In 1936, a film called Tell Your Children warned viewers of the consequences of smoking marijuana. These included a life of criminal activity, mental illness and suicide. The film became a perennial in college campus theaters in the 1970s, though these audiences were likely to be laughing rather than believing.
Fast-forward to 2013. The Pew Research Center reported that public support for legalizing marijuana is greater than ever before.
- In the latest survey, 52 percent of respondents favored legalization compared to 45 percent who wanted it to remain illegal.
- In 1969, when the survey question was first asked, only 12 percent favored legalization versus 84 percent who wanted the drug to be classified as an illegal substance.
- Fewer people now view marijuana use as a moral issue. Seventy-two percent said that enforcing anti-marijuana laws is a waste of government money.
This shift in attitude is reflected in new laws in several states that have decriminalized the personal and medical use of marijuana.
Utah has not changed any of its strict marijuana laws. The drug is still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Possession of less than one ounce is considered a Class B misdemeanor. If you are convicted of possession, you face a hefty fine and possible jail time. Secondary consequences of a drug conviction on your record include losing your drivers and/or hunting license.
It may not seem fair that the same actions considered legal in one state are illegal in another. However, until law catches up to public opinion, marijuana is still illegal in Utah. If you are arrested on a marijuana drug charge in Utah, get in touch with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you dispute the charges or negotiate a better outcome.