Medical Marijuana possession is still a federal crime in all 50 states

In Colorado, Brandon Coats claimed Dish Network violated the law by canning him because of his use of medical marijuana, which took place at home and during nonworking hours – after all, he had a medical marijuana card, and his health was very frail. He argued he was fired for doing something totally legal.

For years, many people have been screaming that marijuana is the only thing that gives them relief, and even some common over-the-counter medications can be worse on the body than marijuana. In June of this year, the Colorado Supreme Court sided with Dish Network–because technically possessing marijuana is still a federal crime in all 50 states (Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 844(a). So the Colorado Court, as a matter of law, got this right. Laws simply need to be changed.

Even if you hate marijuana, you gotta feel for this guy. After all, here’s a guy that’s a quadriplegic and has been confined to a wheelchair since he was a teenager. He went through the proper channels in Colorado, so he thought, so that he could ingest marijuana. According to the ruling, “in 2009, he registered for and obtained a state-issued license to use medical marijuana to treat painful muscle spasms caused by his quadriplegia. Coats consumes medical marijuana at home, after work, and in accordance with his license and Colorado state law.”

Let’s be logical here. How many people get drunk at home after a day’s work in Colorado (the land of Coors)? My guess is a bajillion. I know, I used to live there. Even John Elway (who may be governor of Colorado some day) has done a Coors commercial.

Now, let’s be illogical and be like the employer. Hey, let’s pick on this crippled guy because technically smoking marijuana violates a federal law that is not enforced in Colorado.

The Founding Fathers of this nation must be rolling in their graves. A weed, that grows naturally, is illegal. Yet, Getting drunk is just fine. Who do you suppose a cop would rather arrest–a damned drunk, or a mellow guy who’s smoked pot? While a drunk will fight a cop, the marijuana dude will typically just ask the cop if he has a bag of chips.

Meanwhile the use of Ambien (zolpidem), which is a sedative, also called a hypnotic, will continue to be just fine for the people to use off duty. As an attorney, I can tell you that the Ambien cases I have handled have been very weird indeed. Just surf the net for what people say have happened to them after they took it. Who would you rather be operating heavy equipment – the marijuana smoker, or the Ambien user?

In Utah, marijuana is never legal for any purpose (even though we’re surrounded by states that have made it “legal.” However, in 2015, State Senator Mark Madsen introduced S.B. 259, a bill to create a medical marijuana program. The bill lacked the vote of approval by the Senate, but expect it to come back soon.

Mark Benson Madsen is the grandson of former Mormon prophet Ezra Taft Benson and was raised in Littleton, Colorado. Truth is stranger then fiction indeed.

If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana in Utah, call us immediately. We can help. 801-651-1512.

The law: Any person convicted of violating Subsection (2)(a)(i) with respect to:(i) marijuana, if the amount is 100 pounds or more, is guilty of a second degree felony; or(ii) a substance classified in Schedule I or II, or a controlled substance analog, is guilty of a class A misdemeanor on a first or second conviction, and on a third or subsequent conviction is guilty of a third degree felony.(c) Upon a person’s conviction of a violation of this Subsection (2) subsequent to a conviction under Subsection (1)(a), that person shall be sentenced to a one degree greater penalty than provided in this Subsection (2).(d) Any person who violates Subsection (2)(a)(i) with respect to all other controlled substances not included in Subsection (2)(b)(i) or (ii), including a substance listed in Section 58-37-4.2, or marijuana, is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. Upon a third conviction the person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor, and upon a fourth or subsequent conviction the person is guilty of a third degree felony. Utah Code Ann. § 58-37-8 (West)

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