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872,721 marijuana arrests in 2007, up 5.2% from 2006

  • by admin September 15, 2008

    By Russ Belville, NORML Stash

    Record Number Of Americans Arrested For Marijuana

    The FBI has released its annual report on Crime in the United States 2007. Once again, the number of people in the United States arrested for marijuana has gone up. 872,721 Americans were arrested for marijuana in 2007, and of those arrests, 89% or 775,138 were arrests for simple possession – not buying, selling, trafficking, or manufacture (growing).

    US Arrests Chart
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    This represents an increase in marijuana arrests of 5.2% from the previous year and the fifth straight year marijuana arrests have increased from the previous year. Now a marijuana smoker is arrested at the rate of 1 every 37 seconds and almost 100 marijuana arrests per hour.

    Marijuana possession is increasingly the bulk of the “War on Drugs”

    More arrests for marijuana are for simple possession than for any other drug. While only 11% of marijuana arrests involve buying, selling, trafficking, or manufacture, that rate for heroin and cocaine is 27% and that rate for synthetic drugs is 31%.

    While arrests for marijuana sales/manufacturing increased by 7.6% over 2006, heroin and cocaine sale/manufacturing arrests dropped by 3.8% and synthetic drugs sales/manufacturing arrests dropped 2.6%.

    While arrests for marijuana possession rose by 4.9%, heroin and cocaine possession arrests fell by 8.1% and synthetic drugs possession arrests fell by 5.4%.

    Overall, while arrests for marijuana increased by 5.2%, arrests for all other drugs combined dropped from 1,060,183 to 968,461, a decline of 8.7%. Last year, marijuana arrests made up 43.9% of all drug arrests. This year, marijuana accounts for 47.4% of all drug arrests. Almost half of the war on drugs is waged on marijuana.

    The West is the Best

    The FBI breaks their data down into four regions: Northeast, Midwest, South, And West. Arrests for marijuana make up more than half of all drug arrests in two out of four regions and almost half in a third. The Midwest leads the charge with 60.8% of its drug arrests for marijuana, followed by the South with 52.5% of its arrests and the Northeast with 49.9% of its arrests. In the West, marijuana arrests only make up a little more than one-third of the drug arrest total at 34.3%.

    This is the first time most of the country is dedicating most of its drug arrests toward marijuana. In the previous year, only the Midwest, at 57%, surpassed 50%, with the South coming in at 49.8%, the Northeast at 47.9%, and the West at 30%.

    Accounting for population of these regions, marijuana users in the South are most at risk, where there are 318 marijuana possession arrests for every 100,000 Southerners. Midwesterners face a 292-to-100,000 ratio, in the Northeast it is 225-to-100,000, and only 201 per 100,000 Westerners are arrested for marijuana possession.

    Over past five years, more arrests for marijuana than all violent crime combined

    Perhaps most disturbing is comparing marijuana arrests to violent crime. This year, while 775,138 Americans were arrested for mere marijuana possession, only 597,447 people were arrested for all violent crimes combined, which includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

    While the percentage of marijuana possession arrests rose by 5.2%, arrests for violent crime dropped by 2.3% from the previous year. Now, to be fair, the reported incidents of violent crime did show a slight decrease of 0.7%, from 1,417,745 in 2006 to 1,408,337 in 2007, but that’s only a decrease of 9,408 offenses, compared to a decrease of 14,076 arrests for those offenses.

    Over the past five years, there have been more arrests every year for marijuana possession than for all violent crime combined. Over those five years, murders have increased 2.3% and robberies have increased 7.5%. Overall, there were 24,661 more violent crimes in 2007 than in 2003, yet there were only 421 more arrests for violent crime in 2007 compared to 2003. This year there were only 424 arrests for every 1000 violent crimes, which is 7-to-10 fewer arrests per 1000 than each of the previous four years.

    Ten Year Trend

    Over the past ten years, arrests for just about every crime have declined. Arrests for all violent crimes have dropped by 8.9% and property crime arrests declined 12.5%. Many other miscellaneous crime arrests have seen double-digit percentage declines, like fraud (-30.8%), prostitution (-22%), and offenses against family and children (-16.9%). Meanwhile, in that ten years, the only crimes for which arrests have gone up are robbery (+5.9%), drug law violations (+17.6%), and embezzlement (+26.5%).

