Two Recent Court Decisions Negatively Impact Rights of Marijuana Users

Despite the fact that the citizens of Massachusetts had voted to decriminalize the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, two recent decisions by the Supreme Judicial Court have substantially reduced the rights of marijuana users. These decisions will greatly increase the state's ability to treat people holding even a small amount of marijuana as drug dealers and to charge them with serious crimes, such as possession with intent to distribute, that carry substantial jail sentences and other penalties, such as loss of driver's license. Because of this, it is important that you take even the most minor drug charge extremely seriously and that you hire a Salem Criminal Defense Attorney who will aggressively fight to give you the best chance at avoiding a conviction.

In Commonwealth v. Daniel, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a police officer can now search a person's car if the police officer claims that he smelled burnt marijuana. This is despite the fact that marijuana possession has been decriminalized and it flies in the face of the Court's earlier decision in Commonwealth v. Cruz, that prevented the police from conducting such searches. This opens the door for the police to conduct hundreds or thousands of questionable searches every year - searches that will undoubtedly lead to some serious criminal charges.

Just as bad, in Commonwealth v. Keefner, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the police and prosecutors can charge someone with the very serious crime of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, even if the person is found with less than an ounce of marijuana. This defeats the whole purpose of decriminalization and subjects marijuana users to substantial potential jail sentences. Police officers who were upset by decriminalization can now just start charging everyone with possession with intent to distribute, even if the person has only a tiny amount of marijuana on them.

With my extensive criminal defense experience and my background as both a former police officer and a former prosecutor, I believe that I am uniquely qualified to help you obtain the best possible result on your drug case and to provide you with all of the information that you need in order to make good decisions on how to handle your case. Contact Salem criminal defense lawyer Kevin Prendergast today for help with your charges.