Controlled substances are those under strict government, both federal and state regulations including prescription narcotic painkillers, heroin, morphine, marijuana, methadone, peyote and other highly addictive drugs (Michigan & LexisNexis, 2001). The official law in Michigan that contains the civil penalties for possession of certain amount of controlled substances is Michigan Penal Code Act 328 of 1931, 750 M.C.L. § 750.474 (1931). It deals with transportation or possession of usable marijuana, as well as violation as misdemeanor and penalty (Finkelman, Hershock, & Taylor, 2006). Fundamentally, the current paper aims at enumerating the current law associated with drug substances in Michigan.
According to the Michigan Penal Code, the drugs are separated into schedules; that is, I, II, III, IV, and V with respect to the criminal penalties at hand for the drugs in each category. Schedule I drugs, i.e. Heroin and LSD as per the Code are those that do not have an accepted medicinal purpose and possess a very high potential for addiction (Finkelman et al., 2006). Schedule II drugs are restricted and have a high potential for abuse and dependence, yet are characterized by accepted medical use. The examples include cocaine and methamphetamines. Schedule III comprises the drugs that include steroids and morphine and are recognized as those with moderate potential for addiction and accepted medical use (Finkelman et al., 2006). Schedule IV drugs like Valium and Xanax have an accepted extensive medical use and possess smaller potential for addiction compared to other drugs. Finally, Schedule V drugs are widely used for medical purposes and have rather little potential for addiction (Finkelman et al., 2006).
I am inclined to believe that the Michigan Penal Code is addressing the issue of possession of a controlled substance with the aim to promote professionalism and clear guidance as regards the use of drugs. The idea is to ensure that substances and drugs considered safe for consumption are the ones that should be utilized and in a proper way of following prescription by a qualified physician. The law is intended to induce order so that the citizens do not engage in misbehaviors or any criminal activities due to the excessive consumption of substances and drugs (Michigan & LexisNexis, 2001). Additionally, it addresses the issue of the punishment penalties for those found to have used, possessed or sold the different types of drugs and substances that are regulated by the government (Michigan & LexisNexis, 2001). As evident in Section 333.7401 of the Michigan Penal Code, the law mainly regards the punishments for drug manufacturing, cultivation, distribution, trafficking, and prescription (Michigan & LexisNexis, 2001). What is more, it covers specific areas that the police officers and prosecutors should concentrate on when charging those in possession of controlled substances which is the intent to deliver, manufacture, or distribute (Michigan & LexisNexis, 2001).
The Michigan Penal Code addresses a variety of substances and drugs but in this case, the focus is on the use of marijuana. One particular problem about marijuana in Michigan is the constant changes laws (Russell, 2013). Changing of laws is a result of the challenges regarding legalization, decriminalization, and medical use of marijuana. It is an issue which complicates the process of tracking laws that apply to particular instances (Russell, 2013). It is compounded by the new developments where Michigan is planning to expand its medical marijuana coverage, thus breeding confusion as to which extent does the marijuana laws apply. It is particularly worth noting the fact that the possession of marijuana in Michigan with the intent to sell or deliver attracts extraordinarily dangerous criminal penalties from the police and the prosecutors (Russell, 2013). The above is true as the law enforcement officers will always look for the possible ways to amplify the charges against a person so that one stays in jail for long time depending on the location of one’s arrest. The arrest also entails an amount of marijuana in one’s possession, or the additional criminal charges one is facing (Russell, 2013).
What is more, of particular interest is the fact that the impacts of using marijuana are always exaggerated since the government and the law enforcers are biased in their assessment. It would be critical to have it legalized as opposed to criminalize its use as long as the benefits exceed the claimed negatives.
The personal or societal problem the Michigan Penal Code addresses is the issue of gang violence in the United States. According to statistics, drug trade, especially cocaine, marijuana and heroin, is the major cause of gang violence in the United States since nearly all the Cities have their occupants trading in drugs as the main economic activity (Waldaman, 2014). This has forced them to involve in illegal gun acquisition so as to protect themselves from the rival groups including the law enforcers. In fact, the law enforcement officers also involve in the trade by seeking bribe in exchange of protection to the traffickers (Waldaman, 2014).
The possible unintended consequences resulting from this law is that one risks spending too much time in jail along with huge amounts of money seeking justice when in many cases the police violate the law in conducting searches and arresting without warrants (Russell, 2013). On the positive side, the law is meant to regulate the consumption and sue of the drug or substance, as well as set the parameters under which the police and prosecutors must operate in establishing charges (Russell, 2013).
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Assessing what the law is trying to do, I equivocally disagree with it which is due to the fact that it makes no sense to treat the possession of any controlled or prescription drug other than marijuana as a felony while considering marijuana a misdemeanor that is punishable by jail term of one year, and fines of up to $2,000.
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