    38 Responses to “872,721 marijuana arrests in 2007, up 5.2% from 2006”

    1. Ray says:

      Good thing Waters had his press conference announcing the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health BEFORE this was released.

      http://blog.mpp.org/?p=127

      According to him only unicorns get arrested for possession, he’ll buy you a steak dinner if you can find someone arrested for possession

    2. Paul Hood says:

      It sure is convenient that table 29 at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_29.html groups all “Drug Abuse Violations” as one number. One more way to hide the truth regarding marijuana possession arrest figures. Marijuana possession arrests = “The Gravy Train of Law Enforcement Funding!”

      I was watching “Busted” on MTV a couple nights ago. There was a young man riding a bicycle late at night down a residential street in small town USA. The police woman (fat and full of “authority”) tells the camera she will stop the cyclist and see if she can “find some drugs on him”. Of course she first tells him of all the night time bicycle violations he is committing in a “friendly” manner. At the end of the meaningless chastisement she asks if she can search this totally coherent person. He says OK. She asks if he has anything on him she should no about, like drugs, needles or knives. He says “no”. She proceeds to find an empty pipe in his coat pocket that he forgot about. Now she starts calling him a liar even though he told her he simply forgot about the pipe and had not used the coat in some time. She did not arrest him but instead sets him up for a court date to address an infraction notice she issues. She explains he MUST show up or a warrant for his arrest will be issued for him. Also, at court he will most likely be sentenced to some kind of drug violation “punishment”. WHAT A WASTE OF TAXPAYERS MONEY! This kind of thing is happening almost every minute of the day… “The Gravy Train of Law Enforcement Funding!”

      I was stopped in Bellevue, WA back in “95” for a glitchy turn signal (which I was aware of) on my 89 Cadillac. A scenario of the same kind mentioned above played out but with more drama. Such as calling a drug sniffing K-9 unit and four more regular police units to control this situation involving a cooperative, suit wearing, 30 year old salesman. Instead of being sent through the court system I was arrested, taken downtown, detained for hours (missing a very important business meeting), and booked for possession of drug paraphernalia then released. The Taxpayers got reamed for many hours of multiple police unit’s and jail personnel’s time that day ” The Gravy Train of Law Enforcement Funding”. Bellevue’s residents felt much safer after that display of “law enforcement”… NOT! What a waste!

    3. The Oracle says:

      I’d like to hear and see famous person after powerful person over and over again in news spots that have captured candid live microphone remarks about how the fact that marijuana is still illegal is just plain bullshit. If they do not realize or care the mikes are on then I would love for the public to get the point. To catch some of the top narcs like Walters, Biden, McCain, Califano and whoever else knocking the very laws they are paid to support would immediately deflate all their lie–for them and those who follow them.

      Bye bye marijuana prohibition!

    4. Asemili says:

      I personally had a friend who was arrested and jailed for having 1 ROACH in his car. Not even a joint, a roach! First time offense, no prior record, lost his job, and every new employer cites his “drug record” before not hiring him. Sure he didn’t spend much time in jail, but I went there to pick him up and he was shaken BAD by the place. Wasn’t himself for a couple days at all. Plus the fact that he also lost his job, can’t get another one close to the pay grade he was at, and got saddled with fines, jail, and a record, it’s really sad.

      What’s even more sad is all the people this happens to all the time.

      John Walters continues to ignore the facts, and instead would prefer to make up his own fantasy world and describe it in detail to the public in an attempt to pass it off as reality.

    5. Nick says:

      That is more people than the population of Delaware in 2007. Arresting marijuana smokers is an epidemic. It is approaching the number of people with AIDS, but it gets hardly any attention in the media.

    6. I have blogged about the “war on people” by the war on drugs and it total futility in punishing people for self-medicating with marijuana, and that this war has led to increased violence and if it were legal it would be regulated with less violence at http://www.oklahomacriminaldefense.blogspot.com It is only a matter of time until the prohibition movement on marijuana is over-turned. One city at a time is now legalizing marijuana for personal use, whether it is Denver, Colorado, or Hailey, Idaho, or the multiple cities in Michigan (which legalize marijuana for medical reasons).
      Sincerely,
      Glen R. Graham, Tulsa Criminal Attorney, Tulsa, OK
      http://www.glenrgraham.com

    7. David says:

      What Mr. Walters doesn’t realize is that even if you’re not imprisoned, you face some serious consequences if you are caught with even minor amounts of marijuana. Simple possesion of under an ounce may not be enough to warrant serious jail time, but will result in even worse consequences, such as the suspension of student loans, grants, federal housing, as well as job loss or having your children taken away. The logical falacy in Mr. Walters arguement – that small time drug users are not punished – is that the consequences of having a marijuana possesion charge on your record stays with you for life, and can be worse that prison time because of job loss and future consequences. Legalization is the only way to ensure that we are protected from discrimination against marijuana users.

