Drug dealers should be diverted to jail
October 25, 2006
We doubt that even the staunchest supporters of Question 7, which would legalize small amounts of marijuana in Nevada, would support letting a drug dealer off scot-free.
But that just might happen in Storey County to a man charged with possessing 30 pounds of pot.
The man, Justin Warren Cain, 23, signed a plea agreement last week brokered by Storey County District Attorney Harold Swafford that looks to be an early Christmas present. It means not only that charges would be dropped against two other people, but that he might end up with a spotless record.
Under the agreement, Cain would plead guilty to possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of sale. Swafford, in turn, would not object to Cain having the charge dismissed if he follows any conditions put on him by the judge.
Drug diversion programs have proven successful in helping drug users clean up their lives and stay out of prison. But they’re not intended for dealers. And anyone caught with 30 pounds of pot is a dealer, plain and simple.
The proposed punishment doesn’t fit the crime in this case, although ultimately the sentence Cain receives in November will be up to a judge.
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It sends the wrong message not only to drug dealers and users, but to Storey County law enforcement officers. What incentive do they have to pursue drug dealers if they know there’s a good chance they won’t be punished?