Posted at June 29th, 2009 in Drug Charges
The war on drugs is changing. In 1986 Reagan made this one of our nation’s top priorities and this war has been one of our nation’s most controversial issues ever since. The hiring of drug lawyers and criminal attorneys has drastically increased over the last few decades. Some current political leaders, like Texas Congressman Ron Paul, have been declaring the War on Drugs a failure for years, arguing for the complete abandonment on the prohibition of drugs. Paul is on the extreme side of the spectrum, but it is easy to find many leaders who are now open to, at the very least, an “open-debate” on our nation’s drug laws. We spend an estimated annual average of $44 billion dollars on the war on drugs. And, the verdict seems to be that whatever we’re doing… is not working. Roughly 50% of the prison population is composed of drug offenders. Criminal lawyers and drug possession attorneys have obviously been in higher demand as a result as well.
The Obama administration’s new drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, is trying to begin a shift in our nation’s perspective on drug offenses, from one of punishment and criminalization to one of treatment and rehabilitation. Our drug lawyers try and use this perspective in our clients’ defense. Drug possession is essentially the same as drug use. And drug use is an addiction that needs to be treated. You may have noticed there’s a buzz going around now about the possible legalization of marijuana. A few states have made it legal for medicinal purposes, but that is as far as it has gone. We’re now all asking the question, “What should we do about it? How far should we peel back?” This also has led to drug lawyers having to really understand the laws surrounding the legalization of marijuana.
Every day I encounter individuals who are in desperate situations. People are dealing with depression, broken marriages, health issues, psychological disorders, and the list goes on. After talking with most of these folks, I come away from the conversation thinking, “Here’s a good person who’s made some wrong decisions.” Or, “I can’t blame him for smoking pot after what he’s been through.” The simple truth is drugs like marijuana are illegal. You smoke pot, you break the law… But do these people belong in jail? It’s a tough answer; most of the time I’d say, “no.” Our criminal defense attorneys have seen this issue the way the new zcar now does for a long time. We are dealing with people who have addictions, health problems and bad habits that need breaking. The vast majority of “users” are not criminals. We strongly push for our clients to be introduced to treatment programs and alternative sentencing as a way to avoid jail and other harsh penalties that are regularly handed out to small-time drug users.
I’d like to see a continued change in the way we treat drug offenders, but especially those cases dealing with possession of a small amount of marijuana. I don’t condone drug use, but it is getting harder and harder to deny the benefits of marijuana for people who are dealing with specific mental or physical health issues. Our system at the very least needs to move away from jail and towards imposed fines, restrictions, treatment, and evaluations for those caught with marijuana. The drug offense attorneys at our firm are dedicated to fighting for you, alternatives to jail, and treatment programs. It’s important to me that everyone, at the very least, gets a chance to tell their story.
For more information on the War on Drugs visit http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/LIBRARY/basicfax.htm.