More than half of the Americans who responded to a recent survey supported the legalization of marijuana, believing it should be regulated like alcohol and tobacco. It is clear that attitudes about marijuana are changing throughout the country. For example, two states just legalized its recreational use in November.
However, state lawmakers don’t appear to agree. Most states continue to treat marijuana like a dangerous controlled substance and, as a recent report shows, are pursuing offenders aggressively.
In 2011, more than 650,000 arrests for possession of marijuana were made in the United States. Arrests for possession occurred 24 percent more often than arrests for violent crime, which many would argue is a more serious concern. According to the FBI, pot possession has resulted in more arrests than violent crime every year since 2003.
86 percent of arrests for marijuana-related crimes are for possession, which means even casual users are vulnerable to criminal proceedings.
President Obama has said that going after marijuana users in states where it is legal is not a priority for federal law enforcement officials. However, marijuana offenses are still taken seriously in most states and may be subject to federal charges as well. Those charges can come with penalties like a lasting criminal record, hefty fines or even time in federal prison.
If you are facing criminal charges for a drug-related offense, it is important to consult with someone who understands the law and who can help. Consider getting in touch with a criminal defense attorney experienced in drug charge defense. He or she can represent your interests in and out of court, fighting to protect your rights and pursue the best possible result for you.
Source: The FindLaw Blotter, “Pot Possession Arrests Top Violent Crime by 24%,” Maryam Ansari, Jan. 22, 2013
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