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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

When Drugs Become "Legal": Understanding Your Rights

Posted on in Drug Crimes

marijuanaRegardless of what side of the political debate you find yourself on, both 2013 and 2014 were big years for marijuana users throughout the country. With Washington, Colorado, and Washington D.C. legalizing recreational marijuana use, and many more states, including Illinois, ratifying laws allowing marijuana for medicinal purposes, many people think legalizing marijuana in our state is the next logical step.

Drug crimes offenses are still serious charges that can have lasting effects on your life and should be taken seriously, even though Illinois recently implemented the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, which is intended to help distributors and dispensaries ensure safety and compliance. With a new governor in place, patients utilizing medicinal marijuana are hoping to get the ball rolling; many have been waiting since the law was passed in 2013 for some relief.

Drugs are Still Illegal

Even in states where recreational marijuana use got the stamp of approval from authorities, drug possession is still a federal crime. While qualifying Illinois candidates for medicinal marijuana procurement and use may be able to obtain marijuana from state-approved sources, the limitations must be taken seriously. Those that lawfully obtain a medical marijuana licensure must ensure not to exceed possessing the amount permitted by law, cannot share it with others, and cannot take it across state lines, which would invoke federal jurisdiction.

Of the many crimes that may stem from these organizations, a few come immediately to mind:

  • Operating  a dispensary or grow house without state authorization;
  • Unlawful possession of a medical marijuana license; procuring a medical marijuana license through fraud, deception, or false pretenses; and
  • Unlawful distribution or sale of medical marijuana.

With new governorship in Illinois, it remains unclear as to what the long-term implications are of a medicinal marijuana program in Illinois.

Undermining the Severity of Drug Crimes

Many people erroneously think that it is “just” marijuana, or they “just” had a little. In the eyes of the law, there often is little difference. While, of course, most possession charges for marijuana will be less severe than for other controlled substances, that is not always the case. Sentencing for these offenses considers a variety of factors, including past convictions, and the severity and nature of the newly charged crimes at issue. Even if you are in lawful possession of a medicinal marijuana card, abusing the privilege may lead to you losing these rights and to additionally face criminal penalties for your indiscretions.

Another common misconception may be a belief that states with medicinal marijuana laws are more “lax” about drug crimes. This is also untrue. Most states do not implement medical marijuana regimes to associate that with drugs being legal. Drugs are still illegal. Whether it involves marijuana or meth, possession is a serious crime that can have lasting implications on your future.

Drug Crime Lawyers in Illinois

If you or anyone you know has been charged with a drug-related offense, it is critical to understand your legal rights at this challenging but important time. Our DuPage County drug defense lawyers have intimate knowledge of the criminal justice system and will work with prosecutors to have your drug charges reduced or possibly dismissed. If you have not been convicted of a crime before or are a minor, we will advocate for probationary sentences or forgiveness programs where your charges will be dismissed with compliance to a set of conditions.

Regardless of your criminal history or the nature of your present offense, we do not judge at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. and want to give you a safe, confidential opportunity to exercise your legal rights as a criminal defendant in the greater Chicago area. Contact one of our convenient offices in Oak Brook or Naperville, Illinois at (630) 472-9600 today.

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