Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating
The Best Lawyers in America
Avvo Clients' Choice
Avvo Rating 10.0
National College for DUI Defense
National Collage for DUI Defense
American Council Of Second Amendment Lawyers
Avvo Clients Choice Award
Avvo Rating
Trial Lawyers University
Best Lawyers
James Publishing Author
Super Lawyers
Trial Lawyers College

Interplay of State and Federal Marijuana Laws

As of January 2017, a total of 28 states have legalized medical marijuana. Seven states and the District of Columbia have approved the recreational use of marijuana. However, the federal government still categorizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 Narcotic.

Experienced medical marijuana lawyers are able to help you build a defense for any charges you may be facing under the new legalization laws. Before proceeding with your case, it may be critical to understand the interplay of state and federal marijuana laws in Michigan.

Understanding the Supremacy Clause

Interplay of state and federal marijuana laws in Michigan may have conflicts based on the facts of one's case. Article IV, Section 2 of the US Constitution is known as the Supremacy Clause. This doctrine was first enunciated by Chief Justice John Marshall in McCoullock v. Maryland, 17 US (4 Wheat) 316, 316 4 L. Ed 579 (1819). Justice Marshall declared that "the government of the union, though limited in its power, is supreme within its sphere of action."

When a conflict arises between state action which is apparently incompatible with federal law, there are two issues that must be resolved. The first issue concerns whether the congressional action falls within the scope of federal authority. The authority of Congress to regulate drug trafficking within the United States has been well established for more than a century.

Defining Intentions for Legalization

The court suggested that the focus should be on whether the federal scheme is, "so pervasive as to make the inference that Congress left no room for the state to supplement it." The analysis centers around the question that the federal interest is, "so dominant that the federal system must be assumed to preclude the enforcement of state laws on the same subject."

The second question concerns the possibility that enforcement of state law, "presents a danger of conflict with the administration of the federal program." It seems obvious that the decision of the states to permit the sale of marijuana for recreational use or even for a more limited purpose such as medical marijuana, is clearly in conflict with the federal enforcement scheme.

Impact of Legalized Use

The approval of the use, possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana even for the limited purpose of medical treatment, has caused a significant shift in the law. Until very recently, both sovereigns prohibited the use of marijuana. There was no conflict in regards to the interplay of state and federal marijuana laws in Michigan and hence no issue that touched upon the Supremacy Clause.

Most likely, any federal court called upon to resolve the conflict between state law and federal law will be constrained to rule that the federal law is the supreme law of the land. Since the New Deal, courts have consistently expanded the power of the federal government at the expense of the state's ability to conduct its own affairs.

Permitting the use, possession, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana, even for a limited purpose would, "present a danger of conflict with a federal program" if a state were to be allowed to legalize activities specifically prohibited by congressional action.

Dual Sovereignty in Michigan

In Heath v. Alabama 472 US 82, 88, 106 S. Ct 433, 88 L. Ed 2d 387 (1985), the Supreme Court explained that the doctrine, "is founded on the common-law conception as an offense against the sovereignty of the government." Thus, the courts have held that even double jeopardy is not a bar to prosecution when the same act violates the peace and dignity of two sovereigns by the same act.

In a state where the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purpose has been approved by the state government, there is no legal bar to the federal government enforcing its laws to prosecute an individual for a violation of federal law even though such conduct is permissible under state law.

What Changes Have Impacted Interplay of State and Federal Marijuana Laws?

In Michigan, numerous courts have imposed upon defendants, who are released on bond or placed on probation, a prohibition against the use of marijuana even for those who have a medical marijuana card. The rationale for such a decision is that although the use of medical marijuana is legal under Michigan law, it constitutes a violation of federal law and hence constitutes a violation of law prohibited under standard bond conditions.

The change in Michigan law has created a conflict between state and federal law. Several states have authorized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. An additional group of states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.

However, it is abundantly clear that federal law still prohibits the use, cultivation, sale, possession, and distribution of marijuana. The question of what, if any action, the federal government anticipates taking against individuals who reside in states that have approved the medical or recreational use of marijuana is at present unclear. At the outset, the federal government will take a different position on the use of medical marijuana as opposed to recreational marijuana.

Call Today! FREE Consultation Lawyer and Receive Immediate Attention for Your Criminal Law Case Patrick T. Barone is a Michigan Super Lawyer, who has maintained continuous top attorney ratings since 2007. In addition, the Michigan native is the author of multiple books on OWI, DUI and criminal law. The OUIL attorney near me has lectured at over 80 legal seminars all over America. He leads Barone Defense Firm in providing aggressive legal warriors for each client's criminal case.

Contact us 24 hours a day at our law firm’s easy to remember toll-free number, 1-877-ALL-MICH or 877-255-6424, for a free criminal case review. The Michigan attorneys near me at Barone Defense Firm travel the entire Great Lakes State, to help citizens in legal trouble in Michigan for alleged criminal law violations.

For your FREE lawyer consultation, call today to learn how to protect yourself from a possible unwarranted conviction. What do you have to lose, when the free legal advice with our litigation team’s criminal lawyers near me can answer many tough questions?

Client Reviews
Patrick Barone is the ONLY choice for DUI defense. He was realistic from the start and made it a point to look at my case before taking my money. As a business owner, when I think of attorneys, I think of the "shark infested waters. Patrick is a shark alright, but his prey is not the client; it's justice for his client. Ten stars Patrick!! Chris F.
Attorney Patrick Barone was very helpful and helped me understand the charge and sentence absolutely clearly. He also guided me through step by step helping me form a statement. His instructions were clear and detailed. It was obvious he cared about me understanding every important detail within my case. I would absolutely recommend this defense firm to anyone in need. Aaron B.
The Barone Defense Firm is the firm I recommend. They are truly concerned about the person, not just the legal issue, but the person as well. They are the most knowledgeable defense firm that I am aware of, having actually written the book on DWI Defense. If you are faced with a DWI you will not find a more professional and skilled law firm. But, most importantly, they care about how the accused individual recovers his or her life when the case is complete. Very remarkable group of lawyers. William H.