Oregon is one of several states that have legalized cannabis for medicinal and adult-use purposes. This is a welcome change, but it does not mean that Oregon residents are immune to prosecution for cannabis-related criminal offenses. Attorney Michael R. Hughes regularly defends Oregonians who face criminal charges for violating local, state, or federal laws regulating the possession, sale, or use of marijuana.
Cannabis Laws Are Complex
As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Attorney Michael R. Hughes appreciates how difficult it is to stay in compliance with rapidly evolving marijuana laws. Conflicting local, state, and federal laws mean the definition of criminal acts is not as clear as it was in the past.
Under federal law, cannabis is a Schedule I drug. This means it is a federal crime to possess, use, or attempt to sell it because federal regulators say it has a high potential for abuse and serves no legitimate medical purpose. New research and changing public opinion may mean changes to federal law are on the horizon, but as of right now, marijuana is treated the same as heroin or cocaine under federal law.
The state of Oregon treats cannabis differently than the federal government; however, Oregon’s cannabis industry remains heavily regulated. It is still illegal to use marijuana in a public place or to grow or sell marijuana without a license. Possession of more than the legal limits or manufacturing marijuana or marijuana items can result in misdemeanor and/or felony charges.
Growing marijuana without a license can result in Class C felony charges which are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $125,000 fine. Manufacturing marijuana extracts without a license can result in Class B felony charges which are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If you are charged with a “commercial marijuana offense” you will be facing a Category 8 offense under Oregon’s sentencing guidelines which is a presumptive prison sentence.
It is important to note that Oregon’s cannabis laws are enforced differently in certain parts of the state. What is tolerated in one part of the state may earn you a criminal charge in another.
Why a Cannabis Criminal Defense Attorney Is Essential
The consequences of being charged with a cannabis crime vary widely, but even in 2022 people in Oregon can face prison sentences for manufacturing cannabis without a license. Attorney Michael R. Hughes has the experience to know if you are facing a slap on the wrist or incarceration. He can tell you what the worst-case scenario is if you are convicted and advise you on what the most likely outcome is if you chose to fight the allegations against you or accept a plea deal.
Remember, fines and jail time are not the only punishments on the table. Catching a cannabis charge can limit your ability to work in the cannabis or hemp industries, may put your driver’s license in jeopardy, and could follow you around limiting your opportunities for the rest of your life. Putting up a strong defense is critical.
Also, many cannabis cases involve civil asset forfeiture and the government will try to steal your houses, cars, money, collectible coins, and anything else that has value. This becomes a complex civil case that is entirely separate from your criminal case. Michael Hughes has experience in litigating and settling civil cases, including asset forfeit matters.
Every Step Of The Way
As a hemp and cannabis law expert, nobody understands the complexities of the conflicting marijuana laws better than Attorney Michael R. Hughes. He makes a point to know the ins and outs of the law, and keep pace with changing regulations. His intimate familiarity with cannabis laws has benefited his clients on numerous occasions.
Attorney Hughes will investigate any inconsistencies or potential mistakes by law enforcement officials too eager to slap the cuffs on someone. Attorney Hughes will go through the police reports with a fine-tooth comb looking for due process violations:
- Did the police fail to read you your rights?
- Was evidence obtained without a proper search warrant?
- Were you coerced into making a confession?
Illegal police action can also make any incriminating evidence they turn up inadmissible in court. If the only evidence against you was improperly obtained, the case against you may be quite weak.
Attorney Hughes also looks to:
- Identify and interview potential defense witnesses
- Collect and preserve evidence
- Challenge any lab results or other evidence collected by law enforcement
Because cannabis is considered a Schedule I drug under federal law, there has been little research on ways to properly identify someone who is under the influence. When police are relying on flimsy field sobriety tests, or non-scientific Drug Recognition Evaluations, there is plenty of room for error.
Throughout the time Attorney Hughes is working on your case it is critical that you speak openly and candidly with him. The information you share will not be used to judge you or make you feel bad about yourself. Anything you reveal will be held in the strictest confidence unless it can be used to help you defeat the charges against you.
If your case is not dismissed, and you are not offered an acceptable plea bargain, Attorney Michael R. Hughes will aggressively defend your reputation at trial. He will force the government to shoulder the full burden of proof. Remember, they must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless and until they do so, you remain innocent.
An Oregon Cannabis Criminal Defense Attorney Who Understands Your Side
In addition to working as a cannabis criminal defense attorney, Michael R. Hughes is a hemp and cannabis law and production expert, and an original member of the Cannabis Law Section of the Oregon State Bar. He knows this industry from the ground up and appreciates how difficult it is to comply with Oregon’s ever-changing marijuana laws as well as conflicting federal and local laws. He has spent decades advocating for less restrictive marijuana laws and defending people in cannabis cases.
If you are facing criminal charges for cannabis-related crimes, Attorney Michael R. Hughes is ready to take your call. There is no other attorney in the country with his depth of experience, and his commitment to justice runs deep. Please reach out today to schedule an initial consultation.
Hughes Law handles cannabis criminal defense cases in Jefferson County, Lake County, Crook County, Douglass County, and Deschutes County.