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Question

Federal and State Drug Statutes PowerPoint

For this Assignment, you will be interviewing a law enforcement officer involved in drug law enforcement and creating a minimum 15-slide PowerPoint presentation (not including the cover and reference slides) covering federal and state statutes for drug trafficking.

Before your interview, research and identify both federal statutes and your state statutes that deal with drug trafficking and have examples of the crimes and punishments that relate to cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana.

Then, identify a local, state or federal law enforcement officer whose primary duty is drug law enforcement and ask questions related to whether or not your researched statutes are effective in terms of law enforcement efforts to decrease drug trafficking. Questions should include specific aspects of drug law enforcement in which the officer is engaged and any jurisdictional or cooperation issues the officer has encountered in enforcing the drug statutes.

Answer

Federal and State Drug Statutes PowerPoint

Footer notes

Slide 2

For cocaine between 500-4999 grams for first offenders, the penalty is between 5-40 years imprisonment. If the user has killed or injured someone seriously then the penalty is more than 20 years. The fine range is less than $5 million for individuals but $25 million for a group. For second offenders, one serves more than 10 years in prison but not a life term sentence. If it is associated with serious body injuries or even death then it is a life imprisonment. For fines, then it is an amount not more than $8 million for a person while for a group then it is a maximum of $50 million. This penalties and fines also applies to heroine between 100-199 grams mixture and methamphetamine 5-49 grams pure or between 50-499 grams mixture (“Drug Enforcement Administration,” 2014).

Slide 3

In another category, for heroine ranging between 1 kg or more  and methamphetamine 50 grams or more for pure or equivalent to  500 g or more for mixture then the penalties are the same. For first offenders, there is at least 10 yrs imprisonment but not for life. If it involves death or serious injuries then the jail term is more than 20 yrs in prison but not for life. Fine ranges up to $ 5 million for individuals and if other than an individual, it is up to $50 million. For second offence of the same, then the jail term is at least 20 yrs imprisonment but not a life sentence. For cases of death or serious injuries to the body then it is a life imprisonment. The fine range is less than $20 million for a person but $75 million for groups.  For two or more prior offences, then one is imprisoned for life. The fine range for an individual is any amount not above $20 million whereas for a group then the range is an amount not exceeding $75 million (“Drug Enforcement Administration,” 2014).

Slide 4

Lastly we have penalties for marijuana according to the federal statutes. Any amount of marijuana more than  1000 kg of its mixture or as a plant, for first offenders, the imprisonment is at least 10 years  but not for life. If it involves death or serious body injuries then the imprisonment is for at least 20 years. Fine is not exceeding $10 million for a person and not exceeding $50 million if it is other than an individual. For second offence, it is more than 20 years imprisonment. If death or serious body injuries are involved, then it is a life imprisonment term. Fine is a maximum of $5 million for individuals but $25 million other than individuals.  With Marijuana ranging between 100-999 kg mixture or plant, for first offenders, the jail term may be up to 40 years (“Drug Enforcement Administration,” 2014).

Slide 5

With Marijuana ranging between 100-999 kg mixture or plant, for first offenders, the jail term is between 5 to 40 yrs in prison. If it involves death or serious body injuries then one serves a minimum of 20 yrs or more than life imprisonment. For individuals the fine is a maximum of $5 million and $25 million if it is not for an individual. For second offenders, it is a minimum of 10 yrs or more than life. For death and severe body injuries, it is life imprisonment. Fine range is a maximum of $ 8 million for individuals and $ 50 million other than individuals. For individuals the fine is a maximum of $5 million and $25 million if it is not for an individual. For second offenders, it is a minimum of 10 yrs or more. For death and severe body injuries, it is life imprisonment. Fine range is a maximum of $ 8 million for individuals and $ 50 million other than individuals

Slide 6

Another category is of marijuana 50-99 kg of its mixture or plant. For first offenders, the imprisonment is that not exceeding 20 yrs. For death and severe injuries then it is a term more than 20 years  or more than life. Fine is $1 million for individuals and $5 million if it is not an individual. For second offence of the same then the jail term is more than 30 years. For death or serious body injuries then it is life imprisonment. Fine for individuals and if not for individuals is $2 million and $10 million respectively. Finally we have marijuana not exceeding 50 kg  and 1-49 plants of marijuana whose penalty for first offenders is an imprisonment not exceeding five years. For individuals the fine is any amount not exceeding $ 250000  for individuals  and not exceeding $1 million for other than individual offenders. For second offenders, the jail term is a maximum of 10 years and a fine of $500000 for individuals and $2 million if it is not for an individual.

Slide 7

According to the statutes of Clarksville any substance which resembles the effects of any prohibited substance to include, but not restricted to any, opium derivatives, hallucinogenic substances, methamphetamine, opiates, cocaine,  marijuana, cannabis and other harmful substances are considered illegal. Clarksville’s law prohibits individuals from the use, possession or delivery of illegal substances. These laws apply to all individuals and corporate bodies within a span of one mile radius of the city’s boundaries. Clarksville gives exemptions in cases where drugs are prescribed by professionals. Thus if the substance in question is being used for medical purposes and prescribed by a qualified doctor, then there are no charges brought upon the particular users (“Municode,” 2013).

