, Advice by Ann Landers - []
Our Featured Column from the Archives: [Read More Featured Columns]
[Previous] [Next]
Section: addictions, money, children

Dear Ann Landers,
I just got a phone call from my son. He said, "I've been arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute." I knew he had used marijuana on occasion, but I'm sure he never tried to sell it. A lawyer told me if someone is caught with marijuana, chances are the police will add "intent to distribute," even in the absence of supporting evidence. The accusation of intent changes the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony. Ann, my son is a good kid who attends college and has a part-time job. He didn't hurt anyone. He didn't steal anything. He didn't cheat anybody. He was caught with marijuana for his own personal use, and for this, he could get 30 years in prison. He has never gotten so much as a parking ticket. I don't approve of smoking grass, nor do I approve of smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. But this punishment seems excessive. I can't help but think of the thousands of families who have suffered this same horror. These harsh laws hurt us all. People who criminalize marijuana believe users are dangerous addicts in dark trench coats, lurking near playgrounds, ready to pounce on young children. I plead for compassion for those who are hurting only themselves when they use dangerous substances. What they need is counseling and medical intervention, not prison. Harsh laws don't work. Furthermore, it costs us a fortune in taxes to prosecute and incarcerate people who pose no danger to society. Enough. -- A Sad Mother in Va.

Dear Sad Mother,
I'm sad about your son's predicament. If the police added "intent to distribute" without real evidence, your son will need the help of a competent lawyer who can get those charges dismissed. I have long believed the laws regarding marijuana are too harsh. Those who keep pot for their own personal use should not be treated as criminals. Thirty years in prison makes no sense whatsoever. I'm with you.

Share this Column with Friends

What do you think?

A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Reader Comment
Regardless of people's opinions, marijuana is still illegal. I don't care how good of a boy your son is, he broke the law.

Careful's Comment
Imprisonment is ludicrous!!! A fine or civic duty might be more fitting to this "crime".

You’ll probably just call me a stoner's Comment
There is a huge problem with our justice system in general. Addiction shouldn’t be a crime, it should be treated like the health condition it is. Now that I’ve stepped on that soap box, let’s get to the topic at hand. Marijuana has medicinal properties and shouldn’t be illegal. As someone that deals with chronic pain and severe anxiety, it makes it so I can actually live and enjoy my life more than I could without it. That potential sentence is insane and I hope your son gets a competent lawyer to assist in making sure he doesn’t have to serve that much time. I wish you both the best.

Snoop's Comment
Drugs are illegal because they cause harm. Illicit drugs are problematic for everyone because they impair the user and when the user uses, their behavior affects others: driving a vehicle (DUI), performing surgery, calculating measurements, counting money, recording information, etc. And when/if they get it wrong, it will be because they are 'high'. When/If they cause the death or disability of another while 'high' it will be a crime that is increased due to being deliberately reckless for using illicit drugs where harming others or even themselves becomes the burden for other to respond to. Illicit drugs cause brain damage (i.e. that is the resulting impairment/'high'). The 'intent to distribute' charge is based on the amount of the drug a person has. Usually if the amount is significantly more than a person would use for oneself more than 1-2 uses, then it is 'intent to distribute'. This threshold varies from state to state. There are plenty of reasons to avoid using street drugs, not the least among them being because they are often laced with other drugs that aren't formulated with any oversight or reliable compounding skills and this leads to imminent harm, possibly permanent in nature.

sf's Comment
The crime do not fit the time, I am a mother of a addict and instead of the system helping him with rehab, they continue to lock him up with murder's, rapists' and all kinds of bad people. I learn that the system turn our children into criminals, in jail they learn how to do all kinds of criminals acts. My son has lost all his 20s and most of his 30s in jail, he has now found the Lord, he has gotten off drugs (yes they have more drugs in jail then they do on the street) and ready to lead a productive life. With no help from our justice system.

Caruso's Comment
The Crime does not fit the time. It should be a day in jail at most.

J's Comment
Illegal drugs continue into worsening and more addictive drugs. Drug use causes thefts to pay for them, murder for the same. Your "good" boy is a criminal and is going down an evil road. Back up the justice system and get him some help!
Please share your comments below:

Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

Tell us what you think?

Popular Columns

Tag Cloud

Ask a Question
Post a Comment

"Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat."
-Ann Landers