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Federal Marijuana Laws


Simple possession or cultivation of marijuana for personal use is illegal under the federal law, as is possession with intent to sell, trafficking and conspiracy to distribute. Federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance which can result in severe penalties.  There are mandatory prison sentence minimums of 5 and 10 years, which are automatically imposed when certain quantities of marijuana (either in weight or number of plants) are involved.

There is no such thing as medical marijuana or medical marijuana defense under the federal law. Federal law does not recognize such standard defenses as the medical necessity defense or defense based on the approval of medical use of marijuana by a physician of the individual states.

Federal marijuana cases are among the most challenging cases because of the lack of affirmative legal defenses and potentially severe penalties. Federal marijuana cases require a skilled criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable about both marijuana and the complex federal sentencing guidelines.