Federal Marijuana Laws

Over the last ten years, the idea of legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes has become a popular topic. As of 2018, 31 U.S. states that have passed legislation for medical marijuana. Additionally, marijuana is legalized for recreational use in nine states. Despite all these strides in legalization, federal law still views marijuana as an illegal substance.

Marijuana is a schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The federal government states that marijuana has no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. Federal cannabis laws are very serious. The legal consequences for people found guilty of selling, possessing, or manufacturing marijuana is steep.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a marijuana offense under federal jurisdiction, it is in your best interest to contact a skilled attorney.

Attorneys for Federal Marijuana Charges in San Antonio, Texas

When a drug offense falls federal jurisdiction, the process can be overwhelming. Usually, federal penalties are much more severe and complex than state ones. Any person, who has been charged with a cannabis offense under federal law, should seek trusted and federally licensed representation. 

Federal laws are complex. You want an attorney who can understand, interpret, and clarify federal marijuana laws to you. It is important that you gain a legal partner who is knowledgeable in federal legislation and procedures. The attorneys at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC are experienced in federal cannabis offenses. We have handled numerous drug offenses under federal jurisdiction, and want to help you with yours.

Do not hesitate when it comes to your future. The attorneys at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC practice law throughout the greater Bexar County area including Bandera County, Comal County, Gonzales County, and Wilson County. 

Call us at (210) 738-8383 to schedule a free consultation surrounding your charges today. 

Overview for Federal Marijuana Laws


Why Was I Charged Under Federal Law for Marijuana?

Normally, when a person is charged with a marijuana crime, it’s a state issue. However, a drug offense can become a federal issue under certain circumstances. An offense falls under federal jurisdiction when the event occurs across state lines or on federal lands. The penalties for federal offenses are usually much heavier than state ones.

There are numerous ways a person could be federally charged with a marijuana offense. A common way is to be arrested by a federal officer. If local law enforcement is working in tandem with federal officers, you may be required to appear in federal court.

You can also be federally charged if you were arrested on federal land. Some examples of this can include being found in possession or using marijuana in a national park or an international airport.

Another way to be charged under federal jurisdiction is by the severity of the offense. International criminal enterprises that are working internationally may be charged under federal jurisdiction. This is because they are working across state/country lines and are making a significant profit.


Federal Marijuana Penalties for Simple Possession

Under federal law, it is a criminal offense for a person to be in actual or constructive possession of any amount of marijuana. To be charged with simple possession, a person must have in their control less than 50kg of cannabis. Mere proximity is not enough for a person to be charged with possession. The prosecution must prove that he or she had complete control over the controlled substance.

The term actual possession refers to having the controlled substance on or near the body. If the cannabis was in your hand, pocket, or purse, it is considered actual possession. Constructive possession, however, is when a person knew about the substance and had direct control over it. This does not entail that the substance was near or on the physical body of the alleged offender.

The penalties for simple possession are reliant on the number of prior convictions. 

  • A first conviction for possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, and a minimum fine of $1,000.
  • A second conviction for possession of any amount of marijuana has a maximum punishment of up to two years in prison, and a minimum fine of $2,500.
  • A third conviction for possession of any amount of marijuana has a maximum punishment of up to three years in prison, and a minimum fine of $5,000. 

Federal Cannabis Trafficking Penalties

It’s common for a federal marijuana offense to be linked with trafficking. According to the U.S. Code § 841(a) it’s unlawful to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture cannabis. The penalties for marijuana trafficking are reliant on the amount and if any prior convictions exist.

There are several aggravating factors that can increase the penalties for a federal marijuana offense. If a person sustained serious bodily injury or death during the commission of the offense, the penalties will be elevated. Additionally, if the offense is a joint operation the penalties will be increased. A joint operation is when more than one person is involved in the crime.

The following are the penalties for a first-time marijuana trafficking conviction under federal law:

 

Drug:

Quantity:

Prison Time:

Fine:

Marijuana

1 to 49 plants; less than 50 kg mixture

Up to 5 years

·      If an individual, fine up to $250,000

·      If other than individual, fine up to $1 million

Marijuana

50 to 99 kg mixture; 50 to 99 plants

·      Up to 20 years

·      If death or serious injury occurs, no less than 20 years.

