Monday, May 15, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Why Can't Judges Use Marijuana?

from pinterest
The number of states with either decriminalized or legalized weed is increasing at a rapid pace. BUT many of these same states with both recreational and medical marijuana have told their judges, hey do not use any marijuana because it is still illegal under federal law.

Should judges be treated like people when it comes to marijuana?

Should lawyers, as officers of the court avoid pot as well?

Should lawyers and judges be subject to professional discipline for using marijuana in even marijuana legal states?

Judges, Lawyers, and Other Professionals All Partake of Marijuana But It's a Big No No

People both young and old use pot regularly in both states where it is legal and many states where it is not. Some of these people are professionals. They are educated men and women who possess advanced degrees as doctors, lawyers, accountants, and nurses. 

Should these people not be allowed to use marijuana because they have professional licenses?

Many states feel that even though their legislatures have made pot legal the federal government still has not. 

Marijuana is still a big villain on the federal list of most wanted, along with LSD and Heroin:

Federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), 21 U.S.C. 801, et seq. marijuana (cannabis) is listed as an illegal Schedule I Controlled Substance under §812, Subtitle I(c)(10). 

Judges are Asking Whether They Can Partake and Being Advised NO

Many states are advising their judges to not be involved in any way, shape, or form with marijuana. For a number of reasons these states are saying that marijuana use is bad for judges:

In Maryland, pot is legal to grow, process and dispense cannabis for medical purposes but NOT for judges. They can't be involved with marijuana in any way, even for medical use.


Does marijuana diminish the public's perception of judges that use pot? Do they believe that people will lose confidence in the judges ability to be professional and fair if they use marijuana? I think these are fair questions considering the trends.

ONE: Marijuana use is becoming more acceptable to the masses

TWO: Medical marijuana use is expanding state by state as more doctors see it’s benefits to patients with many chronic conditions

New Jersey wants to expand it’s medical marijuana statute to include PTSD victims. Governor Christie sees marijuana use as a viable alternative for those veterans returning home with the devastating effects of military duty.

Colorado has decriminalized the use and possession of medicinal and small amounts of recreational marijuana. I thought marijuana was very free and open in that state but again NOT for judges.

Colorado has stated that because the use of marijuana is a federal crime, a judge’s use of marijuana for any purpose is not a “minor” violation of criminal law and therefore violates Rule 1.1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Colorado says it Violates Rule 1.1 A Judge Must Comply with the Law (pot is not a minor violation in their opinion)

(A) A judge shall comply with the law, including the Code of Judicial Conduct.

(B) Conduct by a judge that violates a criminal law may, unless the violation is minor, constitute a violation of the requirement that a judge must comply with the law.

(C) Every judge subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct, upon being convicted of a crime, except misdemeanor traffic offenses or traffic ordinance violations not including the use of alcohol or drugs, shall notify the appropriate authority in writing of such conviction. . . . This obligation to self-report convictions is a parallel but independent obligation of judges admitted to the Colorado bar to report the same conduct to the Office of Attorney Regulation pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.20. 

As advanced as we think we are, we aren't when it comes to marijuana use.