Every year, more states are voting to legalize Marijuana for either medical or recreational use. Canada legalized medical marijuana inand Trudeau has recently championed a bill to legalize recreational use. Seemingly everywhere in the Western world, it is becoming easier and easier to find places where one can purchase and consume cannabis legally. That said, it is important to understand that existing laws are very strict, even in states where possession and use have been decriminalized. Laws vary from state to state as well as in Canadaand there are some non-legal risks to consider as well.
While weed is now legal for recreational use in 11 states plus D. Also, you must have an MMJ card in the 22 states where it is legal for medicinal use only. In other states, marijuana is wholly illegal. Many states now classify possession of small amounts as a misdemeanor. However, there are still far too many arrests for cannabis-related crimes in the United States.
Tens of thousands of people are in prison today on a basic drug-possession charge. A ificant proportion of them sit in local jails, waiting for the police to issue an indictment. These unfortunate individuals may have to wait for months to go to court because of their inability to post bail. Remember, marijuana is entirely illegal in 17 states at the time of writing, and it is a Schedule I drug.
Types of drugs
As a result, police are still obligated to arrest people for simple possession. In other words, drug kingpins walk the streets while those who enjoy a relaxing smoke are the ones who get punished. There were overcannabis arrests in America in Despite more states legalizing marijuana, the of arrests is increasing! It has achieved nothing positive in almost half a century since. The majority of experts will tell you that the drug epidemic in the U. This is despite the billions of dollars that the government has spent to help reduce the problem.
Also, back inthere were drug possession arrests perAmericans. That has since skyrocketed to over in and sits just below as of today. Marijuana possession arrests are close to the total of arrests for all violent crimes combined in a year! And of course, there is the small matter of court time.
Public defenders have little time to prepare for cases as it is. It would mean something if there were tangible benefits, but there are none.
Get information on the laws and penalties for possession of marijuana.
Ina Human Rights Watch report tracked 30, people in New York City who had been arrested for marijuana possession. None of them had convictions. Recent legalization in specific states will only increase that. Hopefully, the draconian laws relating to cannabis are finally understood for what they are: Pointless and counter-productive. It is no exaggeration to suggest that the war on drugs has been an epic and costly failure.
Infor example, the city made less than marijuana arrests.
At least there is hope on the horizon in the Big Apple. Inthe NYPD announced that it would slash its arrests for publicly smoking cannabis by half. There are also plans to expunge the records of people convicted of a low-level marijuana offense in New York. California legalized marijuana for recreational use in January However, the state followed the tried and failed strategy of arresting thousands of people for possession in the years leading up to the historic legislation.
A study on 12 counties in California found that over 1, people were arrested for cannabis-related possession. In fairness, this was a ificant drop from the figure of 2, There are many reasons why the criminalization of marijuana is a terrible idea. It prevents sick people from using an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs.
It drives the use of narcotics underground, it costs taxpayers a fortune, and it prevents states from earning useful tax revenue. Then there is the human cost. Many states decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot.
The failure of the ‘drug war’
Corey J. Ladd, for instance, was ly convicted of possessing small amounts of LSD and hydrocodone. He was arrested for having half an ounce of weed in his car in New Orleans during a traffic stop. At this point, he understandably feared the worst. However, no one could have predicted the ridiculous year prison sentence he received in Fate Vincent Winslow was homeless.
A man approached him looking for some marijuana in Shreveport, Louisiana. It turned out that the buyer was an undercover cop.
Federal marijuana law
Within six months, he received life in prison with no chance of parole. There are well over people serving life imprisonment sentences in Texas on charges of marijuana possession.
Seven of these individuals received the sentence, even though they had less than four grams on their person. If you have two prior felonies including for marijuana possessionprosecutors can seek excessively long sentences.
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One final statistic from Texas: Over three-quarters of people who receive a prison sentence for felony drug possession have less than a gram on their person. In minority neighborhoods, young men are targeted by the police, so arrests are inevitable and begin to mount up. In the third quarter ofNYPD officers arrested black and Hispanic people for low-level drug charges.
They arrested just 18 white individuals during the same timeframe. If convicted of a felony, punishments vary. They could include a lifetime voting ban or a ban on jury duty. Other penalties are a loss of access to food stamps and other public benefits.
Even if you are declared innocent, your arrest record is available for up to a year in some states. This means any employer can access it.
It is sadly common for a marijuana arrest to result in loss of employment. You may also lose the ability to purchase insurance, and you could even become ineligible for a mortgage.
Cannabis - smoke it or wear it
Even Russia, a country criticized for human rights abuses, has made provisions for this form of relief. There have been a few cases, though, where people on trial for a marijuana offense saw their conviction dropped when weed became legal in that state. Infor example, a Colorado Court of Appeals ruling applied cannabis legalization retroactively.
It gave hope to people convicted of a marijuana crime after the herb became legal for recreational use in In another famous case, a woman had two marijuana convictions overturned. A handful of states now make provisions for expunging cannabis convictions.
It removed criminal penalties for possession of under two ounces of cannabis. It resulted in overpeople having weed-related convictions sealed.
While convictions are now sealed in the system, you must petition the court where it happened to get the records destroyed. Other states following suit include Illinois and California. It is a fact that whites and blacks in the United States use cannabis at similar rates.
However, a report by the ACLU revealed a disturbing finding. It discovered that black people were 3. Iowa is the biggest culprit in the United States, as blacks are 8. There are even counties where the ratio is a staggering ! Even more disturbing is the fact that African-Americans are ten times more likely to go to prison for a drug-related offense. In many ways, the above data is just another visible of racial bias in the criminal justice system as a whole.
Perhaps it is because of individual bias amongst police, or the fact there are more cops in minority communities.
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Either way, it is willfully ignorant to ignore the apparent link between socioeconomic status and crime. It is also a fact that police officers behave unfavorably towards people with tattoos, piercings, body modifications, and confrontational attitudes. Also, you should never consent to a search; make sure they have to get a warrant. States such as Arizona, Wisconsin, and Nebraska have stricter weed laws than others.