Legal Consequences of Marijuana Abuse

Legal Consequences of Marijuana Abuse

People often consider marijuana to be a relatively safe drug. Just like other drugs, however, marijuana abuse can lead to negative consequences that may be physical, emotional, social, financial and legal.

The legal status of marijuana continues to be the subject of debate in America. Although laws differ from state to state, federal laws define marijuana as a Schedule I drug with a high potential for abuse. Possession of marijuana can have legal ramifications that are destructive and lasting.

The History of Marijuana and the Law

The history of marijuana legislation has featured a number of significant phases, including the following:

  • The first US laws regulating and restricting use of marijuana were enacted in the 1800s.
  • By 1905, 29 states had marijuana laws. These included poison laws and regulations requiring a prescription for the drug.
  • Between 1910 and 1927, over 10 additional states added marijuana laws in a wave of new regulation that aimed to strengthen existing laws and remove loopholes.
  • In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act imposed a large tax on the medical and industrial use of the drug and made all other possession illegal under federal law.
  • In the 1950s, the Boggs Act and Narcotic Control Act imposed a mandatory sentence of two to ten years and a fine of up to $20,000 for possession of marijuana.
  • In the 1980s, mandatory sentencing guidelines were established for a number of crimes, including those that were drug-related.
  • In 1996, California legalized medical marijuana, but the United States Supreme Court confirmed that federal laws make no exception for medical use in 2001.

Legal Dangers Related to Marijuana Use

Being arrested for possession of marijuana is not the only way that marijuana abuse may bring legal trouble upon users. Marijuana use can affect coordination and response time, which often causes the drug to be associated with DUI arrests and fatal crashes.

Marijuana abuse can also lead to addiction, and addicts often engage in abnormal and illegal behavior when they become desperate for their substance of choice. This desperation may lead marijuana addicts to steal money or items that can be sold. Marijuana addicts may also become drug dealers, a position that can result in serious legal consequences. Addicts may also use a significant portion of their income to buy drugs, which could lead them to fail to pay bills and face legal consequences related to debt.

Finding Help for Marijuana Abuse

If you or someone you love is struggling with marijuana abuse, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about the legal consequences of marijuana use and to help you find the best treatment option for your situation. Please call now.