Understanding Federal Drug Charges in Our Fast-Changing Landscape

Cannabis and car keys on a white surface following federal drug chargesCanada was recently in the news when it became the second country to allow the legal consumption of marijuana. Although the Cannabis Act was passed the Canadian Senate on June 21, consumption won’t begin until October 17, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Canada’s changing cannabis laws reflect what took place across the United States in recent years. Although cannabis consumption is legal in Alaska, Colorado, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C. under state law, it is is still illegal under federal law. What does this mean for Texas residents? If you’re facing federal drug charges in the El Paso area, the Aranda Law Firm can help.

Differentiating Federal Laws from State Laws

How could something, like cannabis, be perpetually legal and illegal? It may seem convoluted but it’s easily explainable. Although cannabis consumption is illegal under federal law, the state law legality makes it difficult for the federal government to enforce said prohibition. This may be all well and good in Colorado or Nevada but if you were to transport cannabis into Texas, the federal and state laws will be against you. Since the consumption and distribution of cannabis remains illegal in the state of Texas, it’s possible for individuals to face serious consequences from both the state and federal governments. In fact, individuals could face prosecution from both state and federal on completely separate occasions without double jeopardy occuring.

Federal Drug Charges: A Closer Look

Drug charges can become a federal issue in a variety of circumstances. If a federal informant named you or a federal officer made your arrest, the drug charge will become federal. With the changing landscape of cannabis legalization in the United States, it’s easier for individuals to fall prey to a simple lapse of judgement. If your cannabis possession crime involves the crossing of state or country lines, it will become a federal drug charge. Let’s say an individual purchased cannabis while on a roadtrip in Colorado and they drive back home to Texas. The moment this individual crosses into Texas, they will be at risk of facing both federal and state drug charges. The same can be said for individuals who purchase cannabis in Canada. If the individual steps foot in the United States while in possession of cannabis, they will be at risk of facing federal drug charges.

Getting the Legal Assistance You Deserve

If this is a first possession offense, you may face one year incarceration and a maximum fine of $1,000. Subsequent offenses will yield greater punishments. If you’re in the El Paso area and you require legal assistance for federal drug charges, choose the Aranda Law Firm.