There are widely varying marijuana rules and regulations throughout the United States. Some states have legalized only medical cannabis, many states enforce laws against all marijuana use, and a select few states have liberal attitudes overall toward the cannabis industry. A common thread among all states, however, is the prevalence of drug-free zones. Daniel Stockmann, an Omaha marijuana possession lawyer, understands the ins and outs of these sometimes confusing laws. Read more to understand what drug-free zones are and the effects they have on their communities.
What Defines a Drug-Free Zone
Drug-free zones began in the seventies, roughly a decade before the war on drugs under Ronald Reagan’s presidency began. A policy brief from The Sentencing Project explains the idea behind drug-free zones in the first place. At their start, these laws were designed to protect children from drug use and trafficking near schools. Government officials began to enforce more severe consequences for drug crimes in these areas compared to the same crimes in other places. Eventually, certain states expanded their zones to include not only schools but public parks, arcades, churches, malls, libraries, and more. Utah even considers parking lots or structures near stadiums or arenas to qualify as drug-free zones. Today, all fifty states have some form of drug-free zone laws in place.
Problems Arising from Drug-Free Zone Laws
Though drug-free zone laws appear well-intentioned and positive, there have been some issues. The Sentencing Project outlines several problems that drug-free zones have created in their respective communities. For starters, people facing a single drug charge may actually end up dealing with two separate penalties depending on their state’s sentencing scheme. There is also the issue of drug-free zone laws getting too broad; defendants may face the consequences of an enhanced penalty even without the involvement of school children or a school in session. Zones can also start to overlap and blanket certain communities. These laws also disproportionately affect people of color and low-income citizens. Because of this, seven states have reconsidered or changed their zone laws. Nebraska, however, is not one of these states to enact reform. This state, along with 31 others, maintains a drug-free zone radius of 1,000 feet from protected areas.
The Impact of Legalization on Cannabis Laws
Though the push for cannabis legalization is spreading further across the United States, drug-free zone laws still exist in all states – even ones with a flourishing cannabis industry. However, much research has been done since the initial laws were proposed to enact some changes. In addition to some states making changes to their drug-free zones and correlating penalties, cannabis legalization is impacting other policies across the country. Many employers that used to have strict zero-tolerance drug policies are considering loosening their regulations based on legalized medical or recreational use in their state. Even though some of these changes may seem insignificant, the very presence of consideration for change is an indicator of progress toward legalization.
Retain an Omaha Marijuana Possession Lawyer
Drug-free zones add another set of complications to marijuana-related charges. If you or someone you know is facing a charge of this nature, call Daniel Stockmann, an experienced Omaha marijuana possession lawyer. Stockmann’s years of expertise and knowledge about marijuana laws have ensured countless clients have been able to get past their charges and move on with their lives. For more information, complete the form on this page or call (844) 906-0641 to get your free consultation today.
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