Two counties in Texas are among those with the highest rates in the country for detaining people on marijuana charges according to an analysis of information from the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data. In both Sterling and Hartley counties, around 42 percent of all detentions are for marijuana, but these are not the highest in the country. In Dooley County, Georgia, they make up 54.5 percent of all detentions while in Hamilton County, New York, marijuana accounted for 43.5 percent of people taken into custody.
According to an article in the Washington Post, in 2017, almost 6 percent of all detentions were on marijuana-related charges. The article also pointed out that there is incentive on a federal level to pursue these types of charges despite the fact that marijuana is legal in several states. Law enforcement is given funding to put together drug task forces, and authorities are also allowed to keep any valuables seized under forfeiture law. Furthermore, it is relatively easy to identify marijuana because of its bulk and strong smell.
There did not appear to be correlation between the political climate in a particular area and whether or not law enforcement tended to crack down on marijuana. For example, some New England states had high rates while Alabama and Kentucky did not.
When people are facing drug-related charges, they may want to consult an attorney. Conviction on these types of charges can have serious legal and other repercussions. Even if the legal penalties are not severe, people could be denied financial aid for college or some types of housing with a drug conviction. It could also affect some people’s careers. An attorney may be able to get charges reduced. If the drugs were discovered in an illegal search, the case could be dismissed.