Enforcement of marijuana laws may soon change in Nevada after the attorney general called for reduced sentences for drug crimes, including marijuana possession. The attorney general wants federal prosecutors to focus more on violent, high-level drug offenders rather than prosecuting low-level drug offenders.
The attorney general wants low-level drug offenders to face shorter prison sentences and be sent to drug treatment centers instead of serving time in prison in some cases. In addition to getting rehab, low-level offenders would also be involved in community service programs.
One of the biggest changes the attorney general is calling for is that low-level, non-violent drug offenders that are not involved with drug cartels will not be sentenced under mandatory minimum guidelines. These offenders would be charged with offenses that don't require mandatory prison sentences to help offenders get treatment as well as reduce the overcrowded prison population.
Reports show that an estimated 45 percent of federal drug convictions are for low-level offenses. The attorney general's recommendation to reduce prison sentences for low-level drug offenders could significantly impact the penalties individuals convicted of drug crimes face in the future.
While the attorney general wants federal prosecutors to focus more on violent and high-level drug offenders, it is up to each state's federal prosecutors to change the way they prosecute drug offenders. If prosecutors in Nevada decide to follow the attorney general's recommendations, people charged with certain drug crimes could face reduced sentences and possibly serve no jail time. Instead, they could serve community service and be admitted to a drug treatment facility.
Despite the new recommendations for federal prosecutors, drug charges are still very serious and individuals charged with a drug crime should contact a criminal defense attorney to protect their rights.
Source: Huffington Post, "Eric Holder Proposes Drug Sentencing Reforms," Aug. 12, 2013