If someone asked you whether marijuana is legal or illegal, would you be able to answer right away? The status of pot and pot-derived products continues to change almost weekly in states around the country.
For the record, marijuana is still illegal here in Alabama. But it is legal to purchase and use certain marijuana-derived products as long as they contain trace amounts or less of THC, the high-causing ingredient in pot. Legal products include hemp and CBD oil, both of which were legalized nationally late last year as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. But as recent news reports have demonstrated, there is more than a little confusion about the legal status of these products, as well as conflicts between state and federal laws.
Earlier this month, a 69-year-old woman was arrested while visiting Disney World in Florida because it was discovered that she was carrying CBD oil in her purse. The woman is from North Carolina, and she was using the product on the advice of her doctor.
CBD products remain illegal under Florida law, so the arrest was technically valid. Thankfully, the charges against the woman were later dropped. But not everyone who is arrested while carrying a presumably legal substance is so fortunate. There have been numerous news stories in recent months about the arrests of interstate truck drivers pulled over while carrying shipments of hemp – which contains nearly no THC but is hard to distinguish from pot without a lab test. In some of these cases, the drivers faced felony charges.
Many states have legalized marijuana for medical use, while some have also legalized it for recreational use. It remains illegal under federal law and Alabama law. There may come a day when the nation’s drug laws become more uniform and less confusing. But until then, individuals will continue to face frustrating legal issues like the ones described above.
If you’ve been arrested for a drug offense in Alabama, it is critical to protect your rights and understand all of your legal options. Please discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area.