Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It regulates social conduct and proscribes threatening, harming, or otherwise endangering the health, safety, and moral welfare of people. It includes the punishment of people who violate these laws. Criminal law differs from civil law, whose emphasis is more on dispute resolution and victim compensation than on punishment.
The legal year, in English law as well as in other common law jurisdictions, is the calendar during which the judges sit in court. It is traditionally divided into periods called "terms."
In England, the year is divided into four terms:
The legality of cannabis varies from country to country. Possession of cannabis is illegal in most countries and has been since the beginning of widespread cannabis prohibition in the late 1930s. However, many countries have decriminalized the possession of small quantities of cannabis, particularly in North America, South America and Europe. Furthermore, possession is legal or effectively legal in the Netherlands, North Korea and in the U.S. states of Colorado (Colorado Amendment 64) and Washington (Washington Initiative 502) as the federal government has indicated that it will not attempt to block enactment of legalization in those states.
The medicinal use of cannabis is legal in a number of countries, including Canada, the Czech Republic and Israel. While federal law in the United States bans all sale and possession of cannabis, enforcement varies widely at the state level and some states have established medicinal marijuana programs that contradict federal law—Colorado and Washington have repealed their laws prohibiting the recreational use of cannabis, and have instated a regulatory regime that is contrary to federal statutes.
The law of California consists of several levels, including constitutional, statutory, and regulatory law, as well as case law. The California Codes form the general statutory law.
The use, sale and possession of cannabis (marijuana) in the United States is illegal under federal law. However, some states have created exemptions for medical cannabis use, as well as decriminalized non-medical cannabis use. In two states, Colorado and Washington, the sale and possession of marijuana is legal for both medical and non-medical use. This law however is up in the air for the time being as the states have one year to write laws on distribution and regulation of marijuana.]clarification needed[. Multiple efforts to reschedule cannabis under the Act have failed, and the United States Supreme Court has ruled in United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative and Gonzales v. Raich that the federal government has a right to regulate and criminalize cannabis. Also, if the cannabis is called "medical cannabis" the federal law still has priority.
In July 2009, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, further clarified the federal government's position when he stated that "marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit" and that "legalization is not in the president's vocabulary, and it's not in mine." However, a January 2010 settlement between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) provides an example confirming the administration policy as communicated by Attorney General Holder, as WAMM reached an agreement to re-open after being shut down by the federal government in 2002.
Multiple places have decriminalized non-medical cannabis in the United States; however, cannabis is illegal under federal law. Gonzales v. Raich (2005) held in a 6-3 decision that the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution allowed the federal government to ban the use of cannabis, including medical use even if local laws allow it. Most places that have decriminalized cannabis have civil fines, drug education, or drug treatment in place of incarceration and/or criminal charges for possession of small amounts of cannabis, or have made various cannabis offenses the lowest priority for law enforcement. On May 20, 2013, the state of Colorado became America's first legally regulated market for cannabis for adults.