60% of Americans favor the legalization of Marijuana (Gallup, 2016).
So far, more than half of our states and the District of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. Three other states will soon join them after recently passing measures permitting use of medical marijuana.
Yet the Federal Government, despite empirical evidence to the contrary, still views Marijuana as a controlled substance. Punishment can be severe. Possession of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction. For a second conviction, the penalties increase to a 15-day mandatory minimum sentence with a maximum of two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Subsequent convictions carry a 90-day mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people. There is still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and drugs of that nature.
White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, 2/23/17
“I do believe you will see greater enforcement of Federal marijuana law …”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer, 2/23/17
There is absolutely no link between marijuana and increased use of opioids. In fact, one recent study in states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use shows a decrease in the use of opioids.
Distribution of a small amount of marijuana, for no remuneration, is treated as possession. Manufacture or distribution of less than 50 kilograms of marijuana is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. For 50 kilograms or more the penalty increases to a possible 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. Manufacture or distribution of 100 kilograms or more carries a penalty of 5 – 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000,000. For 1000 kilograms or more, the penalty increases to 10 years – life in prison and a fine of up to $4,000,000.