The Justice Department announced that it will challenge state laws that legalize marijuana and will focus federal enforcement on serious trafficking cases and keeping the drug away from children.
According to CNN, Attorney General Eric Holder notified the governors of Colorado and Washington that the department, for now, will not seek to pre-empt those states’ laws, which followed voters’ approval of ballot measures that legalized recreational marijuana use.
However, our Florida criminal defense team warns Floridians that marijuana is still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, new law enforcement priorities focus on eight key issues, including preventing marijuana distribution to minors, preventing drugged driving, stopping drug trafficking by gangs and cartels and forbidding the cultivation of marijuana on public lands.
The attorney general also told the Washington and Colorado governors that the Justice Department will work with the states to craft regulations that fall in line with the federal priorities, and reserves the right to try to block the laws if federal authorities find repeated violations. The new guidelines also do not change federal money laundering rules, meaning that some large banks may still avoid doing business with marijuana producers and sellers.
We remind our clients that, just as we mentioned in a previous blog post, the possession and sale of marijuana is still illegal in Florida in all circumstances.