prohibited substance under federal law and, regardless of criminal and civil enforcement by the Justice Department, there remain serious consequences for those who produce, sell, or consume the drug even in those states where such conduct is “legal.” Those engaging in this conduct remain at risk of losing their child custody, employment, housing, or federal benefits if their involvement with marijuana comes to light.  Until such time as the federal prohibition is undone, in other words, states will remain limited in the extent to which they can truly legalize marijuana.

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