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Study finds many drug offenses are marijuana-related

Maryland is not one of the states that has legalized recreational usage of marijuana, but it has decriminalized possession of small amounts, and there is a medical marijuana program. Despite the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana possession throughout much of the country, in 40% of the 2018 cases in which people were taken into custody on drug-related charges, the drug involved was marijuana. In fact, according to data from the FBI, more people are detained for marijuana than for any other drug.

Furthermore, about 90% of the time, the charges are related to possession and not trafficking. Where marijuana is decriminalized in small amounts, it is usually treated as a civil or local issue and does not carry the possibility of incarceration that it would if it were state-level crime. However, even decriminalization or legalization does not necessarily protect people from being taken into custody. They may possess more than they are allowed. In addition, even when it is legal on a state level, it remains illegal under federal law, and this means the Drug Enforcement Administration and other national law enforcement bodies can detain people.

However, support for legalization continues to grow throughout the country. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2019 found that just 8% of people surveyed felt that marijuana should always be illegal.

People who are facing drug charges for possession of marijuana may want to consult an attorney. People should not assume that because it is just a small amount that there cannot be serious consequences, but they should also not assume that being taken into custody on drug charges means they have no legal recourse. An attorney may be able to assist a person in determining the best course of action.

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