With marijuana legal in Colorado, but illegal under federal law, you would think the temptation to grow the plant on public land would be relatively low. Unfortunately for Colorado's forests and mountains, illegal cannabis growers continue to cut costs by cultivating in state and national parks and forests. And, it may be getting worse, according to representatives of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a coalition of law enforcement agencies.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains the Double Jeopardy clause, which reads, "nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."
Despite recent moves to make it easier for federal prosecutors to crack down on marijuana crimes, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced that they probably won't be doing so. That's because federal law enforcement simply doesn't have the resources to spend time on "routine cases." Instead, it will continue to prioritize drug conspiracies and gang activity.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled that federal prosecutors may be about to crack down on marijuana use in states and jurisdictions where it has been legalized. Possession and distribution of cannabis remains illegal under federal law, but the previous administration had adopted a hands-off approach when dealing with the drug in Colorado and other legalization states.
Under federal law, sentencing for drug offenses and many other crimes is determined by formulas listed in the federal sentencing guidelines. Those guidelines are promulgated by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in cooperation with Congress. Sometimes, Congress and the Commission determine that the sentences for certain offenses have a tendency to be unduly harsh or unjust against a certain demographic.
Marijuana is now legal for medical purposes in 29 states and Washington, D.C. It is legal for recreational use in eight states and D.C. Nevertheless, it remains illegal under federal law. So far, the federal government has played along, but for how long?
Seven months ago, President Trump launched a commission to develop solutions to the worst drug crisis in American history -- opioids. The commission, led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has just issued its recommendations. Among them are more training for doctors who prescribe the drugs, penalties for insurance companies that fail to pay for drug treatment, and the establishment of drug courts in all 93 federal court jurisdictions.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a 10th Circuit drug case involving wiretap evidence. A federal judge in the District of Kansas issued a wiretap order against two suspects, but the modern wiretap process allowed law enforcement to listen even when the phones were outside that district. Should a Kansas District wiretap order be effective wherever its targets travel? Should evidence collected outside of the Kansas District be allowed against the defendants?