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Drug-related arrests rose last year -- what's next?

-The Obama administration, as most of our readers know, sought to minimize the incarceration rates and the severity of penalties for people convicted only of minor drug crimes --- particularly those involving marijuana.

In 2015, President Obama's drug czar Michael Botticelli called the practice "cruel" and "costly." He added that "it doesn't make the public any safer." He also noted that "we can't arrest our way out of the problem" of substance abuse, and that trying to do so will cost the country "billions upon billions of dollars."

It may be surprising to learn, then, that U.S. drug arrests increased in 2016 -- the last year of the Obama administration -- by about 5.6 percent over the 1.5 million seen in 2015. That works out to about one every 20 seconds.

There's no reason to believe that those numbers will go anywhere but up under the Trump administration.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called marijuana use "only slightly less awful" than heroin use. He has already rescinded the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines put in place under President Obama. Sessions is also reportedly anxious to go after the medical marijuana industry, which is governed by state laws.

If you or a loved one is facing drug-related charges, it's essential to understand that law enforcement and prosecutors may not be as lenient as you would expect or hope in this changing political climate. That's why it's essential to seek the guidance of a Maryland criminal defense attorney with experience in handling drug-related cases. Even a first-time arrest involving drugs can have harsh consequences and a significant impact on a person's future.

Source: Forbes, "Drug Arrests On The Rise In US: New FBI Data," Tom Angell, accessed Oct. 25, 2017

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