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Study Examines Increasing Rate of Marijuana-Use Disorder

Joliet Marijuana LawyerEven as efforts to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois continue, many thousands of people are estimated to use the drug on at least a casual basis. In fact, marijuana is the most frequently-used illegal drug in the United States. While that in and of itself may not be particularly surprising, recent estimates indicate that some 22 million Americans over the age of 12 use marijuana.

Many proponents of decriminalized or legalized marijuana believe the risks associated with the drug are lower than even those presented by alcohol use, including what they believe to a non-existent risk of chemical dependency. Addiction, it would seem, can take many forms, and according to study released this summer, there definitely seems to be some type of addictive quality to using the drug, at least for certain.

Marijuana-Use Disorder

A collaborative effort between researchers at Columbia University, National Institutes of Health, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute found that marijuana use has more than doubled in the last decade, as public opinion has changed dramatically. A little over ten years ago, about 4.1 percent of Americans reported using marijuana in the last year. Today, the number is about 9.5 percent. Correspondingly, marijuana-use disorder has also increased, although the incidence rate among users has remained roughly the same.

Marijuana-use disorder is a diagnosis recognized in the fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The disorder is characterized by series of symptoms and behaviors that would normally be related to dependence or abuse of the drug. While marijuana may not be chemically addictive, many become addicted to the feelings and security using the drug can offer. Indications of marijuana-use disorder include:

• Increased tolerance, requiring more of the drug to achieve the same effect;
• Irritability, depression, and trouble sleeping when not using;
• Strong, persistent desire to stop or cut down, but failing to do so;
• Spending large amounts of time getting, using, or recovering from using marijuana;
• Sacrificing other life activities in favor of using; and
• Continuing to use despite the use of the drug causing problems.

According to the study, approximately three out of ten marijuana users experience marijuana-use disorder, though very few have actually been diagnosed. The authors of the study advocate increased “public education about the potential harms in marijuana use, including the risk for addiction.” When risks exist, they continued, both the public and lawmakers need to know about them.

Get the Help You Need

If you have concerns regarding marijuana-use disorder, speak with a medical or mental health professional for advice and options on possible treatment. If you are facing criminal charges related to possession or use of marijuana, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney. At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, will fight to protect your rights and future no matter how difficult your situation may seem. Call us today for a free consultation.

U.S. Supreme Court Declines Highland Park Gun Law Case

Highland Park Gun Case Supreme CourtDespite creating no legal precedent, the Supreme Court of the United States seemed to send a strong signal this week regarding its position on the rights of municipalities to enact strict gun control laws. By a vote of 7-2, the nation’s high court elected not to hear the challenge to a local ordinance restricting the sale of certain firearms in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. The decision to turn down the case has no bearing on the outcome of future cases, but many believe it is further proof of the courts hesitance to expand the protections of the right to bear arms contained in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Gun Ban

The denied appeal was a challenge filed against Highland Park’s ban on weapons determined to be “assault weapons,” including AR-15 rifles, and magazines with a capacity of greater than 10 rounds. The ordinance was enacted in 2013 as part of a growing concern over public access to certain firearms in the wake of highly-publicized mass shootings in Connecticut and Colorado. Advocates for gun rights quickly challenged the local law on the basis that it violated the Second Amendment’s promised right to bear arms.

Seventh Circuit Ruling

The challenge was filed in federal court, and eventually reached the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In its ruling this past April, the appellate court determined that weapons which present a clear danger and those not commonly used for reasonable self-defense do not necessarily fall under the protections afforded by the Second Amendment. Gun rights proponents, however, disagree, noting that many of the weapons banned by the Highland Park law are among the most popular choices for hunters and recreational shooters.

Dissenting Opinion

While the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeal leaves the Seventh Circuit’s ruling intact, two justices strongly disagreed with the high court’s decision. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a lengthy dissent, with the support of Justice Antonin Scalia, both indicating they wanted to hear the case and strike down the ban. The ban, Justice Thomas wrote, “is highly suspect because it broadly prohibits common semi-automatic firearms used for lawful purposes” by millions of Americans. “The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles,” he continued, “do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting.”

This case is far from the last gun rights case presented to the Supreme Court, but so far, this version of the court has been hesitant to address Second Amendment rights, and certainly has not done so in a wide-reaching or definitive manner. Many, including Justice Thomas, are quickly becoming frustrated at the Court’s reluctance to take on such an important issue.
If you are facing charges related to the illegal sale or possession of firearms, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney. We will review your case and help you take the necessary steps toward protecting your rights and your future. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free initial consultation today at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba.

Illinois Man Charged With Concealing Roommate’s Body and Obstruction of Justice

Joliet Illinois Obstruction of JusticeA young man appeared in Cook County Bond Court this past weekend, charged with obstruction of justice and the concealment of a death. The allegations against the 23-year-old Midlothian man are connected to the death of his 25-year-old roommate, which the man claims occurred more than two weeks ago. The court decided to hold the man without bail until an autopsy could be completed on the roommate’s body.

Trying to Avoid Eviction

According to reports from the Chicago Tribune and other news outlets, the man claimed that his roommate died of drug overdose on November 13. He allegedly panicked and, fearing that he would be evicted from their shared apartment, attempted to hide the death. He is thought to have put the roommate’s body in a suitcase, dragged it to a basement storage area, and left it there. Another resident of the building eventually notified police when the foul odor of decomposition became apparent. Police traced the smell and discovered the suitcase containing the roommate’s remains.

Multiple Charges
Under Illinois law, knowingly concealing the death of another person is a Class 4 felony. The charges can be upgraded to a Class 3 felony if the concealed death was caused by a homicide. Neither charge assumes or precludes additional charges related to the death.

In this particular case, the young man was also charged with obstruction of justice. Prosecutors allege that the man not only attempted to mislead police about his roommate’s death, but also that he destroyed evidence including drug paraphernalia and many of his roommate’s personal belongings. Obstructing justice is a Class 4 felony, and a defendant facing such a charge may be subject to imprisonment of one to three years and fines of up to $25,000.

Obstructing Justice

To be considered obstructing justice, a person must knowingly:
• Destroy, alter, hide, or disguise physical evidence or plant false evidence;
• Provide false information to law enforcement;
• Force a material witness to hide or leave the state;
• Possess material knowledge regarding an investigation and hide or leave the state; or
• Make false or misleading reports to any government agency regarding an investigation concerning the disappearance or death of a child.

If you have been charged with obstructing justice, you need an attorney who will fight to protect your rights and your future. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today. We will review your case and help you understand your available options. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free consultation today and get the high-quality representation you deserve.

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