REPORT FINDS GROWTH IN CHARGES FOR MARIJUANA POSSESSION
Marijuana has been legalized in a number of states, although Texas is not one of them. However, a report from the FBI that was released on Sept. 24 found an increase in the number of nationwide incidents in which people were taken into custody for marijuana possession.
According to the report, there were 659,700 incidents of people taken into custody on marijuana charges in 2017. The number in 2016 was 653,249. A closer breakdown shows that 60,418 of those incidents were for sales and distribution in 2017 compared to 65,734 in 2016. Activists for legalization of the drug said that law enforcement needed to change its priorities given the fact that marijuana is now legal in a growing number of states. The opioid epidemic was cited as an example of a drug problem law enforcement should be focusing on instead.
Among overall drug charges nationwide, a significant number of them are marijuana-related at more than 40 percent of over 1.6 million detentions for drugs in 2017. Every 19 seconds in the United States, someone is taken into custody on drug charges, and about every 48 seconds, there is a marijuana-related detention.
Some people might think a charge for marijuana possession is not serious. However, any drug charges can carry significant legal penalties and can have repercussions in other areas as well. For example, a person’s career could be affected. People who are facing charges for drug crimes might want to talk to an attorney about defense. The attorney might try to get the charges dropped or reduced. With a plea bargain, a person does not go to trial but pleads guilty to lesser charges. However, there may also be cases in which the person wishes to go to trial and plead not guilty. If this happens, the person can work with an attorney to develop a defense strategy.