Anti-Drug Abuse Act

Definition - What does Anti-Drug Abuse Act mean?

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act was enacted by US President Ronald Reagan. It is said to be part of what started what later became known as the 'War on Drugs'.

The United States passed the original Anti-Drug Abuse Act in 1986, with amendments made in 1988. It worked in multiple parts to control marijuana use in the United States. For one, supply was reduced and regulated by legislation. Law enforcement began stepping in and issuing sentences and incarceration in regards to cannabis. The Act also worked to reduce demand.

Hydrolife explains Anti-Drug Abuse Act

One component of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act was passing out money for treatment and prevention. However, it also handed down/reintroduced mandatory prison sentences for large scale marijuana distributors. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act also imposed new sanctions on money laundering in a further effort to reduce supply.

The Anti-Drug Abuse Amendment Act of 1988 passed further legislation that increased the sanctions for crimes against drug trafficking offenses and established new Federal crimes. The government raised federal penalties for marijuana cultivation, possession, and trafficking. Prosecution determined sentences by the amount of marijuana involved and treated 'attempts' and 'conspiracies' as the same as completed acts. They regarded 100 cannabis plants the same as 100 grams of heroin.

This political act in the United States set a precedent of mandatory seizure, forfeiture, and sentencing. First offenders with 100 marijuana plants or yields of 100 kilos or higher got a sentence of five years without parole.

Possession of 1,000 plants or 1,000 kilos could result in 10 years without parole, as per the precedent set by the Anti Drug Abuse Act. Several states have decriminalized marijuana, but the act is still in effect.

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