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With Legalized Pot in the Air, a Federal Trial Riles Advocates | Cannabis Business Executive – Cannabis and Marijuana industry news

Although some states have approved cannabis sales, the federal government still considers it a serious drug. That muddle was on display in a case where a man faced 10 years to life in prison. BALTIMORE — In his closing arguments to the jury on Friday afternoon, an assistant U.S. attorney, Anatoly Smolkin, declared what U.S.…
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Although some states have approved cannabis sales, the federal government still considers it a serious drug. That muddle was on display in a case where a man faced 10 years to life in prison.

BALTIMORE — In his closing arguments to the jury on Friday afternoon, an assistant U.S. attorney, Anatoly Smolkin, declared what U.S. v. Jonathan Wall was not about. “This is not a case about marijuana possession,” he said. “This is a case about a drug conspiracy,” about an operation that shipped “massive amounts” of weed across the country in return for “enormous money.”

When the defense’s turn came, Jason Flores-Williams, a sharply dressed lawyer from Colorado, stood up and begged to differ. “It’s about pot,” he said.

That the lawyers in the trial, one of a steadily shrinking number of federal criminal prosecutions concerning the trafficking of marijuana, differed on what the case was even about reflected the national legal consensus on pot — or more accurately, the confounding lack of one.

At the moment, marijuana is legal for recreational use in 18 states and legal for medical use in 37, a multibillion-dollar industry in states all over the political spectrum. Yet at the federal level, it is still classified as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin and LSD. Presidential administrations have sent memos about the priority of marijuana prosecutions only to have them rescinded by successors. While a bill to decriminalize marijuana recently passed in the House of Representatives, it faces long odds in the Senate. [Read More @ The NY Times]

 

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