A State-By-State Analysis of Marijuana Possession

Posted by on Jul 4, 2018

Whether you support or are against possession of marijuana charges, the fact remains that in most states, this possession is a crime. As explained in this article, marijuana possession charges can result in serious punishments if there is a large amount of the substance involved.

Our framers of the Constitution, for the most part, left criminal law matters to the state. As such, each state has its unique drug laws and regulations. However, there are still federal laws that concern controlled substance possession, but I am particularly interested in state criminal laws. I decided to do a brief state-by-state survey on statistics concerning marijuana possession. Here’s what I found:

Felony possession of marijuana often results in a prison sentence that is more than one year. Felony possession is a much more serious charge than misdemeanor possession. Having a felony on your record can be life-changing, and can lead to difficulties in finding employment or getting specific benefits. However, this is not to say that misdemeanors are not serious. Though they are not as serious as felonies, they can still have severe effects on the lives of the convicted.

States raise marijuana possession to the felony level based on the amount of the substance. There are ten states that do not have any felony marijuana possession charge, including California, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. In fact, some states have removed criminal penalties entirely for marijuana possession. Moreover, states like Colorado have legalized possession of a small amount of marijuana. Some states are very strict when it comes to marijuana possession. In Arizona, any amount of marijuana can result in a felony charge. In Florida, if you are in possession of more than 0.7 oz., you could be charged with a felony. If caught with over 0.5 oz. of marijuana in Tennessee, you could also be charged with felony possession.

Contrast these strict states with states that have legalized some form of marijuana possession. These states are Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, and Washington D.C. Many states have decriminalized possession, including Illinois, California, and New York. The states where any form of marijuana possession can still be illegal are in the South. These charges are much worse if possession occurs in specific areas including schools and other places of public accommodation.

It is crazy to see how different and unique the laws of each state are concerning marijuana possession. Some states do not care about it at all, some states have decriminalized it, and some states push heavy penalties for any amount of possession. The trend seems to be that more and more states are moving toward decriminalization, and sometimes legalization, of marijuana possession. It will be interesting to see what the future holds regarding marijuana possession laws. Until then, it is important to know and understand the differences between the laws do avoid serious punishment.

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Factors Leading to Juvenile Delinquency: Things You Should Make Sure Your Child do not Fall into

Posted by on Jun 28, 2013

More than 70 million children and teenagers (below 18 years old) presently populate the US, comprising nearly one fourth of the nation’s total population. The website of Alexander & Associates says that like any ordinary adult, sometimes young people act recklessly, engaging in different risky activities that may warrant either counseling or disciplinary actions. As recorded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), these activities include drinking and getting drunk, driving while intoxicated, carrying a weapon, attempting suicide, and engaging in sexual intercourse.

Though OJJDP research shows a downward trend in the number of juvenile crime in the US since the early 90s, the number is still more than a million. In fact, about 1.5 million juveniles get arrested annually for criminal activities that include shoplifting, vandalism and damage to property, murder and many others.

Reasons as to why these young people choose to engage in criminal activities, include:

  • Some want to test the limits of parents and / or society
  • Lack or leniency of rules and not enough supervision
  • Substance abuse
  • The kind of environment where the child has been and is exposed to
  • The poverty level of the family
  • Relationships (which can lead to gangs) developed inside or outside the school
  • Peer pressure

Gangs are definitely major factors to juvenile crimes and, with at least 700,000 youths belonging to street gangs, there can be many who are being pressured and driven to commit offenses. Besides identifying the reasons behind the crimes, the OJJDP also gives the following information:

  • Boys, more than girls, are prone to becoming juvenile delinquents. This can be due to the “male phenomenon,” which states that boys commit more crimes compared to girls since they are supposed to be more aggressive and as proof of their masculinity.
  • Juvenile crimes are committed during and after school hours, specifically between 3 and 7 p.m. (surprisingly, crimes committed by adults usually peak between 8 p.m. and 12 midnight.

Crimes, whether committed by youth or adults, are a serious matter that require full attention. Oftentimes adolescents act irresponsibly without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. If any youth in your family or circle of friends has been charged with a crime, that person will definitely need legal assistance that may keep him or her from suffering harsh punishments which may only worsen his or her outlook in life.

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What is the Difference between Jail and Prison?

Posted by on Jun 11, 2013

Despite the differences between jails and prisons, the terms are often used interchangeably. Many people do not realize it, but there are numerous legal and operational distinctions between these two types of correctional facilities. For starters, jails are overlooked by their city or state governments, while prisons are managed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Jails are smaller, more common, and are used to impound persons who are in the following situations:

  • Cannot pay bail
  • Are awaiting their trial
  • Serving a short sentence (usually less than a year)
  • Just arrested as a criminal suspect

Because of the temporary nature of the reasons an individual may be in jail, jails are not equipped with many amenities. People in jail have basic living quarters, but that’s about as far as the provided amenities go.

Contrast that with prisons, which are fewer than jails, but typically much larger and feature numerous amenities that are not found in jails. This is due to the nature of the long sentences being served by prison inmates. Prisons often have churches, exercise areas, libraries, and even schools.

However, the security at a prison is a lot more strict than in a jail because of the kinds of inmates they hold. Prisons are used to house people who have already been convicted of crimes and are serving long-term sentences. Prison wings are normally divided up by the type of crimes their inhabitants were found guilty of. This helps keep nonviolent offenders away from those who are serving sentences for violent crimes. Due to the longevity of most sentences, prisoners develop complex internal social and political structures among themselves which can even reach as far as to include the guards.

Facing jail or prison time because of a criminal accusation against you can be terrifying. People who are being accused of crimes can have a criminal defense lawyer provided to them by the state so they can stand a chance of adequately fighting the charges against them.

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