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New Jersey drug arrests and youth

While many state legislatures, including New Jersey, debate whether marijuana should be legalized, law enforcement officers continue to arrest individuals for possession of the substance and for owning drug paraphernalia. Many of those arrested are teenagers or young adults.

For example, in a recent police blotter in a local Morristown, New Jersey paper, those arrested for alleged possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana included one 18-year old, two 19-year olds, one 21-year old (the oldest of those arrested) and one youth as young as 13-years old.

Though this concern only a few separate instances, a large number of drug arrests involve youth who are likely harming no one but themselves. Yet we are still speaking about teenagers or individuals that are barely adults while facing significant criminal sentences for drug possession.

Jail time probably will do little to alleviate this problem. Instead, what these youth require is legal assistance, advice and access to resources for help with possible substance abuse issues.

If help is provided, these young people are much less likely to be arrested in the future. Lawyers that have worked with such reported drug offenders in the past can provide advice and resources for young people that may be struggling with any variety of issues.

Young people will continue partaking in activities that involve drugs and alcohol. Though there decision making may not always be sound, few would suggest that incarceration for these youth will make their situations better.

Each drug arrest is unique, and drug offenders should not be tried in court according to an assembly line basis.

Source: Redbank Green, "M'Town: Contempt, Drug Arrests Prevail," Jan. 2013

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