A recent poll of 551 people who are registered as voters in the state has brought up an interesting point. In the poll, almost 60 percent of people said they would rather drug users get treatment instead of being incarcerated. They also said they would like to see smaller drug possession amounts moved from the felony charge status they hold now down to a misdemeanor.
It is important to note that these questions were regarding drug amounts that were suitable for personal use. They were not regarding amounts that would be considered enough for distributing. The vast majority of respondents, 61 percent, said that drug use is a health issue that should be met with treatment options. Only 29 percent said that personal drug usage should be considered a criminal matter that should result in incarceration.
Even if you consider the margin of error in this poll of /-4.4 percent, the majority of respondents still believed that drug penalties for personal use were too harsh. As it stands, the penalties in Utah are very harsh for people facing drug crimes. For that reason alone, those facing those charges should ensure they have a suitable defense strategy as they face the charges placed against them.
Source: American Civil Liberties Union, “Poll results: Most Utahns favor dropping penalties for drug possession; want drug users to get treatment, not jail or prison” Feb. 19, 2015