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Some Colorado youth at higher risk for facing drug charges

The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has resulted in many benefits to the state, including what many believe to be a reduction in unnecessary arrests of adults for minor possession violations. However, the rules regarding recreational use and age are similar to those for alcohol, meaning that only adults aged 21 and older are allowed to partake. Since then, the number of drug charges against minors has rapidly increased, although some say that the arrests have been far from fair.

Since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012, the number of arrests for possession by minors in a school shot up a whopping 34 percent. Typically, these minors do not have to face any type of jail time, but they must still shell out for fines and a class regarding drug education. The impact can still be troubling for youth, especially since many of these arrests do not actually occur in areas with the highest reported use of drugs by minors.

So why the discrepancy? One report points to data that indicates police might be targeting certain groups more than others. Minors of Caucasian descent saw an 8 percent drop in their arrests for marijuana possession, while African American youth were subjected to a 58 percent increase following the 2012 decision. Latino youth were also affected, and their rate of arrest for possessing marijuana jumped nearly 30 percent.

Even as a minor, drug charges can have a profound impact on the remainder of a person's life. From education to employment opportunities, a conviction can cut off a wide range of potential choices. Colorado defendants have the right to review their charges, evidence and even the manner in which they were arrested in order to determine how best to proceed. Minimizing the impact of these criminal allegations is usually the top priority for defendants of all ages, making the timely approach to this review a well-advised move.

Source: vibe.com, "Marijuana Related Arrests Skyrocket In Colorado For Black And Latino Minors", Richy Rosario, May 11, 2016

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