The drug problem in Arizona is something that is hard to deny. A recent report notes that drug charges are the top reason why people are incarcerated in this state. As shocking as it might seem, Arizona has the fifth highest incarceration rate in the entire country.
If you've even glanced at the news these days, you've probably heard that the nation is in the midst of a drug addiction epidemic that is unlike anything it has experienced in the past.
We recently discussed how some people who are facing drug charges in the Flagstaff area might end up participating in the Coconino County Drug Court program. This program can help the defendant avoid having to go to prison, but it entails following some very strict rules.
A primary concern for people who are facing drug possession charges is addiction. The defendants who are facing criminal charges and suffer from an addiction are often looking at a bleak future because simply spending time in jail isn't going to help the underlying problem.
There are many reason why a person might be facing drug charges. People who are facing charges for selling drugs might have been enticed by seemingly easy money, even if there was the risk of being arrested. People who are charged with drug possession might have a drug addiction. In the case of the addict, there isn't much point in issuing a punishment for the crime unless you treat the underlying problem.
Voters in Arizona opted to reject allowing marijuana in the state for recreational use. This means that you still can't possess, sell or cultivate marijuana unless you are doing so in compliance with the medical marijuana law. If you are charged with a recreational marijuana crime, you are facing a felony charge. Even having marijuana paraphernalia is a Class 6 felony.
Three men from Albuquerque, New Mexico, were pulled over by police in Arizona, right near Payson. At first, police say it was just a normal traffic stop. The Arizona Department of Public Safety has said they just committed standard traffic violations.
As we discussed last week, a measure to decriminalize marijuana is going to be coming up for a vote in November. Polls about how the measure vote will go are showing mixed results. Whether or not that measure passes has no impact on people who are facing marijuana charges today because marijuana is still illegal in this state for anyone who doesn't qualify for medical marijuana under the terms of the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
People who use marijuana in Arizona can face criminal charges because of the zero tolerance laws in this state. A recent ballot initiative showed that legalization of cannabis would likely pass if it was set to a vote now. That means that around 600,000 people who use marijuana now wouldn't face criminal charges on a state level if such a measure passed.
Facing a drug charge usually involves dealing with penalties that are based on the type of drug you allegedly had and the quantity of that drug you are said to have had. State laws play a big part in how severe of a penalty you are facing, but there is a federal law that can also have an impact on this because states are required to have state laws that comply with the federal drug schedules.