Marijuana, and its prospective legalization, has been a hot topic in the United States for many years. But recent marijuana legalization and decriminalization laws have made the topic an even more important one. Marijuana carries a negative stigma seemingly because it has always carried a negative stigma. In other words, people think it’s as bad as it is because people have always said it is bad, not necessarily because it truly is bad.

Sure, in high quantities and when unchecked, the substance is bad for you. But the same could be said for alcohol, and it is freely sold to anyone of age. But marijuana? If you’re caught with it, chances are you will be hit with serious drug charges. These charges could ruin a person’s life — like, say the life of a college student.

Consider the lives of three North Dakota State students which will never be the same after they were arrested on marijuana charges during a routine traffic stop. Police also found heroin in the car. The three students, all under the age of 20, face serious jail time if they are convicted of their apparent crimes.

Many teenagers are going to make poor decisions during these formative years. Does that excuse their acts? Of course not. But ruining their lives hardly seems like a benefit, to them or to society. Many drug crimes turn minor offenders into hardened criminals, and in many respects, this is why the criminal defense side of the law is so important. Everyone deserves a chance to defend the charges against them.

Source: WDAY, “Three NDSU students arrested on drug charges following traffic stop,” Forum News Service, Feb. 27, 2014