As regulations surrounding cannabis loosen across the country, there is still quite a bit of debate and legal contention surrounding the new state laws. Many law enforcement officials, particularly at the federal level, still refuse to even acknowledge these legalization efforts as valid, and there are plenty of complications and loopholes to work through. If you are a resident of a state that permits medical or recreational cannabis use, you need to know about these potentially incriminating actions before you find yourself looking up the number of a drug defense attorney.
Transporting Cannabis Across State Lines
Even if you are moving between two states that have legalized cannabis, transporting cannabis across state lines is never a good idea and exposes you to legal risk. Once you have transported the cannabis between two states, it becomes regulated under federal law as described in the Constitution, and you can be found guilty of a felony for trafficking a controlled substance.
Driving Under the Influence
No one should drive impaired, but lawmakers are still grappling with how to limit and detect cannabis use in drivers. Drug tests typically test for THC-COOH, a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis that can linger in your blood and urine for weeks. Because of this, it is difficult for law enforcement officers to accurately gauge your intoxication levels once they suspect you are impaired. In order to avoid this issue, protect yourself and others by never driving under the influence.
Driving With an Open Container
Washington State recently passed a bill prohibiting open containers of cannabis in a car, and similar measures may soon pop up in other states. If your state has no current laws against driving with an open container, it is still wise to keep any legal cannabis on your person carefully sealed and stowed out of sight and reach while in the car.
Cultivating Medical Cannabis for Personal Use
Not every state that offers medical or recreational cannabis allows for citizens to grow their own plants, but those that do face significant pressure to ensure that private growers are not illegally selling their produce. Should you choose to cultivate your own cannabis to reduce expenses and inconvenience, always keep your permit and associated documents displayed, and understand that your property could be seized by federal agents without warning.
Failing a Drug Test as a Medical Cannabis User
Another major source of controversy surrounding marijuana legalization is the continued practice of businesses testing prospective employees as a barrier to hiring. For medical users especially, this can be disastrous and result in many lost opportunities. Many states have chosen to uphold the right of employers to screen for drug use in their employees, but depending on your local regulations, you may have a legal case to have the test thrown out. If you feel that your rights as a citizen of your state and country have been violated, don't hesitate to call a drug defense attorney to get a clearer understanding of the laws in your area and what you can do to fight any charges against you.