Slide 8

The penalties for drug offenders, just like federal penalties, depend on the quantity of the drug possessed by an individual, classification of the drugs as per the schedules, and the purpose or intent of the individual possessing the drugs. Marijuana is categorized in schedule 1, alongside other drugs such as methamphetamine, and heroin. Cocaine is categorized under schedule II. Drugs in schedule I are highly addictive and little or no therapeutic value. In Clarksville, the most serious drugs crimes involve producing illegal drugs, manufacturing various substance and selling or drug trafficking. The intent to trafficking is often proved by the quantity of the drug found in the offender’s possession. This enables the state to give less severe sentences to drug users, usually probation or light fines (“Municode,” 2013).

Slide 9

In Clarksville, possession of drugs with intent for using them personally attracts a less severe punishment. In some states, possession of drugs for personal use may attract a severe crime just like in sale or manufacturing of drugs. Minimum sentences in Clarksville range between one-year and three-year imprisonment terms often for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders can serve a minimum of three years and a maximum 12 years imprisonment. The state have enhanced punishment for certain forms of drug crimes. For instance, sale of drugs to minors, using minors to distribute drugs, or selling drugs near or in schools can attract enhanced punishment. Professional drug dealers, popularly known as drug kingpins, may be imprisoned for a period of not less than 25 years (“Municode,” 2013).

Slide 10

Drug policies enacted by federal and state governments should be based on sound empirical and scientific evidence. The success of these policies should ultimately be based on their ability to improve the welfare of individuals in the society and reduce negative health impacts on individuals. Current drug policies are influenced by ideological perspectives, and in other cases political conveniences, disregarding the complexities on the ground such as drug addiction and the existence of a flourishing drug market. Proper drug policies should take into consideration the multifaceted nature of drugs which includes production of the drugs, elaborate distribution systems, drug use and addiction or dependence from continued use. Drug policies should be implemented with the key objective of reducing the negative impacts on individuals and community, by reducing crime.

Slide 11

Federal drug laws punish offenders depending on what the amount of substance is found in their possession. For example if a user is found with cocaine between 500-4999 grams, the penalty given is between 5-40 years imprisonment. Federal drug laws do not address the root cause of drug problem in the United State. Firstly, there is need to restore justice in the entire system. Drug law enforcement in the U.S. has often been against the blacks, with whites benefiting from prosecutorial discretion. The federal government should harmonize its drug law programs with those of individual states. Majority of states have adopted new measures in dealing with the drug problem, for example they include treatment instead of taking offenders to prison.

Slide 12

Almost half of the arrests made in the U.S. involve minor offenses such as possession of marijuana. Such low-level crimes dominate much of the police work and time, taking their attention from more serious crimes. In addition, offenders of such low-level crimes fill the U.S. prisons. The war on drugs has led to congestion in the U.S. prisons in a magnitude never witnessed before. As a result, the U.S. has one of the largest prison populations worldwide. Law enforcement officers should focus on dangerous and violent criminals who are more dangerous to the society. The emphasis on minor drug offences shows that our priorities are not right. The U.S. correctional system should be reformed to grant parole to all non-violent drug convicts or giving them community sentences, with mandatory drug rehabilitation programs.

Slide 13

The federal government should adopt new strategies in the fight against drug abuse. There is need for a contemporary approach to the problem of drug abuse since most of the traditional approaches have failed in providing a tangible solution to the problem. The traditional federal government approaches focus much on imprisonment and fines, approaches which are considered ineffective in fighting drug abuse in the modern world. State-backed initiatives include modern approaches to the problem of drug abuse. Such modern approaches include opting for rehabilitation and treatment of drug abusers, allowing use of marijuana for medical purposes, decriminalizing its use and curtailing the misuse of property forfeiture laws in convicted drug traffickers and abusers. Currently, the budget on fighting drugs have grown enormously which may not be sustainable in future.

Slide 14

Currently, the law is too lenient on offenders. The state laws give us the mandate to issue a citation to offenders to appear in court within a period of 72 hours. This is great loophole since some traffickers usually disappear on being issued with the citation. The burden of proof lies with us and it is sometimes difficult to provide evidence on the same. Majority of the suspects eliminate all evidence making it hard to bring them to justice. In addition, the courts award lenient penalties to individuals found guilty of possessing synthetic substances. Currently, offenders pay a fine of $ 50 which is not deterrent enough. As such, offenders often end up repeating the crimes and paying the small fines imposed.

SLide 15

The state laws address only one side of the equation – the supply side and overlook the demand side of the equation. The law places greater emphasis on nailing suspected drug traffickers forgetting that as more of the drugs are demanded, there will always be people willing to supply drugs at a higher cost. The law should provide other form of penalties to drug users so as to minimize the problem. For instance, confirmed drug users should be placed in rehabilitation centers instead of taking them to jail. Often, drug users who go to jail continue with the same vice as drugs are also available in incarceration centers. There is need to involve the public health sector which can help in tackling the problem of addiction. There should be more emphasis of establishing social services which can deal with the root cause of drug abuse. There should also be programs that invest on the youth and keep them involved in life.

SLide 16

There is need for better preventive measures that can deter the youth from engaging in drug and substance abuse. The youth are the most vulnerable when it comes to drug and substance abuse, both in terms of use and trafficking. State governments should focus more on developing and strengthening mentorship programs, provide summer job programs and invest in skills building. Currently, federal laws block students convicted of drug use from accessing aid or education grants. Such students drop out of college and end up in drug abuse. It is also important to avail treatment to drug users on time instead of throwing them in prisons where the problem of drug use is often escalated. Law enforcement officers should focus on violent and dangerous criminals instead of focusing on minor drug offenders.

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