There needs to be a federal law that states that all federal prisoners who are in jail for nonviolent, drug related crimes should get retroactive punishments. A repeal to the mandatory minimum sentences for drug laws which are hugely overactive in their sentences are needed as well.
Here is a chart (.pdf) showing current mandatory minimums:
For reference, 1 pound is about 453.592 grams. 100 grams is around .22 pounds, or less than a fourth of a pound.
Drugs do destroy lives and can cause negative outcomes for people’s lives, however the federal mandatory minimum sentence for nonviolent drug crimes is more than a lot of other, more violent crimes such as domestic violence. This needs to change. Furthermore, drug users will best be served by going through rehabilitation.
If people are unable to handle their lives to a point where they need to do drugs, putting them in a prison system full of violent offenders and putting the stigma of a felony on them for the rest of their lives will make it harder for them to integrate successfully into society and be able to handle their problems without drugs. I want to put forward a law similar to Portugal’s where these drugs are still illegal, but if people are caught with the drugs they are hit with a small, manageable fine and referral to a treatment program at the federal level. The states can still decide how they want to handle drug laws. Using drugs is a public health issue, not a felony criminal issue. Making the use and possession of drugs an offense to this level will help more people come forward for help with substance abuse, rather than hide in fear of their lives being thrown away. This will allow people to get the health care they need before their problem spirals out of control. Lowering the penalty for drugs can also help slow the spread of HIV, AIDS, and other blood-borne diseases that come from sharing needles. These people can come forward for help and I would also like to introduce program which provides some funding for clean needles. These people are going to use these drugs regardless of how it affects their health and those around them since this is their unhealthy way of coping with life. It is best to work with this issue through treatment rather than a fruitless legal fight against it which has absolutely not worked. I do not support people using substances as an escape from their lives, but a viable support system needs to be in place to help those that do use these substances to get help for their drug problem without fear of wasting away in a prison for years.
I am in favor of marijuana being legalized and regulated like tobacco at the federal level, and allowing the states to decide whether or not they want marijuana legal in their state.