In 2014 South Carolina took one small step closer to legalizing marijuana for medical therapeutic use. It amended its laws to allow for the medicinal use of cannabidiol oil, when it passed the Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Treatment Research Act. At the present moment, marijuana is still illegal in South Carolina and, for that matter, everywhere. Much has been made of Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana and scores other states carving out exceptions to its criminal and medical laws to allow for the proper use of marijuana. Federal law still classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug, indicating that it has no medical use and has a high rate of abuse.
Federal Law – No Exceptions For Medical Use
It was the opinion of the United States Supreme Court that Congress, and the federal government more generally, is entitled to legislate and ban the medical use of marijuana. As indicated by its continued inclusion as a Schedule I drug, the federal government does not concede that marijuana has any legitimate medical use. States are free to regulate their own affairs and make their own laws. The decision to prosecute marijuana laws lies with the local United States Attorney for that local district.
In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder issued guidelines in regards to the prosecution of medical marijuana to help better channel federal resources. The Department of Justice followed up in 2011 and 2013 with further guidelines. Accordingly, it is not a priority of the federal government to prosecute patients who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana. In short, the federal government can prosecute, although they choose not to. Attorney General Holder is implementing the policy that just because you can do something, does not mean you should do it.
Future Of Medical Marijuana In South Carolina
It appears as if the issue of medical marijuana is coming to South Carolina. A bill to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes was introduced on April 22, 2015. Some legislators believe that the law will pass in early 2016. Until then, patients who benefit from marijuana will continue to risk getting arrested and having a conviction. Possession of up to one ounce (28 grams) is a misdemeanor. For a first offense, the individual may face up to 30 days in jail and a $200 fine. Subsequent offenses may yield up to one year in jail and $2,000 fine. South Carolina allows for conditional discharge, wherein if you do not get arrested or otherwise have any interaction for a year, your criminal case is dismissed and there is no conviction. During the year, the defendant remains on probation and must pay all fines and otherwise comply with the rules and regulations of probation.
Contact a South Carolina Criminal Attorney for Help
If you or a loved one is facing marijuana or drug charges, you need an aggressive, experienced lawyer. Few attorneys in the Laurens region have the background and experience as Attorney William Mayer. If you would like to speak with an attorney, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office today for a consultation on your case.