Why Marijuana Offenses Should Be Taken Seriously
Marijuana or Cannabis has been around for centuries. It has been used for various medicinal purposes and even spiritual purposes during pre-modern times. For example, Cannabis was used to help women relieve the pain of childbirth and even toothaches in addition to a number of other purposes. Cannabis quickly spread across Western Europe and finally made its way into America, marking the beginning of its journey through American culture.
Through the years, Cannabis, marijuana or “pot” became more popular for its psychoactive properties and effects when smoked, inhaled or consumed. Although marijuana is still used for medicinal purposes today, such as a pain reliever for post-surgery patients, cancer patients, and even to help treat Glaucoma. It is has also earned a negative reputation and labeled as a dangerous drug, which has led to marijuana becoming associated with numerous crimes. As a result, the federal government banned the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana. It is still illegal in many states today.
The number of arrests for the possession of marijuana is astounding. For example, there were approximately 1,500,000 arrests for drug violations across the United States in 2019. The number of these arrests that were related to the possession of marijuana was approximately 640,000 or 89 percent.
On the other hand, some states have legalized marijuana in order to eliminate the number of arrests and inmates in state and local prisons.
Although marijuana drug laws are being reduced, this doesn’t mean that individuals can’t still incur penalties, punishments or serve a prison sentence for the use or possession of marijuana – even if it is for recreational purposes. There are still numerous legal limitations surrounding the use and possession of marijuana.
For example, if you are pulled over or caught by the authorities with the possession of marijuana, depending on the amount on your person, you could face serious state and federal penalties and punishments.
Marijuana is one of the most widely used illegal drugs, making it incredibly easy to purchase from dealers and even manufacture. According to an article published by The Huffington Post, police arrested an individual for the possession of marijuana every 51 seconds in 2014.
Furthermore, according to an article published by The New York Times, marijuana arrests alone outweigh the number of violent crimes in 2014. As a result, the number of arrests have overwhelmed court systems and have consumed the majority of police forces, making the fight against marijuana costly for not only state and federal officials, but also for individuals.
Studies also show that individuals who are arrested and convicted for marijuana use and possession find it more difficult to get a job. Some students who were arrested and convicted even lost their higher education financial aid or were expelled from an institution completely.
Although the topic of marijuana and its controversies have shifted and changed over the years this doesn’t change the fact that marijuana is still illegal in many states. Even traveling to and from a state where marijuana is legal can result in serious drug charges, especially if possession is linked to another crime. Traveling to and from states with marijuana is still considered “trafficking”, and depending on the amount of marijuana on your person at the time of arrest, you could still face federal and state drug charges.
What Are the Punishments for Marijuana Offenses?
It can be difficult to determine the punishments for a marijuana charge. This is because the federal government and each individual state have laws against the use, possession, distribution or manufacturing of marijuana.
For example, the punishments for the possession of marijuana or a drug-related crime and offense are typically based on:
- The state in which you live
- The quantity of the drug
- The drug’s assigned classification
- The purpose or reason for possession
- The individual’s criminal history
For example, the most serious marijuana-related drug crimes include the following:
The manufacturing or making the drug (such as growing marijuana plants in one’s home)
Selling, distributing or “trafficking” the drug (such as traveling into other states with the possession of marijuana – even a small amount)
Possessing a sufficient amount of marijuana to sell or distribute
Depending on the charges or even the individual’s criminal history, such as the number of previous marijuana or drug-related charges and/ or convictions, punishments for marijuana charges can include:
- Fines up to $5,000
- Imprisonment in a local or state prison for up to one year
- Probation for up to one year
- Required enrollment into a drug rehabilitation program
- Mandatory Driver License Suspension
Depending on the state in which you live, if you are found guilty for your specific marijuana-related charge, then you likely face severe penalties, a potential prison sentence, and/ or probation. Some courts may also require you to enroll in a rehabilitation program if you have multiple marijuana offenses as authorities may consider this a sign that you have an addiction.
If you were charged with possession of marijuana, depending on the nature of the charges, you could face serious legal implications and your future could be at stake. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you minimize penalties or remove them completely depending upon the circumstances of your case. Hiring the proper defense attorney could be the most important decision you ever make.
Being charged and convicted for a drug crime can change your life. Even a charge or conviction for marijuana can have serious implications. You might be expelled from school or lose your financial aid or scholarship. You might find yourself fired from your job or find it difficult to get another job. You may even damage or lose close personal relationships with friends, family, and loved ones.
Regardless of whether your pending drug charge is your first, second or third offense, it should be taken seriously and you should seek the help of an experienced drug crimes attorney immediately. The legal team is ready to fight for you and help you with your marijuana-related charges.
Contact an Attorney in Austin to find out how a legal team can help you. Call us today for a free initial consultation. Working with a reputable drug crimes attorney may save you from serving a harsh sentence and may help you avoid a criminal record that could follow you forever.