Identification and description of the policy
Marijuana is currently illegal in most of the United States (U.S.), which has been part of a continuous debate and discussion amongst Americans. On the one hand there are those that believe that marijuana is wrong, not only for health reasons but that it is also the reason behind drug trafficking and drug dealers. Contrary, there are those that believe that marijuana is not as bad because it helps individuals in a form of medication in order to cope with daily hassles and issues. Even though marijuana is not legalized in most States it is important to understand that the marijuana plant will never diminish and that not everyone uses this drug in order to make wrongful decisions or assist in negative actions.
The War on Drugs has been a highly contentious issue since its inception. In California, for example, possessing more than 28.5 grams of marijuana- with an estimated street value of $350-$400 is subject to a misdemeanor, 6 months imprisonment, and a fine of $500. The cost of housing an inmate arrested and convicted for non-violent drug related offenses such as this will cost the state anywhere from $10-27,000 a year. This shows that some individuals are greatly being charged for something that is not as significant or big of an issue, which is extremely unfair and unjust (it is also affecting society in many different ways). The new policy I am introducing, the War on Drugs III, states: those that are caught with a small amount (approximately 28.5) of marijuana will not be given the same punishment as those that sell marijuana.
This is a serious discrepancy in which the punishment does not fit the crime. These are merely the statistics given for possession, however, cultivation and sale of marijuana lead to felony imprisonment sentences of 2-7 years, which caused an astronomical economic impact on state resources. In a time of monetary crisis, these expenditures and costs are neither fiscally logical nor conducive to the public good. Although crime has dropped in California in contrast to prior decades, this can be largely attributed to the fact that criminals/offenders are serving longer prison sentences because of mandatory minimums, the “Three Strikes Law”, and the increasing arrests and conviction rates of non-violent drug offenders. Keeping criminals/offenders incarcerated as a means to reduce crime has proven to be a financial burden at a local, state, and federal level.
The War on Drugs has failed nationwide to reduce consumption, recidivism rates, and crime but it has led to an increasing amount of African Americans and Latinos filling overcrowded prisons. From a systems perspective, the collateral effects of incarceration have negative implications on both the individual (stigma, impact on family/community) and society (racial inequalities, lack of socioecomic mobility). At a time when prison overcrowding is at an exorbitant high, the necessary steps need to be taken in order to...