Attorney General Wants Heroin Possession Charges To Be Felonies
Attorney General Janet Mills wants to stiffen the penalties for possession of heroin and other drugs by making them felony offenses.
Mills has drafted a bill that would once again make jail sentences possible for people in possession of methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin, more than 30 milligrams of oxycodone, and more than 7 grams of cocaine. In testimony at the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee Wednesday, Mills said she has concerns about a law passed last year that makes heroin possession a misdemeanor, calling it a 'catch and release' pattern. She said prosecutors need the threat of prison to get drug addicts to turn around.
Treatment advocates and defense attorneys disagree with Mills proposal. They say harsher penalties for drug crimes don't work. Instead, opponents say, treatment programs and adequate rehab facilities are more important. The focus for prosecutors, in their opinion, should be locking up drug dealers and traffickers.