When Pennsylvania residents like you face drug-related conspiracy charges, you could be dealing with more potential consequences than you think. Your life may be ruined for the smallest interaction with someone who has bad intentions, and you might not even be aware of it.
Pennsylvania residents may not know that drug charges don't just apply to people who are actively partaking in the use of drugs. There are laws that prevent possession or distribution which can have consequences that are just as damaging.
Pennsylvania is one of 29 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use. Seven of these states, of which Pennsylvania is not one, have gone further and legalized the recreational use of marijuana as well as its medical use. The marijuana industry is big business. Over 4,500 dispensaries across the country sell it, bringing in an estimated $6 billion per year. At least 27 of these dispensaries are in Pennsylvania.
Getting pulled over for speeding or other traffic violations in Pennsylvania is not all that uncommon. However, if a law enforcement officer pulls you over for a traffic violation and asks if he or she can search your vehicle, you do not have to consent to the search. In fact, you should not do so.
Pennsylvania residents who hear about the arrest of someone for suspected drug offenses might well wonder what type of evidence officers need to produce in order to support this type of criminal charge. Every situation involving an alleged drug crime is different and the specific evidence therefore may vary as well. However, that does not negate the need for prosecutors to have evidence to back up an arrest or request to keep a defendant in custody.
People who hear or read reports of arrests made involving drugs in Pennsylvania should carefully consider that there may be more to the story than someone allegedly breaking the law. In many cases, people accused of drug crimes have underlying addictions or substance abuse problems that put them in the position of being arrested as they struggle with the vicious cycle of drug addiction.
Even just ten or fifteen years ago, it was difficult to imagine widespread legalization of marijuana. Today, several states have legalized the drug for recreational use, and many more either decriminalize small amounts of it or allow medical uses.
Many in Pennsylvania have gone through the financial pressure brought on by a loved one's need for a cash bond after being arrested and charged with a crime. Without the money, they were unable to leave jail, but coming up with the amount is sometimes difficult or impossible, and that can have serious repercussions on a person's life. Two senators have introduced a bill to try to change this system so that the ability to pay is not what keeps people in jail.
Over the past 15 or 20 years, Pennsylvania residents have become aware of a growing problem facing not only their local communities but the nation as a whole. The dramatic entrance onto the market of opioid painkillers to help manage serious pain has contributed to a deadly legacy. These highly addictive drugs have led far too many people down a negative path that may include criminal charges, time in jail and even overdose.
With the current and growing acceptance of the use of marijuana for recreational as well as medicinal use in states across the country, Pennsylvanians should know that the criminal penalties still exist. Although possession of an illegal drug is typically considered far less onerous a crime than an act amounting to drug trafficking, sentencing rules do provide for prison time.