Many different things can end up having a big impact in cases in which a person is facing charges of distributing drugs here in Wisconsin. This includes where the alleged drug distribution is alleged to have occurred. This is because, here in Wisconsin, distributing drugs in certain locations can lead to a person facing a higher max sentence than would typically be available for the offense of drug distribution.
Agencies of the federal government, such as the FBI, get involved in many ways when it comes to drug issues in states. For one, they sometimes work with state and local agencies to study a particular drug problem in a state.
Legislation is currently being developed which, if passed, could have big impacts on Wisconsin schools and their students. The proposal regards drug testing at school.
Statistics suggest overdose deaths from heroin or other opiates are on the rise in Milwaukee County.
Last week, we wrote about the Obama administration's efforts to grant clemency to federal prisoners facing long sentences for drug crimes. In all, President Obama has commuted sentences for 306 people, most of whom committed non-violent drug offenses.
Now in his final year in office, President Obama has increased his focus on criminal justice reform. Specifically, he continues to issue pardons and commutations to large groups of non-violent drug offenders serving lengthy sentences in federal prison.
We have previously written that a criminal conviction can have consequences that last far beyond whatever sentence is imposed. This is especially true for teenagers and young adults. A conviction, even for minor offenses, can jeopardize job opportunities, college admissions and scholarship opportunities.
The "war on drugs" is a concept that dates back decades. It has been waged by numerous presidents with help from countless legislators. Its economic costs total billions of dollars per year, and its human costs are incalculable. Largely because of the war on drugs, the United States has 25 percent of the world's prisoners yet only 5 percent of the world's population.
We live in a country where the legality of marijuana is rarely clear and is frequently changing. Although the drug remains illegal under federal law, marijuana and derivative drugs are legal for medical purposes in 23 states and the District of Columbia. As most readers know, Wisconsin is not on that list.
A couple weeks ago, we wrote about a new approach to combating drug use that focuses on harm reduction rather than arrests, convictions and incarcerations. A pilot program has so far been successful in one major city in the Northwest (based on reduced recidivism rates), and there's reason to believe that a similar program could work here in Wisconsin.