There is a great amount of noise being blasted out about cannabis and cannabis products. More and more states are embracing medical marijuana, and almost 20% have now legalized recreational marijuana. All of this is happening on the local state level. So, what does the Federal Government think? What is their official stance of cannabis products?
Hint: It’s still illegal
Even with overwhelming support at the state level, cannabis is illegal under federal law. On a national scale, marijuana is still a controlled substance. It still falls under the Controlled Substances Act. These drugs are classified under schedules. Drugs are evaluated for their potential for abuse and medicinal value.
Cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 drug. The government lists the plant as highly addictive and believes that it has no medical value. Cannabis is treated like any other controlled substance like methamphetamines, cocaine, or heroin.
The CSA does not recognize the difference between medical and recreational marijuana. Doctors cannot officially prescribe it like they would approved medications. They instead give patients recommendations for using it under the First Amendment.
Do they enforce these laws?
That can be where the line gets a little fuzzy. While the drug is still illegal, arresting people for medical marijuana use is not a priority. There have been times where the government acted to confiscate cannabis from state users. Especially in the early days of medical marijuana, federal raids were often a fact of life and a constant worry for dispensary owners.
Today, if it is legal under state law, they don’t care much about it. They still have programs to combat marijuana, and the Department of Justice even released a statement outlining eight priorities for the drug. The guidelines they have for law enforcement are:
1. Prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors.
2. Prevent revenue from marijuana sales from going to criminal enterprises.
3. Keep marijuana from moving from states where it is legal to others where it’s not.
4. Prevent state legal use as a cover for other illegal activities.
5. Stop violence associated with the cultivation and distribution of marijuana.
6. Eliminate drugged driving.
7. Prevent people from growing marijuana on public lands.
8. Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.
Is all cannabis Illegal?
As of the 2018 Farm Bill, not all forms of cannabis are federally illegal. The bill reclassified hemp, taking it off the list of controlled substances and making it an approved agricultural product. The federal government has legalized all hemp plants that have a THC level of 0.3% by dry weight or lower.