There’s a changing perspective in society. It was less than a decade ago that Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize marijuana. Before that, possession of marijuana was a crime throughout the country.
Since many states are legalizing marijuana in various forms and uses, the prevailing attitude is one of less concern over the drug in general. Because of that lessened concern, many people think that marijuana-related crimes are no longer being pursued by federal and state prosecutors.
However, this is a misconception. Although significant changes in the law regarding marijuana have and likely will continue to be on the horizon in Illinois and throughout the United States, the fact is that those changes are not completely here. People continue to face prosecution for marijuana and other drug related crimes on both the state and federal levels.
For example, U.S. News online reports of a Massachusetts man who recently pled guilty to various charges stemming from an illegal marijuana delivery company. The charges alleged that the company operated a website that offered marijuana for sale and delivery, which was often performed without requiring proof of medical marijuana cards and delivering marijuana products to unattended locations for anyone to acquire. This is just one example of the incorrect assumption that authorities are no longer paying attention to marijuana-related crimes.
Cryptocurrency will not protect you from arrest and prosecution
In a recent blog post, we discussed the launch of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, a branch launched by the Department of Justice to crack down on the uses and abuses of cryptocurrency.
There is a mistaken belief that using Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency makes it easier to cover up the exchange of money during criminal activity like the buying and selling of marijuana. However, the police on both the federal and state levels are tracking cryptocurrency in search of anomalies that could establish probable cause to support their belief that a variety of crimes have been committed.
Not only are law enforcement working hard to track and trace cryptocurrency used in drug crimes, but they are also using asset forfeiture to seize it and keep it. There are countless examples of the police seizing cryptocurrency as well as physical assets in conjunction with drug arrests, including this story from Business Insider online. In this case, $48 million was seized in a combination of cash and cryptocurrency.
Marijuana dispensaries are also being targeted
Another example involves dispensaries of medical marijuana. Many dispensaries have been charged with operating without a license or shut down for distributing marijuana out the back door in non-compliance with state law. Further, instances of arrests for illegal dealing on the side by dispensary employees are rampant.
The important point here is that marijuana dispensaries do not provide a free reign for distribution, possession and use of the drug. In fact, state and federal authorities are keeping their eyes on dispensaries for any misstep and have easy access to check on them given the administrative rules that allow them to operate.
While the laws regulating marijuana might be changing, and a time may come when marijuana related prosecutions essentially cease, that time is not yet upon us.
If you are being prosecuted or believe you are being investigated for a marijuana related offense, contact the Law Offices of Darryl A. Goldberg for representation or a consultation from highly experienced and effective attorneys.