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Popularity of marijuana does little to reduce arrests in US

Across the United States, attitudes toward the possession of small quantities of marijuana are seemingly changing. While some states have decriminalized marijuana possession, others have taken steps to limit the penalties associated with such criminal charges. Nevertheless, the penalties for marijuana possession in some states remain severe, and law enforcement officers continue to make hundreds of thousands of arrests for low-level marijuana crimes each year.

According to data from the FBI, police officers made almost 750,000 arrests for marijuana crimes in the United States in 2011. Of those, approximately 87 percent were for marijuana possession. The Marijuana Policy Project revealed that these statistics indicate an individual is arrested for marijuana possession in the U.S. once every 48 seconds.

While law enforcement continues to crack down on marijuana crimes, research has also revealed that marijuana is the most popular controlled substance around the world. Perhaps contributing to its popularity is the fact that marijuana is not the deadliest drug worldwide. In fact, the study - published in the journal Lancet - revealed that prescription painkillers, such as Oxycontin, are actually the deadliest drugs across the globe.

As the popularity of marijuana continues to increase and law enforcement officers continue to make arrests for marijuana crimes on a large scale, it is wise for individuals to be aware of the possible consequences associated with a marijuana possession charge.

Fight marijuana possession charges in Tennessee

In Tennessee, the penalties for marijuana possession depend on whether the individual has prior convictions and the quantity of marijuana found in his or her possession.

For instance, if someone is found in possession of a half-ounce or less of marijuana for the first time, he or she could face misdemeanor charges. If convicted, the penalties include a fine of up to $250 and up to one year in jail. Upon a second conviction, the maximum fine increases to $500, while the jail sentence remains the same. If someone is found with a half-ounce or less of marijuana for a third time, he or she could face felony charges. In such cases, the penalties include a maximum fine of $1,000 and between one to six years in jail.

If an individual is found with more than a half-ounce of marijuana, he or she could face charges of possession with intent to distribute or the sale of marijuana.

If you or a loved one is facing marijuana possession charges in Tennessee, you should take steps to protect yourselves. Consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney to ensure a strong defense is established on your behalf.

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Leonard M. Caputo, P.C.
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