For decades, drug charges have carried stiff penalties for defendants, leading to many individuals facing years behind bars for non-violent offenses. However, The Obama administration took some steps to lessen the harshness of drug charges, indicating that law enforcement should ease off of enforcing the existing drug laws, especially when it comes to marijuana-related crimes. In the last fews years, public opinion on marijuana has shifted enormously, and many states have legalized its use in some circumstances, while other's have decriminalized possession. All this progress may be taking a backseat soon, if the new attorney general has his way.
Jeff Sessions, the newly appointed attorney general, made clear in a statement recently that prosecutors throughout the land are now encouraged to pursue harsher penalties for marijuana possession. Furthermore, judges will most likely be instructed to hand down sentences according to mandatory minimum guidelines.
Whereas the previous attorney general, Eric Holder, encouraged fewer drug charges and lesser punishments, Sessions has been very vocal about his belief that this loosening of practices has lead to a rise in murders over the last few years.
Realistically, this new emphasis means that, until marijuana is entirely legalized, those who are charged with possession or other marijuana-related crimes may face harsher sentences resulting in longer jail time. More so than ever, it is vital that you get the best representation you can if you are charged with a drug crime. — you may just be fighting for your life. An experienced attorney will fight to protect your rights and ensure that your case is heard fairly, without an unfair punishment in light of the new political climate.
Source: Politico, "Sessions: Changes coming to policies on drug charges," JOSH GERSTEIN, March 08, 2017