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Marijuana is a combination of a gridded mixture of leaves, stems, and flowering tops of a certain Indian hemp plant, which is known in Latin "Cannabis sativa". Cannabis is a Plant type that drugs are obtained from its leaves and flowers. Criminalization of marijuana is a controversial issue as there has not been consensus on its legality. There are four main categories of marijuana in accordance to law: legalized, decriminalized, illegalized, decriminalized, illegalized but not enforced. Legal means that one is allowed to use marijuana freely with no obligation to the law. Decriminalized means that being caught in possession of marijuana, no legal charges against you but it will be confiscated. Illegalization means that marijuana can only be used for medical purposes or otherwise the law is enforced. Most countries recognize marijuana for medical purpose alone, though there are no strict laws against it. Personal consumption of marijuana is allowed within certain limits. In this paper, we are going to examine the use and legality of marijuana in two different settings, New York and Czech Republic (Regoli & Hewitt, 2009).
Case in dispute
Marijuana is mainly consumed by smoking or eating together with other foodstuffs. It contains hallucinogenic and pleasure-giving effects just minutes after consumption. The major and lethal mind blowing or stimulator ingredient of Marijuana, Tetrahydrocannabinol also referred as "THC", is concentrated in the flowering tops of the crop. Hashish is prepared from the plant resin, producing about eight good times more THC than Marijuana, thus making marijuana be viewed as a common breeding platform for a dangerous drug. Marijuana was already consumed for medicine as early as 3000 BC in Central Asia and China. China is an important and historical platform for marijuana.
The firstly known use of marijuana for medical purpose dates back to2737 BC by the Chinese, precisely emperor chen-nung. He confirmed that the drug was good for the treatment of diseases like malaria, rheumatic pains, absent-mindedness, and female disorders. Years after the emperor discovery, many societies accepted it for the medicinal purposes. In India, it's commonly and widely used for to quicken the mind thinking power and lower pains. Therefore, outlawing such a drug with so many benefits becomes a tricky affair considering the good effects it has and the number of people reliant on it for consumption or business.
Marijuana in New York
Marijuana related drug abuse cases are treated differently from other drug abuse cases. Marijuana related cases in New York have their special categories, and level of charges as per the amount of possession and the number of times one is caught in possession. Though there are laws to curb it, marijuana-related cases are not taken that serious as other illegal drugs possession of the drug is less offensive than the sale. Persons found selling marijuana is more likely to be in a serious situation than those found consuming or just being in possession. We shall look at the criminality, nature and the scope of law application, of possessing marijuana in New York as follows.
Unlawful possession of marijuana: penal law 221.05
Single person found in possession
To be found in possession of marijuana that doesn't exceed 25 grams is not a criminal offense, and this is just the lowest charge on marijuana possession. This section of law states that, a person can be considered guilty of unlawful possession of marijuana when he unlawfully and knowingly possesses marijuana. This section of law mainly deals with small amounts of marijuana possessed by someone and its quantity or circumstances of possession. Therefore, here we are dealing mainly with its violation rather than its criminality. Therefore, the case, when heard for the first time, will most likely end up being an immediate dismissal.
This is because when one is charged with a criminal offense, the government is required to provide an accusatory instrument sheet and failure for its provision means that the case can be easily dismissed. Since, this is a drug case the government is supposed to provide a laboratory analysis showing enough proof that the recovered drug is actually illegal. In New York law an accusatory report that charges the violation of something must be corroborated. Meaning that the accusatory instrument must be accompanied by a lab test of the substance. The court has no power to listen to a violation that is not there and then corroborated, and therefore, it's just dismissed. This is because by the time you stand up for your case the lab result will not yet be out.
Multiple parties found with possession of marijuana
The maximum time these multiple people can spend waiting for arraignment is 24 hours. When the case is mentioned, they can simply tell the judge that it was just one of them smoking. Under this agreement, only one person will be charged which amounts to dismissal of the case.
Criminal possession of marijuana under penal law 221.10
This is a crime of class B misdemeanor, where marijuana is over 25 grams but less than 2 ounces.
Criminal possession of marijuana under penal law 221.15
Under this circumstance, the case requires that you must be in possession of 2 ounces but less than 8 ounces. This is because being in possession of such a huge amount of marijuana amounts to the assumption that you are a drug dealer rather than a consumer. It is in the 4th degree of marijuana possession therefore, an A class misdemeanor. A maximum jail term is just one flat year (Goode, 2009).
Penal Law 221.35: Sale of Marijuana
A class B misdemeanor for maximum jail term is 90 days for being in possession of more than 2 grams. The sale amounts to gifts or exchange of marijuana for other benefits.
Penal Law 221.40: Sale of Marijuana.
This is a Class A misdemeanor for being in possession of more than less than one ounce. The misdemeanor cases are normally handled by city, town, or village courts. Misdemeanor level of criminal offenses refers to less than a year in jail while felony level offenses are for those sentenced more than one year in jail. The misdemeanor level of offenses can be handled directly by authorities residing at the City, Town and Village Courts. The felony level offenses charges are only handled at the County Court level. New York State Penal Law 221.50
This amounts to sale of marijuana to a minor (persons below 18 years of age). It is a class D felony status, punishable with a minimum of three years and maximum of seven years in jail.
New York Criminal Procedure Law: Section 170.56.
If someone is eligible under the statute, for suspension in consideration of dismissal in a case concerning marijuana, a motion can be easily passed by his attorney allowing his marijuana cases to be dismissed in the future. His record will be cleared form the corridors of justice and the person restored to his pre-arrest status. If, the person has other pending charges either related to marijuana or other drugs, still his attorney can negotiate for some other noncritical disposition (Earleywine, 2007).
Marijuana in Czech Republic
Czech Republic has an interesting lifestyle in relation to drug consumption, almost becoming a tourist destination for the drug, mainly marijuana and beer. Czechs Republic is the leading nation in terms of hops-infused beer and smoking of marijuana. A country is out of control. How many people would land in jail? The whole country (pun intended). A survey has shown that, in the Republic of Czech, one can freely or legally use, possess, grow, or purchase of marijuana. The drug arrest rate is as low as expected. The Czech Republic is more linear on drugs related cases such as marijuana, which has been legal for almost a decade. Possession though, still remains a crime though not effectively prosecuted. This is due to lack of resources such as the drug policy coordinators. The scope of target for the marijuana drug cases is just concentrated on the manufactures, importers and the main dealers.
Legality of marijuana
The Czech Republic defines the illegality of marijuana as, more than a small amount. Recently, another law was passed following Misdemeanor offense.
This quantifies the amount of drug taken like being of less than 15 grams of marijuana, which asks for a fine equivalent to the average monthly salary of a Czech.
Marijuana is not decriminalized in Czech and possession of it is mostly at demeanors. Survey shows that the Czech Republic has the highest rate of consumption of marijuana for people between the age of 15 and 24. The new law is seen as a tourist attraction marketing strategy as it's too lenient on marijuana and other drug users and it's like acknowledging that the country has lost the war on the consumption of marijuana.
We have seen that marijuana is mostly used for recreational and medical purposes. Tolerant marijuana laws may tempt people to use other, much stronger and dangerous drugs such as heroin and cocaine. In Czech Republic citizens legally use marijuana whereas in New York, it's a bit tough to use. When people can legally purchase marijuana at affordable prices and sources they tend not to consider opting for other drugs creating a roadblock to other dangerous drugs. Still the marijuana has so many medical benefits that can't be ignored.