Most readers are aware that several states in the United States of America have legalized marijuana, which has led to a new industry being developed. The problem many of these industry participants have is the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law as well as many states. Though the federal government has not been actively and aggressively enforcing federal laws as it applies to marijuana. This is welcome news to many, but those who choose to either conduct business related to marijuana should seek legal advice in order to avoid the many pitfalls of this contradiction in the laws within the U.S. Recently, I was contacted by a Canadian law firm who shared the following chart and information with me, which I thought would be useful to any of my readers traveling to Canada and elsewhere. If you run into any problems, our firm handles criminal matters throughout the U.S. and also we provide consulting services to anyone seeking to step into the marijuana (cannabis) industry arena.
According to our friends at the Canadian law firm of O’Neill Moon Quedado, LLP:
“Canada’s new government has promised to legalize marijuana in 2017, but until that happens, you can still get charged for possession, producing or selling marijuana. All these activities are currently illegal and possible penalties, if convicted, range from a small fine to getting a criminal record. The case’s outcome depends on whether you have previous convictions, as well as on specific circumstances under which the incident happened: the amount of marijuana found in your possession, whether you were driving under the influence, and in addition to other case-specific factors. Repeat offenders may be subject to more serious consequences and such charges should definitely be taken seriously, as the sentences can be rigorous. Getting a good lawyer is necessary to ensure that your rights under the law are fully represented.
Even if cannabis gets legalized, as expected, some activities might still present a criminal offence. Nobody expects that smoking weed freely and anywhere will be the new standard– rather, even though it will be legalized, it is likely to be highly regulated. Marijuana offences will still exist, but in a different form. Also, keep in mind that laws are constantly evolving. They are continually being updated to ensure that the best practices for creating and implementing drug policies are in place. Thus, the laws that are enforced today may be changed over time.
That being said, let’s see what the possible legislation changes may bring by looking at three places where this substance has been partially legalized.”
For more information on Canadian law, please see my colleagues who assisted me on this article:
Marijuana Lessons for Canada: USA vs Portugal vs Netherlands