Sessions Rescinds Obama Pot Policy

Marijuana legalization

SESSIONS DECLARES WAR ON POT

In a stunning, but not unexpected move, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded the Justice Department’s policy of non-interference with States that have decriminalized and/or legalized marijuana. Cannabis and its derivatives have long been illegal to use, possess and distribute under federal law. Weed is actually still illegal to use, possess and distribute in most states.

However, in the last 20 years several states have decriminalized the possession of pot. A few states have made its medicinal or recreational use and distribution legal under state law. As a result, the Obama administration’s justice department developed a policy of non-interference in these states. In other words, as long as the states managed their pot responsibly, the DEA, FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies would not enforce federal laws prohibiting marijuana. In actual fact, United States Attorney offices around the country essentially quit prosecuting marijuana cases. That may all be changing.

PROSECUTIONS FOR MARIJUANA LOOMING

It is unclear whether Sessions’ decision to rescind the Cole Memos policy guidance means the feds will start enforcing federal laws prohibiting marijuana. The status quo could hold, but Sessions disdain for marijuana is well documented. Your “legal” weed may soon land you in serious federal trouble. Federal drug charges can carry 5, 10, 20 or even lifetime mandatory minimums depending on the type and amount of drug and your criminal history. Most federal drug cases are charged as a conspiracy. A person does not even have to touch the drug to become part of a federal conspiracy case. In short, if you live in or visit a state where pot is “legal” and you choose to smoke or join a pot business, watch your back. The feds may not be far away.

Stowers & Sarcone, PLC

Des Moines Marijuana Charges Lawyer

Des Moines Iowa Marijuana Charges Lawyer

Do you need a Des Moines marijuana charges lawyer? Do you have marijuana charges anywhere else in Iowa? Then you have come to the right spot. Dean Stowers and Nick Sarcone handle marijuana cases and other serious drug charges in Des Moines and throughout the State of Iowa.

MARIJUANA IS ILLEGAL IN IOWA

The possession and distribution (trafficking) of marijuana is illegal in Iowa. Iowa Code Chapter 124 makes the possession, possession with the intent to deliver and the distribution of marijuana illegal. The penalties can range from 6 months in jail and loss of your driving privileges to 5 years in prison. Law enforcement treat, possession, possession with the intent to deliver, and distribution of marijuana are the same as any other drugs. Often, they find marijuana through searches of homes and vehicles. Sometimes, police utilize confidential informants, controlled buys, trash pulls and recorded phone calls to make their case. Whatever the method, you need a solid, experienced marijuana charges lawyer to defend you.

MARIJUANA CHARGES IN DES MOINES

Des Moines in located in Polk County, Iowa for which criminal prosecutions fall under the jurisdiction of the Polk County Attorney’s Office. The Polk County Attorney’s Office has a specialized group of prosecutors known as the “drug and gang bureau”. This group is in charge of prosecuting all individuals charged with marijuana offenses and other drug crimes. The “drug and gang bureau” is notorious for offering bad plea deals, withholding discovery information and overcharging. Dealing with these prosecutors requires experience and skill. That’s why you should chose Stowers & Sarcone, PLC to defend you.

MARIJUANA IS ILLEGAL UNDER FEDERAL LAW

The federal government has also criminalized the possession and distribution of marijuana. Under the Obama Administration, the Justice Department all but ceased prosecuting marijuana charges. However, under the Trump Administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it seems likely the Justice Department will once again be prosecuting marijuana offenses. Federal marijuana charges are much more severe than Iowa state charges. Federal marijuana offenses carry longer prison terms and potential mandatory minimum sentences. Dean Stowers and Nick Sarcone are experienced federal criminal defense attorneys. If you are charged federally you must have a lawyer who knows federal law and procedure. Stowers & Sarcone, PLC will defend you in federal court.

MARIJUANA CHARGES LAWYER THROUGHOUT IOWA

Dean Stowers and Nick Sarcone take marijuana and other drug cases all across the State of Iowa. From Polk County to Pottawattamie County to Woodbury County, Linn County, BlackHawk County, Wapello County, Scott County and everywhere in between. There is no place we will not travel to defend you. Big city, small town, large county, little county, it makes no difference. Our only goal is to get you the best possible outcome and we will fight our hardest to make that a reality.

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION 

Although, marijuana maybe legal in some states, it is not legal in Iowa or under federal law. Thus, while you may not believe marijuana is a big deal, the government takes it very seriously. Whether you are in college, working a regular job, or have a professional career, saddling yourself with a marijuana offense can have serious negative consequences. It might mean the loss of your student loans or the inability to get into graduate school. It could mean the loss of your job or the suspension of your professional license. No matter what the consequence, you want an experienced lawyer who will fight hard for your freedom and your future. Call Stowers & Sarcone, PLC – 515.224.7446 right now!

