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Drug arrests increase despite decrease in public support

While it is not always publicized in Georgia, America's war on drugs has never ceased. The president and his attorney general are interested in putting a greater focus on curbing drug possession. However, there were 1.57 million arrests for drug law violations in 2016, a 5.63 percent increase over the previous year.

Detaining people on suspicion of drug possession occurs three times more than with violent crimes. Four out of five of all drug incidents are for possession -- 41 percent of which involve marijuana.

Many Americans feel that there are more important matters than focusing on relatively small issues like drug possession. Marijuana is legal in some states, and most Americans support marijuana legalization. Additionally, most people feel criminal punishments shouldn't apply to otherwise law-abiding individuals caught possessing drugs.

There are also racial implications when it comes to drug possession convictions. Black people do not use drugs at a higher rate than other races, but 35 percent of state prison inmates for drug possession are black. This is especially troubling as black people only consist of 13 percent of the population.

Several organizations have called for repealing criminalizing drug possession and use. These groups include the World Health Organization, United Nations, International Red Cross, Organization of American States and more.

Public opinion may favor leniency for relatively minor drug charges, but the current laws make it possible to charge and convict people for possessing and using illicit substances. Since conviction can result in fines and jail time, an accused individual may wish to consult a lawyer. An attorney might help a client negotiate a lesser sentence or fight charges.

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Houston, TX 77008

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