Prior State Marijuana Convictions Are Giving Federal Prisoners Longer Sentences, New Report Shows

Prior State Marijuana Convictions Are Giving Federal Prisoners Longer Sentences, New Report Shows
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Hundreds of people received more serious federal prison sentences in the last fiscal year because of prior marijuana possession convictions in states that have since reformed their cannabis laws, a new report published on Tuesday by the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) shows. While federal marijuana possession cases have declined dramatically since 2014 as more state legalization laws have come online, the report highlights the long-term consequences of cannabis convictions in terms of federal sentencing. It also reveals how many federal defendants face enhanced sentencing due to state-level marijuana possession offenses even after their state’s policy evolves to decriminalize or legalize cannabis. USSC said in October that it was looking into revising its guidelines to change how marijuana possession convictions should affect a person’s criminal history calculation (CHC) in sentencing decisions. Now it’s produced data demonstrating why that reform may be necessary. This report assesses recent trends in simple possession and describes demographic characteristics, criminal history, and sentencing outcomes of federal offenders sentenced for marijuana possession, comparing them to federal offenders sentenced for possession of other drugs. — SentencingCommission (@TheUSSCgov) January 10, 2023 In Fiscal Year 2021, there were 4,405 federal offenders who received additional points on their criminal history score because of a cannabis possession conviction, accounting for eight percent of all federal cases. Among those offenders who got extra points, 1,765 were placed in a higher criminal history category that comes with an enhanced sentence. Almost all of the people who faced more serious federal consequences got their marijuana possession record in a state that has since either decriminalized cannabis (22.2 percent), legalized possession (18.2 percent), allowed medical cannabis (15.1 percent), facilitated expungements (19.7 percent) or some combination of those policy changes. 97% of marijuana possession priors were state convictions, including prior convictions from states that have since changed…

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Source : Prior State Marijuana Convictions Are Giving Federal Prisoners Longer Sentences, New Report Shows

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