Penalties for Possession of Marijuana in Iowa

I blog a lot about marijuana and controlled substances. Previously, I compared how state and federal charges differ. I also explained how Iowa law classifies control substances depending on their physical and psychological dependency. Today, I will post a table that will list penalties for possession of marijuana in Iowa.

Class Minimum penalties Maximum penalties Additional penalties
First Offense Serious Misdemeanor Fine of $315

 

Deferred judgment is available

Imprisonment for not more than 6 months in jail

 

A fine of not more than $1,000

Six-month driver’s license suspension
Second Offense

 

Serious Misdemeanor Fine of $315 Imprisonment for not more than 1 year in jail

 

A fine of not more than $1,875

Six-month driver’s license suspension
Third offense Aggravated Misdemeanor Fine of $625

 

Imprisonment for not more than 1 year in jail

 

A fine of not more than $6,250

Six-month driver’s license suspension

If you have questions about Iowa drug laws and penalties, feel free to call me at (515) 224-7446. I will be happy to answer your questions and to tell you more about drug charges in Iowa.

New Iowa Medical Marijuana Legislation

As I wrote recently, it is a crime to possess and use any kind of marijuana products in Iowa. However, in 2014, Iowa’s medical marijuana law took effect. The law allowed patients with severe epilepsy to use medical cannabis oil and cannabis oil only to relieve their symptoms. Section 124D of the Iowa Code that is known as Medical Cannabidiol Act authorizes the Iowa Department of Public Health to approve the issuance of a Cannabidiol Registration Card to a person who has intractable epilepsy or to a primary caregiver of a person who has intractable epilepsy. This includes, for example, parents whose kids suffer from epilepsy. To become a medical marijuana patient in Iowa and to get a card you:

  • Must be a resident of Iowa with a valid Iowa I.D. as proof of residency
  • Obtain a copy of your medical records indicating that you are diagnosed with a qualifying condition
  • Obtain written documentation from a physician licensed in the state of Iowa that that you are a qualifying patient. Be sure to bring your medical records with you to your appointment
  • Apply for and receive a Medical Marijuana Card from the state of Iowa

So, a patient can get a Medical Marijuana Card. But how about the access to prescription cannabis oil for those patients? Now, it is illegal to grow marijuana in Iowa and to extract oil from it. That means that you can get a card but you cannot buy prescription cannabis oil in Iowa. Ironically, it cost the state more than $100,000 to create and issue registration cards to about 50 people. Those people have cards but cannot buy prescription cannabis oil in Iowa. House Representative Peter Cownie said, “We have a law on the books that allows you to possess it, but you can’t get it.” As a result, parents have to travel to Colorado to access the oil. That constitutes a crime because federal law prohibits the transportation of marijuana across state lines.

There is a chance that the situation will change for the better in the future. Recently, the above-mentioned Representative Cownie proposed a bill that would bring cannabis oil production and sales to Iowa. A new bill is supposed to make it legal to grow medical marijuana, make cannabis oil and setup dispensaries in Iowa. If the bill becomes a law, Iowans with Medical Marijuana Cards will get access to prescription marijuana oil.

I am Nick Sarcone, attorney at Stowers and Sarcone. If you have questions about medical marijuana, feel free to reach me at (515) 224-7446.

New Iowa’s Medical Marijuana Legislation

As I wrote recently, it is a crime to possess and use any kind of marijuana products in Iowa. However, in 2014, Iowa’s medical marijuana law took effect. The law allowed patients with severe epilepsy to use medical cannabis oil and cannabis oil only to relieve their symptoms. Section 124D of the Iowa Code that is known as Medical Cannabidiol Act authorizes the Iowa Department of Public Health to approve the issuance of a Cannabidiol Registration Card to a person who has intractable epilepsy or to a primary caregiver of a person who has intractable epilepsy. This includes, for example, parents whose kids suffer from epilepsy. To become a medical marijuana patient in Iowa and to get a card you:

  • Must be a resident of Iowa with a valid Iowa I.D. as proof of residency
  • Obtain a copy of your medical records indicating that you are diagnosed with a qualifying condition
  • Obtain written documentation from a physician licensed in the state of Iowa that that you are a qualifying patient. Be sure to bring your medical records with you to your appointment
  • Apply for and receive a Medical Marijuana Card from the state of Iowa

So, a patient can get a Medical Marijuana Card. But how about the access to prescription cannabis oil for those patients? Now, it is illegal to grow marijuana in Iowa and to extract oil from it. That means that you can get a card but you cannot buy prescription cannabis oil in Iowa. Ironically, it cost the state more than $100,000 to create and issue registration cards to about 50 people. Those people have cards but cannot buy prescription cannabis oil in Iowa. House Representative Peter Cownie said, “We have a law on the books that allows you to possess it, but you can’t get it.” As a result, parents have to travel to Colorado to access the oil. That constitutes a crime because federal law prohibits the transportation of marijuana across state lines.

