Lawmakers are considering eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders. Attorney General Eric Holder is reportedly making the issue a priority in his second term agenda. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is one of a few Republicans who support the plan.

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Today on Happening Now, Judge Andrew Napolitano said there are heartbreaking cases of people given mandatory five to 10 years in jail for possessing marijuana for their own use.

“There are thousands of Americans as we speak in federal prisons serving 20-year sentences. They didn’t harm anybody. They just harmed themselves. They are at present worse people than before they went in or totally kicked their drug habit,” he said.

The judge said that the cost is high for incarcerating people who are arguably not harming others, but the threat of a mandatory sentence is not always a deterrent for drug users.  He noted that Republican Governor Chris Christie (NJ) has instituted counseling and medical assistance programs in New Jersey with the money that would have been used to house these people in jail.

As for critics who believe anyone who uses drugs should be in prison, Judge Napolitano said, “I think the trend is in favor of marijuana, in part, because of the libertarian argument [that] you own your own body.”

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