A leading government official recently suggested that the United States could soon begin to pave the way for decriminalization of illegal drugs like marijuana, at least in other countries.
William Brownfield, the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said that U.S. officials are working on a “pragmatic reform agenda” that would fundamentally change the way this country approaches the international war on drugs. To that end, Brownfield noted, the United States is pushing for “concrete criminal justice reform” and the replacement of outmoded ideas about incarceration with alternatives that might include drug courts, sentencing reform and drug treatment options.
It is expected that the United States will officially unveil this agenda at an upcoming United Nations Generally Assembly Special Session, which will be held in April and will focus on international drug trafficking. According to Brownfield, the goal of the U.S. at the UN Conference will be to encourage other countries to shift their focus in the Drug War from a punitive angle that emphasizes arrests to a more health-centered approach that emphasizes solving drug addiction problems before they start.
Despite the bold language coming from the U.S. State Department, it is important to note that President Obama has yet to give any indication that the federal government plans to push for drug decriminalization.
Moreover, the federal government has yet to back down on the criminalization of marijuana within the U.S. – even as several states have recently legalized pot for both medical use and recreational use.
For additional information, read the Mashable.com article, “U.S. Government May Push for Drug Decriminalization at UN Next Month.”
In New Jersey, marijuana possession is still a crime that carries severe criminal penalties. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with simple possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute or any other drug offense, you need to talk to a criminal defense attorney. Contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty today to schedule a free consultation about your case.