Depending on who you ask, the so-called war on drugs has been either ineffective or a complete disaster. Indeed, attitudes about drugs seem to be changing in the country with medical marijuana becoming the norm and recreational pot find support in several states. However, drug possession charges can be complicated in that they can be governed and prosecuted at both the state and the federal level. Laws and the ways they're enforced can vary from one state to another also, which makes defending yourself against charges even more confusing.
To boil it down to its most basic part, a drug possession charge must have two elements: the person had to know that the substance was controlled and had to knowingly possess it. The law generally divides possession into two types: possession for personal use and possession with the intent to distribute. It's an important distinction because the penalties can be at opposite ends of the spectrum. Simple possession could mean a fine whereas possession with intent could land you in prison for a long time.
Most states also differentiate between drugs in terms of severity. For instance, marijuana is generally treated as a minor offense compared to heroin or crack cocaine. Understanding all these nuances and knowing how to organize them is the key to mounting a defense.
If you're facing charges of drug possession, it might be wise to speak with a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer may be able to help you build a defense that will get the charges reduced or dropped altogether.