There is a chance that the situation will change for the better in the future. Recently, the above-mentioned Representative Cownie proposed a bill that would bring cannabis oil production and sales to Iowa. A new bill is supposed to make it legal to grow medical marijuana, make cannabis oil and setup dispensaries in Iowa. If the bill becomes a law, Iowans with Medical Marijuana Cards will get access to prescription marijuana oil.

I am Nick Sarcone, attorney at Stowers and Sarcone. If you have questions about medical marijuana, feel free to reach me at (515) 224-7446.

Iowa State Basketball Star Bryce Dejean-Jones Charged with Drug House Violation

According to multiple media outlets, KCCI, Des Moines Register & WHO, Iowa State Basketball star Bryce Dejean-Jones was charged early Thursday December 11, 2014 by Ames, Iowa police with a drug charge.  It is also being reported by these medial outlets that the charge has now been dismissed based on a lack of probable cause in the criminal complaint.  I checked Iowa Courts Online to determine the precise charge and am unable to find the case.  This is unsurprising given the charges were brought early this morning.

Apparently, Ames Police received a noise complaint late last night and responded to Mr. Dejean-Jones apartment.  When they knocked and the door was opened, police allegedly smelled the odor of burnt marijuana.  This caused police to obtain a search warrant for the premises.  Upon searching, Ames Police found Mr. Dejean-Jones and several other people as well as a small amount of burned marijuana.  They then arrested Mr. Dejean-Jones (the status of the other occupants is unknown) and charged him with a drug charge as well as nuisance and noise violations.

I believe there are probably two potential Iowa Code violations with which Mr. Dejean-Jones could have been charged.  The first is a “Prohibited Acts” charge in violation of Iowa Code Section 124.402(1)(e):

1. It is unlawful for any person:

e. Knowingly to keep or permit the keeping or to maintain any premises, store shop, warehouse, dwelling, temporary, or permanent building, vehicle, boat, aircraft, or other temporary or permanent structure or place, which is resorted to by persons using controlled substances in violation of this chapter for the purpose of using these substances, or which is used for keeping, possessing or selling them in violation of this chapter.

The second charge is a “Gatherings” charge which is a violation of Iowa Code Section 124.407:

It is unlawful for any person to sponsor, promote, or aid, or assist in the sponsoring or promoting of a meeting, gathering, or assemblage with the knowledge or intent that a controlled substance be there distributed, used or possessed, in violation of this chapter.

Any person who violates this section and where the controlled substances is any one other than marijuana is guilty of a class “D” felony.

Any person who violates this section, and where the controlled substance is marijuana only, is guilty of a serious misdemeanor.

The media has been reporting all along that this is a serious misdemeanor so I am guessing Ames police charged Dejean-Jones with the “Gatherings” charge because the “Prohibited Acts” drug charge is an aggravated misdemeanor.  That being the case, it is also wholly unsurprising that the charge was dropped for lack of probable cause.  In the complaint Ames Police filed, there had to have been some evidence that Mr. Dejean-Jones actually sponsored, promoted or assisted in the sponsoring or promotion of a gathering knowing or intending that controlled substances were going to be distributed, used or possessed at that gathering.  In layman’s terms, there had to be some evidence that he gathered a group of people to use drugs.  That a group of people were together and drugs were used is not sufficient basis on which to establish probable cause for this charge.  There must have been some evidence of an act on the part of Mr. Dejean-Jones to gather the people in the apartment knowing drug were going to be used or intending drugs were going to be used.

One might also question why he would not have been charged with possession of marijuana if it was found in his apartment.  I am speculating, but I would guess it was all found in a common area of the apartment which multiple people had access to.  If that is the case, it would be very difficult to prove to whom the marijuana belonged.  This is often why the police opt for charges like the “Prohibited Acts” or “Gatherings” charge when they do not believe they can prove a  possession offense.

Even with the charge dismissed, however, Coach Hoiberg still has a conundrum on his hands.  One of his star players, at the very least, permitted someone to smoke marijuana in his apartment.  There is a news conference scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m. so we will see what Coach Hoiberg decides to do.