·      If an individual, fine up to $1 million

·      If other than individual, up to $5 million

Marijuana

100 kg to 999 kg mixture; 100 to 999 plants

·      Not less than 5 years and up to 40 years;

·      If death or serious injury occurs, notless than 20 years

·      If an individual, $5 million;

·      If other than individual $25 million

Marijuana

1,000 kg or more mixture; 1,000 or more plants

·      Not less than 10 years, not more than life

·      If death or serious injury occurs no less than 20 years

·      If an individual, $10 million

·      If other than a individual $50 million

Hashish Oil

1kg or less

Up to 5 years

·      If an individual $250,000

·      If other than individual $1 million

Hashish Oil

More than 1kg

·      Up to 20 years

·      If death or serious injury occurs, no less than 20 years.

·      If an individual, fine up to $1 million

·      If other than individual, up to $5 million

Hashish

10kg or less

Up to 5 years

·      If an individual $250,000

·      If other than individual $1 million

Hashish

More than 10kg

·      Up to 20 years

·      If death or serious injury occurs, no less than 20 years.

 

 

·      If an individual, fine up to $1 million

·      If other than individual, up to $5 million

 

The following are the minimum penalties for second marijuana trafficking conviction under federal law:

 

Drug:

Quantity:

Prison Time:

Fine:

Marijuana

1 to 49 plants; less than 50 kg mixture

Up to 10 years

·      If an individual, fine up to $500,000

·      If other than individual, fine up to $2 million

Marijuana

50 to 99 kg mixture; 50 to 99 plants

·      Up to 30 years

·      If death or serious injury occurs, mandatory life

·      If an individual, fine up to $2 million

·      If other than individual, up to $10 million

Marijuana

100 kg to 999 kg mixture; 100 to 999 plants

·      No less than 10 years and up to life in prison

·      If death or serious injury occurs, mandatory life

·      If an individual, $8 million;

·      If other than individual $50 million

Marijuana

1,000 kg or more mixture; 1,000 or more plants

·      No less than 20 years, not more than life in prison

·      If death or serious injury occurs mandatory life

·      If an individual, $20 million

·      If other than a individual $75 million

Hashish Oil

1kg or less

Up to 10 years

·      If an individual $500,000

·      If other than individual $2 million

Hashish Oil

More than 1kg

·      Up to 30 years

·      If death or serious injury occurs, mandatory life

·      If an individual, fine up to $2 million

·      If other than individual, up to $10 million

Hashish

10kg or less

Up to 10 years

·      If an individual $500,000

·      If other than individual $2 million

Hashish

More than 10kg

·      Up to 30 years

·      If death or serious injury occurs, mandatory life

 

 

·      If an individual, fine up to $2 million

·      If other than individual, up to $10 million

  


Additional Resources

Federal Marijuana Laws – Visit the official website for the United States Code provided by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel. Find more information regarding the federal Drug Schedules, prohibited acts involving controlled substances, and information regarding federal sentencing.

Overview of Federal Mandatory Minimum Penalties – Visit a document provided by the United States Sentencing Commission. Find more information regarding the mandatory minimum and maximum penalties for a federal offense. Learn the key findings, data analysis of prior convictions over the years, and recent changes in mandatory minimum and maximum offenses.


Lawyer for Federal Marijuana Laws in San Antonio, Texas

Have you been charged with a marijuana offense under federal courts? You must be aware of what can happen next. It is highly recommended that you obtain a skilled criminal defense attorney.

The attorneys at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC are experienced in criminal defense in both Texas and federal courts. We understand the ins and outs of federal law. It is vital that you put your future in the hands of an attorney who is licensed to practice in federal jurisdiction. Do that with an attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC.

Flanary Law Firm, PLLC represents those accused of federal marijuana offenses in San Antonio area including Converse, Universal City, Kirby, Live Oak, and Leon Valley.

Call us now at (210) 738-8383 to schedule a free consultation.


This article was last updated on September 24, 2018.

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