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Fairfax DUI lawyer / Virginia driving under the influence attorney Jon Katz knows that a prosecution for drug-impaired driving is defensible. At the same time, it bears stating that driving under the influence of any drug is a crime in Virginia, whether or not the drug is prescribed or over the counter, illegal, or marijuana, even though simple marijuana possession (not for distribution nor sale) now is decriminalized as a civil offense carrying a $25 fine as the penalty.

420 is another word for marijuana, referencing a 4:20 p.m. time to toke and today's 4/20 date to celebrate. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer. I  spiritedly defend against marijuana and other drug prosecutions, running from simple possession to multiple plants and distribution / possession with intent to distribute. Cannabis advocates' sweat equity, perseverance, and patience have paid off in outright marijuana legalization in some states, decriminalization in others, and legal medical marijuana in many states.

Marijuana dismissal for most simple pot possession (versus possession with intent to distribute) cases has arrived with the new Fairfax County and Arlington County, Virginia, prosecutors, who took office this week. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I see this as a big leap forward for civil liberties, not only for marijuana consumers, but also for freedom of lifestyle choice and against police overzealousness with enforcing against marijuana.

Dismissing or not prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana possession cases is now the policy of the chief prosecutors in Portsmouth (except for likely still prosecuting juveniles for possessing marijuana) and Norfolk Virginia. As a Fairfax drug lawyer and civil libertarian, I applaud this move and encourage a cannabis non-prosecution trend throughout the commonwealth.

Rescheduling marijuana away from being a Schedule I or even Schedule II drug, federally, is essential. A federal Schedule I controlled substance is a dangerous drug that has no recognized medicinal benefits; that is how marijuana currently is scheduled in federal law. A Schedule II drug is one that has recognized medicinal benefits, but is classified as very dangerous.

Fairfax criminal lawyer on a marijuana case victory for Timothy Leary. Marijuana tax act (Act) prosecutions were popular right through the 1960's, until the United States Supreme Court in 1969 reversed LSD guru Timothy Leary's conviction for not complying with the Act, in that complying with the Act would have violated Leary's right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Leary v. U.S., 395 U.S 6 (1969). As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I am always on the lookout for defenses against self incrimination.

Local news interviewed me on February 14, 2018, for its televised story aired the same date about the Virginia legislature-passed law permitting physicians to prescribe CBD and THC-A oils to patients. The local news segments with me begin here, shortly after minute 1:00. I blogged about the same issue on February 9, 2018, and expect the law to take effect in the middle of this year, which is the usual schedule for Virginia-enacted legislation to take effect.

Virginia marijuana law is woefully behind neighboring District of Columbia and Maryland, which both do not criminalize possession of personal amounts of marijuana (but D.C. still criminalizes smoking marijuana in public). As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that Virginia police overemphasize ferreting out marijuana not only for prosecuting for marijuana, but also as an excuse to use discovery of marijuana or its odor to then search for possibly even more serious contraband.

Fairfax marijuana lawyer on the stark contrast between strict Virginia pot laws versus liberal marijuana laws in the neighboring northern jurisdictions. Virginia is one of the strictest states for marijutana law. How much longer can Virginia keep up such an anti-marijuana regime with its governor who favors loosening marijuana laws -- but where Republican state legislators will likely pose an uphill battle -- and with the sky having far from fallen

Here are some examples of the marijuana legalization movement's progress with marijuana decriminalization: This month in Nevada, recreational marijuana is legal to purchase at state-approved retail outlets. This month, New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu (whose sister Liz once was my dormitory resident assistant) signed a law decriminalizing marijuana possession. Last week, and despite Attorney General Jeff Session's contrary request, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill provision renewing preventing the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.

Virginia 251 dispositions for drug and marijuana possession are not necessarily the panacea that numerous police, prosecutor and judges elevate them to be. Talk is abuzz about a July 1, 2017, Virginia law change that no longer requires a judge to suspend one's driving privileges for marijuana 251's if the judge exercises the option to more than double mandatory minimum community service from 24 hours to 50 hours. Va. Code § 18.2-251.

Legalize marijuana as much as alcohol is legalized, and our civil liberties will flourish exponentially. Police repeatedly troll for marijuana odor, to seize on such odor as probable cause to search for marijuana and other contraband. The District of Columbia heavily decriminalized marijuana to address racial disparities in police pot arrests. Convicting and jailing marijuana consumers converts countless otherwise law-abiding citizens into convicted and jailed criminals. Even if marijuana is legalized, I doubt I will use it. This is a matter of freedom of choice. Similarly, even if handgun laws are further liberalized -- with Second Amendment rights having particular teeth in my state of Virginia -- I do not expect to be buying any firearms (although I enjoyed target-shooting .22 single-shot rifles in summer camp).

Each year, the relevant dialogue about marijuana legalization moves even further as a serious dialogue rather than anything susceptible to being portrayed as stoners' folly. Worldwide each year, marijuana becomes more accepted for medicinal purposes and more widely legalized and decriminalized for recreational purposes. April 20 is not only relevant to me for the civil liberties benefits of legalizing marijuana, but also because it is the anniversary of this Underdog Blog launched in 2006, and because it is the birthday of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who repeatedly was one of the steadier voices of reason on the Court.