Many states have been struggling with the financial resources that are available. The jails in these locations are often very crowded, with little room for those who are newly convicted of violent offenses. This has left many legislatures considering how to ensure that the spaces in their prisons are being saved for the most dangerous offenders.
Attitudes toward marijuana offenses have been changing across the country. Voters in two states have even passed initiatives that have allowed for legal recreational use of the drug. Maryland considered making possession of small amounts a civil offense, but these bills did not receive enough support in the legislature to pass.
Possession of marijuana still remains a drug crime within the state, but there has been some disparity on how prosecutors handle these cases. Arrests for possession of marijuana have been decreasing statewide, but there is still concern that those who are arrested and convicted could wind up overcrowding the state’s jails.
In Baltimore, prosecutors have started offering community service to certain offenders in exchange for having the charges removed from their records. In 2012, the state attorney’s office reported that over 1,400 individuals received community service for possession of marijuana, an increase of nearly 50 percent over 2010 numbers. Officials say that they are not as focused on marijuana offenses, instead focusing on more violent crimes within the city.
However, for those who are in possession of large quantities of the drug, marijuana crimes can still carry significant penalties. Prosecutors are more aggressive with these cases, because of the potential penalties that may be imposed. Repeat offenders may also have fewer options available to them at sentencing, and could be facing jail time.
Officials have been reluctant to make major changes to the marijuana laws within the state. Law enforcement officers often uncover evidence of more severe crimes when they are investigating marijuana offenses, and they maintain that these laws are still an effective tool toward reducing crime in the city.
If you have been charged with possession of marijuana or other drug crime, it is important that you take steps to protect your freedom. Speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to help build a strong defense to these charges. At the Greenberg Law Office we are committed to helping you and your family deal with these serious criminal charges. Do not volunteer any information to police, because this only makes it easier to obtain a conviction.
Prosecutors will pursue tough penalties against those who have prior drug crimes on their records, making it essential for even first-time offenders to fight drug charges. A conviction could mean that you will be ineligible for certain jobs, and may also make it more difficult to find a place to live.