In a previous post, we began discussing how the Controlled Substances Act classifies drugs into five separate schedules based on such factors as the drug's accepted medical use, potential for abuse and potential for addiction.
People are often so caught off-guard or so distraught in the immediate aftermath of an arrest on drug-related charges that they understandably fail to make a mental note of what law enforcement agency actually carried out the arrest.
Unless it has ever happened to you, you might never realize that police can do more to a person they suspect of a drug crime than simply arrest them. Police in Illinois also have the power to seize a suspect’s money, cars, even their home. And they do not have to give any of it back, even if the suspect is never charged with a crime.
Marijuana is a staple of the world of drug crimes, though in controversial fashion. Over the years, the calls for marijuana to be decriminalized have grown louder and the topic is no longer on the fringe, as if it shouldn't be talked about. To the contrary, the topic is at the forefront of the criminal justice system, and with states in the United States changing their laws to allow people to possess recreational amounts of marijuana, you can see that the times are changing.
When someone is charged with a drug crime, it is understandable to think that the accused individual is in a lot of trouble -- almost as if it is a foregone conclusion that he or she will be found guilty. There are a couple of things wrong with this line of thinking. First, no one is guilty until proven innocent; everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Second, there are plenty of viable defense strategies that can be used by the defendant to help his or her case.
Illinois has a long fought the manufacture, marketing and use of synthetic marijuana. In our article Chicago Cracks Down on Retailers Selling Synthetic Drugs, we mentioned that the city was among the first to make it a criminal offense to sell the drug and that the state was not far behind. A law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, takes these laws a couple of steps further.
About a week before the Super Bowl, USA Today published an article about synthetic marijuana use among NFL players. The point of the article was less that the drug is illegal in most states and under federal law than it was to take the NFL to task for not adding synthetic cannabinoids to the list of banned substances.
Medical cannabis is now legally available in Illinois, but patients should still take extra care in interactions with law enforcement. It is especially important for patients to remember that neither prescribing physicians, nor registered dispensaries nor the Illinois Department of Public Health itself can give legal advice -- only a practicing attorney can do that.
More and more, observers and authorities, including President Obama, have acknowledged that America’s “War on Drugs” has been a failure. Millions of people are spending years in prison or otherwise under institutional control for non-violent drug offenses. A disproportionate amount of these people are racial minorities, leading critics to charge that federal drug laws are discriminatory.
Over the past several days, the United States Supreme Court has issued several important decisions. The media and the public are understandably lending the majority of their focus to the same-sex marriage decision released today and the healthcare decision released yesterday. However, another important decision was handed down this June. Although this decision will not affect as many Americans as the two high-profile decisions just mentioned, it will affect a smaller number of Americans in truly significant ways.