a brief overview of Federal marijuana law


FEDERAL LAW DECLARED THE USE, SALE OR DISTRIBUTION OF MARIJUANA ILLEGAL IN THE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT (CSA).  Even though a state has legalized medical or recreational marijuana use, it is still a federal crime to possess, buy, sell, open, lease, rent, maintain, or use property for the manufacturing, storing, or distribution of marijuana.  Simple possession with no intent to distribute is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a minimum fine of $1,000.00.  Individuals involved in marijuana businesses can receive up to twenty years in prison and PAY $1,000,000.00 in fines.

Congress has approved a budget amendment that prohibits the Department of Justice FROM USING funds to prevent state from implementing their medical marijuana laws.  but State ballot measures to legalize marijuana have no impact on federal law or the CSA.  Under the Commerce Clause, Congress has the power to regulate purely local activities that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. 


You can be fired from your job for your personal use of marijuana. 

doctors may lose their license to practice for recommending the use of medical marijuana to patients.


Lawyers risk their licenses when advising clients involved in the marijuana industry, since they are providing advice on how to violate federal law.

Renters can face eviction even when their marijuana uses is compliant with their state’s law if their lease prohibits illicit drugs.


If you are a section 8 or other federal housing aid recipient, using marijuana can lead to a loss of benefits or eviction.

If you work in the marijuana industry, Internal Revenue Code Section 280E prohibits deductions of ordinary business expenses such as marketing, training, transportation essentially creating a federal tax rate of above 60%.

if you have a medical marijuana card you can be prevented from buying a gun.  

banks and credit card companies may deny accounts to marijuana businesses and employees.


individuals interested in navigating calfornia Cannabis law should be aware of the risks created by federal law.

COUNSELOR AND ATTORNEY AT LAW