Federal Responses to State Medical Marijuana Laws
Created on March 31, 2015
In 1996, California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act, making it the first state in the union to allow for the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 22 more states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have enacted similar laws.
At the federal level, however, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, where Schedule I substances are considered to have a high potential for dependency and no accepted medical use, making cultivation, distribution, and use of marijuana a federal offense.
Using New York’s recently enacted medical marijuana law as a backdrop, Ameer Benno, a New York City-based civil rights and criminal defense attorney, discusses the conflict of laws between the federal and state governments surrounding medical marijuana, the associated federalism issues, and the legal implications for people involved or looking to get involved in medical marijuana businesses.
I. Define New York State’s Compassionate Care Act
II. Recognize additional state medical marijuana legislation
III. Understand current federal enforcement priorities under the Controlled Substances Act
IV. Explore the federalism issues implicated by the conflict between federal and state laws on the issue of legalization of medical marijuana
V. Gain insight on essential business considerations facing medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries, as well the effect of federal law on starting and operating those business
VI. Grasp the banking and financing difficulties facing marijuana businesses
VII. Identify current proposed state and federal legislation
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