The way law enforcement charges for marijuana possession is changing. With big movements toward legalization – Colorado and Washington now permit marijuana for recreational use – the decriminalization of marijuana possession has begun.
According to an article from Time, Washington D.C.’s City Council recently voted to scale back the penalties for possessing up to one ounce of marijuana. This is a big move from our nation’s capital and, despite wariness from the federal government, many other states are making the same move.
Before the change, possession of any amount of marijuana could put a person behind bars for up to six months in addition to a fine of up to $1,000. The new measure passed by D.C.’s city council reduces the penalty to one similar to a parking ticket: a $25 civil fine for possession.
The capitol currently has the highest arrest rate in the country for marijuana possession, which may have been a catalyst for the change. According to the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, D.C. joined 16 other states who have decriminalized possession of the drug.
Among the states, which include Ohio and California, is our own state of Mississippi. Though the fines for drug possession aren’t as low as a measly parking ticket, possession of the drug has still been decriminalized.
Decriminalization means that there will be no prison time or marks on your criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption. If you’re caught with marijuana in Mississippi, you’ll be treated by law enforcement like you made a traffic violation if it is your first offense.
If the amount of pot is less than 30 grams on the first offense, the maximum fine in Mississippi is $250 with no threat of incarceration. But, on a second offense, the possibility of landing in a jail cell for 5 to 60 days will be added to the fine. The penalties just go up from there for subsequent offenses.
Though the first offense of marijuana possession doesn’t mean much more than a couple hundred bucks out of pocket, subsequent offenses could have a serious effect on your record and your life.
If you’re caught in possession of marijuana in the state of Mississippi more than once, it’s time to contact a lawyer that can defend you against those drug charges.
The times are changing, and marijuana is being decriminalized and made legal in several areas – but that doesn’t mean law enforcement doesn’t still crack down on the possession of pot.
Contact the experienced drug defense lawyers at Stroud, Flechas & Dalton if you have been charged more than once for possession of marijuana. We want to keep drug convictions off your record.