The United States has been plagued with the issue of marijuana use for quite some time. The current policy set in place requires the use of many resources to deal with such a minor defiance. As of now, courts are backlogged because of the high number of arrests for minor offenses. Many are arrested, processed, and sent to county jail to wait for a bond hearing, and after some time they are finally able to appear in front of a judge to enter a plea or go to trial. This process causes time and money to be wasted. This paper will detail the five steps of implementing an improved policy for handling illegal possession of marijuana under one-ounce and possession of paraphernalia.
[...] reports that the hundreds of thousands of marijuana arrests each year costs more than eight billion dollars in criminal justice costs, in addition to the one billion dollar costs for incarcerating violators per year. Focus on the topic of severity of the marijuana issue must also reflect the statistics of possession versus sale. Armentano (Armentano p. also reports that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics revealed that of the nearly 800,000 marijuana arrests in 2005, nearly 90% of the arrests were for possession only. [...]
[...] Assuming more than 100 people a year are arrested, tried, and sentenced with these conditions, the criminal justice system pays an astounding minimum of three million dollars per year for simple possession. This hemorrhage of funds cannot continue. Agenda Setting Setting the agenda for reducing possession or use of marijuana under federal law begins with demonstrating support of the public through advertising the initiative in the media. As president Clinton did with the Brady Bill, using the media to promote an agenda is best done with the introduction of props (Marion & Oliver p. [...]
[...] If successful, the policy will be put into place in the remaining states. If there is no decline in possession arrests and no increase in town and county revenues, the policy will have to be revisited. References Armentano, P. (2006). A billion dollars a year for pot?. Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/a- 349381~Paul_Armentano__A_billion_dollars_a_year_for_pot_.html Get Smart About Drugs (n.d.). What are the penalties for possession of marijuana? Retrieved from http://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com/identify/what_are_the_penalties_for_p ossession_or_marijuana.html Gettman, J.PhD (2009, November 2009). Marijuana in Illinois: Arrest, Usage and Related Data. [...]
[...] Initiating the policy in these counties will increase revenue for the criminal justice system in the state of Illinois. The Illinois State police chief will oversee the implementation process. Coordination of the policies and procedures will be coordinated with the state, local, and county law enforcement officers. Cooperation from judges, the prosecutor's office, and probation officers will also be necessary. All aforementioned departments will be briefed and trained on the sentence guidelines and procedures that will indicate adjusted protocol for violators. [...]
[...] Since the 1970s there has been growing support for the removal of the ban, as evidenced by public opinion polls (Marijuana, n. d.). New policies will be easier to implement because of public opinion. Public demands for legal access to marijuana is increasing for both medicinal and other responsible uses, as such policy makers are being forced to consider how to regulate the drug (Marijuana, n.d.). It is important at this point to research and understand the views of the public. [...]
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