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Ann Landers & Common Sense


DEAR ANN: My son has been arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. A lawyer told me if someone is caught with marijuana, chances are the police will add "intent to distribute," even in the absence of
supporting evidence.  This changes the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony.

My son is a good kid who attends college and has a part-time job.  He didn't hurt anyone. He didn't steal anything.  He didn't cheat anybody.  He was caught
with marijuana for his own use, and for this, he could get 30 years in prison. He has never gotten so much as a parking ticket.

I don't approve of smoking grass, and I do not approve of smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol.  But this punishment seems excessive.  These harsh laws hurt us all.

I plead for compassion for those who are hurting only themselves when they use dangerous substances.  What they need is counseling and medical intervention, not prison.  Harsh laws don't work.  They cost us a fortune in taxes to
prosecute and incarcerate people who pose no danger to society. Enough.

A Sad Mother


DEAR SAD MOTHER: If the police added "intent to distribute" without real evidence, your son will need the help of a competent lawyer who can get those charges dismissed.

I have long believed that the laws regarding marijuana are too harsh. Those who keep pot for their own use should not be treated as criminals.  Thirty years in prison makes no sense whatsoever.  I'm with you.