The “War on Drugs” has always been surrounded in controversy. Did a harsh crackdown actually help stop drug crimes? Many would argue that it made the situation worse by driving people into poverty, alienating those who wanted help, and generally conveying the message that anyone who takes drugs is some sort of monster.
To counteract the possible harm caused by the War on Drugs and its strict policies, several states across the country are reforming their drug crimes. For the most part, the legislative changes in development or already implemented benefit people accused of committing drug crimes. Why is this apparent social change of heart happening?
Consider these three possibilities for why drug law reform is underway:
- Too harsh: The nationwide crackdown on drugs that began in the 70s relied heavily on cranking up the heat for conviction penalties. Study the legal statutes in most states and you might be shocked to find that simple possession of a small quantity of a narcotic can often put someone behind bars for a year or more, and take several thousand dollars out of their accounts. After a while, it became clear to some legislators that the punishments simply didn’t fit the crime.
- Uprooting: Harshly penalizing drug users who only used narcotics for personal interests, not for profit or distribution, was a bit like trimming petals off weeds in a garden. To really fix the problems caused by drug crimes, uprooting is necessary. Thus, many reformed laws are lessening the penalties end users face but increase the penalties traffickers face. It is a bit of a give-and-take but, for the most part, it benefits the average person accused of drug crimes.
- Medical marijuana: Month over month, more and more Americans are beginning to accept the potential medical benefits of marijuana, cannabis, and hemp. This change of mindset is also causing more people to accept that recreational marijuana may not be as dangerous as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has stated.
Overall, drug crime reform should be beneficial, but there is nothing to say that it will be completed soon. If you are arrested in Colorado for drug possession or another drug crime, you could still face serious legal consequences if convicted. You can turn to Castle & Castle and our Denver drug crimes attorneys for hard-hitting, highly-experienced legal representation. Contact us today to learn more about your rights and defense options.