The War on Drugs packaged marijuana with heroin as an illegal Class 1 drug. More recently, medical use of cannabis has been legalized in 37 states and even recreational use has become lawful in 18 states, as of this year including New Jersey. Indeed, marijuana has become a $17.5 billion industry with more than 320,000 employees.
Nevertheless, dealing in marijuana remains a federal crime. Although United States senators, including New Jersey’s Cory Booker, are currently discussing decriminalization, efforts to change the law have so far not succeeded. But federal drug enforcement agents are not busily arresting people in all the states that have legalized marijuana. The reason is simple and silly: With few exceptions, the United States Department of Justice has ostensibly exercised prosecutorial discretion. It will not prosecute those engaged in cannabis transactions.