A recent article in the New York Times highlights the continuing disconnect between the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act and federal statutes that continue to criminalize the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana for any purpose.
The fact remains that any possession, distribution, or manufacture (growing) of marijuana remains a serious federal offense. Under federal law growing over 100 marijuana plants can result in a 5 year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Growing 1,000 plants or more raise the mandatory minimum sentence to 10 years.
Sadly, many people who have become accustomed to an easing of the marijuana prohibitions at the state-level find themselves charged in a draconian federal system that refuses to recognize the validity of state laws providing for the medicinal use, manufacture and distribution of cannabis.
In October of 2009 the Obama administration signaled its apparent intent not to prosecute people who were in clear compliance with their state's medical marijuan laws. According to the Times article, this may no longer be the case.
Since 2009 various state legislatures have been refining and expanding their state's medical marijuana laws. Some states have even seen large marijuana farms and dispensaries openly appear. As state prosecutions lessened, and medical marijuana programs became more widespread and visible, it appears that a false sense of security began to descend on the medical marijuana community.
Compliance with state medical marijuana laws is no guarantee against a federal prosecution. A federal marijuana prosecution, particularly one involving the growing of marijuana, is an extremely serious matter. If you or someone you know is a patient, caregiver, grower, or dispenser of medical marijuana in Oregon you should seek out an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer for advice on how to minimize the chance that yours might be the next marijuana case prosecuted in federal court.
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