The decriminalization of drugs is sweeping the country with many states already having laws on the books or currently working on putting laws in place. Alabama is among those states working to decriminalize marijuana. However, there are more options available that could have a positive impact on the state.
According to the Urban Institute, the majority of people incarcerated are in there due to drug crimes. Some people spend years behind bars for minor drug crimes. There is also an issue with minorities and drug crimes. Many of the people who face these charges are from a minority group, and the numbers are disproportionate when comparing minorities to whites facing the same charges or ending up with a prison sentence for a conviction.
By decriminalizing drugs, the state can offer help instead of punishment. Most of the decriminalization laws prioritize rehabilitation and treatment over jail or prison time. This means if you face a drug charge, you get help to stop your addiction, which sets you up for a better life in the future. If you go to prison, it sets up you up for a harder and likely worse life in the future.
There are other benefits to society when a state decriminalizes drugs. These include a reduction in costs associated with prosecuting and punishment for the crimes, smaller prison populations, a society less dependent on drugs and improved communities. When people do not end up with a felony charge, they can find better jobs and housing and become more productive members of the community. This information is for education and is not legal advice.