Eric Holder, the former U.S. Attorney General, recently discussed the idea of legalizing marijuana possession and marijuana use. Although marijuana possession has been decriminalized in a number of states in recent years, the federal government still outlaws the drug. Now many advocates of drug legalization are pushing for pot to be legalized in all 50 states.
During an interview appearance on the PBS show “Frontline,” Holder said that the government’s attempts to stop drug crimes in the U.S. have been largely ineffective. Holder specifically called for federal lawmakers to at least consider the possibility of decriminalizing “lesser” drugs like marijuana.
Holder also noted that marijuana use may not pose as serious a health risk as other, “harder” drugs like cocaine and heroin. As a result, Holder said, perhaps marijuana should not be punished so harshly under the federal criminal code.
Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance (CDS) under federal law. This means that pot is officially considered to have a high potential for abuse by users, as well as no accepted use for medical treatment. Many people, including medical experts and specialists, have questioned the notion that marijuana can’t be used in medical treatment – particularly as medical marijuana has been found to be effective at treating patients who suffer from chronic pain.
The end result of the federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule I CDS is that anyone caught in possession of cannabis can potentially be charged with a federal crime and face severe criminal penalties.
New Jersey law also classifies marijuana as a Schedule I CDS. While pot has been legalized in other states, NJ continues to criminalize the drug. Moreover, NJ prosecutors often seek maximum penalties in marijuana possession and marijuana distribution cases as a way to send a message to anyone who might consider using the drug.
To learn more, read the International Business Times article, “Marijuana Legalization 2016: Eric Holder Says He Wants to Discuss Decriminalizing Weed.”
If you or a loved one has been arrested for simple possession of marijuana, heroin possession, prescription drug crimes or any other drug offense in New Jersey, the aggressive criminal defense lawyers at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC can help you fight your criminal charges. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.