Drug Decriminalization: What Is It All About?

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You have probably heard the term drug decriminalization bandied about a bit, but you may not be clear on what it is all about. If this is the case, rest assured that you are not alone. Drug decriminalization is a movement that is intended to decrease the massive number of people who are behind bars for nonviolent drug crimes and to shine a brighter light on the problem of addiction itself. If you are facing a drug charge in the State of Texas, do not put off consulting with an experienced Belton criminal lawyer.

Related: What is the Role of a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney in My Case?

The Drug Policy Alliance Weighs In

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) shares that the offense that leads to the most arrests in the United States is drug possession, which is responsible for one arrest every 23 seconds. The impetus behind drug decriminalization is to eliminate criminal penalties for all the following:

  • Drug use and possession

  • Possession of the tools needed for drug use, such as syringes

  • The low-level sale of drugs

While 26 states across the nation and the District of Columbia have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, Oregon is the first state to implement an all-drug decriminalization measure. The idea behind the move is to funnel marijuana tax revenue into expansive access to what DPA calls much-needed evidence-informed, culturally responsive treatment, harm reduction, and other health services.

Addressing Overcrowded Jails and Prisons

One of the cornerstones of drug decriminalization is helping to alleviate the problem of overpopulation in jails and prisons throughout the nation – a problem that the pandemic helped to succinctly highlight. Many lawmakers believe that, because far too many inmates are in prison due to arrests that stem from possession, a better approach is to stop locking people up for lowly drug possession charges and to, instead, help them address their addiction issues.

Decriminalization Is Not a Free Pass

Proponents of decriminalization are not suggesting that the United States adopt a free for all approach when it comes to drug laws. Instead, they are suggesting we address the root of the problem, which is substance abuse. When someone possesses a small amount of an illegal drug, it is generally for private use, and this simple possession does not compare to the crimes committed by those parties who manufacture, sell, and/or move large quantities of illegal drugs (and make possession more likely).

Decriminalization seeks a balance that involves helping those who suffer from addiction problems while appropriately punishing those who make it their mission to profit from the distribution of dangerous and illegal drugs.

Do Not Delay Consulting with an Experienced Criminal Lawyer

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Belton, Texas, is a resourceful criminal lawyer with the vision and legal skill to diligently advocate for your legal rights in pursuit of your case’s most beneficial resolution. Your future matters, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today for more information about how we can help you.


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