(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
As US Attorney for DC in 1996, Reported Attorney General nominee Eric Holder responded to a battle for control of street dealing in weed by pushing the DC City Council to escalate penalties for possession, and for the DC Police to step up enforcement, endorsing New York Mayor Rudolf Giuliani’s arrest ’em all “quality of life” clampdown.
U.S. Attorney Eric H. Holder Jr. said in an interview that he is considering not only prosecuting more marijuana cases but also asking the D.C. Council to enact stiffer penalties for the sale and use of marijuana.
“We have too long taken the view that what we would term to be minor crimes are not important,” Holder said, referring to current attitudes toward marijuana use and other offenses such as panhandling…
Holder said he hopes to discourage some of that activity by being tougher on marijuana crimes. New guidelines should be in place by the end of the month, he said, noting that the District could learn from New York’s “zero-tolerance” policy. There, crime plummeted when police aggressively enforced quality-of-life crimes, including panhandling and public drinking, which gave officers an opportunity to check for drugs, guns and outstanding warrants.
“If you take these so-called minor crimes seriously and treat them fully, it has a ripple effect,” Holder said.
Holder’s plans for stricter enforcement of marijuana laws, and his proposal to increase the penalties for trafficking in marijuana, come at the same time that Montgomery County State’s Attorney Andrew L. Sonner (D) has announced plans to treat more leniently low-level drug dealers and those found in possession of small amounts of drugs. Under Sonner’s plan, those people would be directed into treatment programs rather than sent to prison.
Council Member Charlene Jarvis responded with a proposal to make possession of as little as an ounce and a half a felony punishable by 5 years in prison. If you are charged with drug possession with these proposals in place you’ll need a firm well equipped to handle drug defenses to back you up, such as this: https://www.criminallawyer-nj.com/drug-defense/. Still, these proposals seem more than a little ridculous.
Holder also proposed, in a December 1996 Washington Times interview, to impose mandatory minimum sentence of 18 months for any sale.
While it’s not clear if Holder’s views have changed in the intervening 12 years, the question deserves attention in his confirmation hearings.
Obama’s positions on marijuana policy have been all over the board. As a US Senate candidate in 2004, he urged consideration of marijuana decriminalization, and pledged to work for repeal of mandatory sentences for all Controlled Substance offenses, a pledge on which he did not follow through. Before the Oregon Primary he promised to end Federal raids and prosecutions of patients in States with medical marijuana laws.
Voters in Michigan last month approved an Initiative authorizing patients to grow their own, and Massachusetts voters, by a similar margin, removed criminal penalties, and the possibility of arrest, for possession of less than 1 ounce.