    8. Jan MacKay says:

      I am running for state senate in Raleigh NC. I support decriminalization of marijuana.

    9. Brinna says:

      I did the numbers on those arrest figures, and this is the skinny: If 90% of those cannabis-related arrests are for possession only, that number (785,000) is an astounding 5% of ALL arrests made in the United States for anything and everything; and this means that 5 out of every 100 police officers do nothing all day long but arrest people for cannabis possession.

      What a waste!

    10. Florida is a fascist state says:

      Who cares if it’s for selling or growing?

    11. It is about money and power over the people. Keep the prisons overpopulated, so they can build more prisons. The NEW WORLD ORDER has arrived and it is not going anywhere. The government should legalize marijuana and tax it and billions in revenue would be made, instead they want to throw our asses in jail and fine us. All they want to do is give us a criminal record and then your under their microscope like a bullseye on your back. PROHIBITION does more harm and destroys individuals and families lives. While doing this, now the government has patents on marijuana, but say marijuana has no medicinal value. Then you have the DEA (dead end atrocities) out there destroying marijuana plants out there like they are really doing something, but all their doing is wasting our tax dollars and keeping their jobs and who questions them. It makes me ashamed to be an AMERICAN. I am still trying to figure out on how they put a dollar value on marijuana plants that they destroy or confiscate especially when its ditch weed and over ninety percent is ditch weed of no value and just gives you a head ache when you smoke it, it is like smoking hemp plants with practically no THC levels. IT is just the like the prohibition on alcohol, black market stuff killed people from poisoning and crime shot up. And BIG BROTHER still hs not learned their lesson from the past and history repeats it all over again, but this time with marijuana. FREE THE WEED!!!!!!!!!

    12. B says:

      An outrage, a total outrage. A government at war with its own people…

    13. Dan O says:

      It only takes about 10% of a countries population to mobilize for a revolution to be successful. One of the control methonds they are using is to throw the young (which are typically the bulk of the mobilization force) into jail. This accomplishes 2 thgns. It removes them from the pool of people but also takes away their voting rights. So basically this will eventually result in people having no choice but to revolt if they can ever get enough people because they will not have the right to vote a change into place.

    14. jay says:

      I am in total agreement. I am also tired tired tired of reading these blogs. the obvious conclusion about this situation is that there is an unbelievable amount of people self medicating in this country. How about a grass roots movement to change legislation. it is time for us regular folk to take back our country from the special interest (beer, Pharmaceuticals, Tobacco, etc.)

    15. [...] good folks at NORML (National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws) put down the pipe long enough to do some pretty amazing calculations. The total number represents a [...]

    16. Jim says:

      There are many good comments here. I like Paul Hood’s comment and personally think that’s WHY the laws haven’t changed.

      Too many people are getting taxpayer money or special interest money fighting mj. I think we’d be amazed if we could follow the dollars from legislation, propaganda ( ONDCP ), law enforcement, arrest, trial, and post trial punishment or rehab, probation monitoring etc.

      I’m sure there are some people who really believe the “new pot” bull that’s meant to get old-timers who smoked pot and know better to change their minds on decrim/legalization, and some other folks who believe the propaganda the ONDCP puts out in the news, but I’m fairly certain it’s the money guiding our outdated policies more than anything else. We need that money now more than ever for social security, education, roads, health insurance and many other things that help rather than harm people.

      Unfortunately prohibition has created a frankenstein monster, and he’s not gonna be taken apart or go down easily.

    17. Florida is a fascist state says:

      Dan O You should Google “concentration camps usa” they’ve been building them like Kentucky Fried Chickens the last few years. You’d need more than 10% for a revolution, their already set up to house that many, hell the big one in Alaska can house 4x Alaska’s population.
      Can you say Reeducation Camp?

    18. Jim says:

      I want to add that what happened on Palin’s ABC interview and afterwards reminded me of this issue.

      I truly had an open mind and wanted to hear what she had to say. She lied/mislead about saying “no thanks” to Congress on the bridge to nowhere. AND she then kept the money, having an average earmark dollar/citizen ratio higher than any other State. She’s all about change and ethics, but read the NYT article about how her style mimics Bushes.

      My point? She has stayed the course since then telling the same misleading stuff, and Americans keep buying it!! It’s like many of us didn’t even hear her. That’s a lot like pot reform. The powers that be distort the facts, get caught at it, and they just keep saying the same stuff to people who keep believing it!

      It’s weird.

    19. Tom Bemky says:

      Excuse me. I’m sorry for somewhat deflating a point made here, but Walters and his cohorts, for lack of a better word to describe these d-bags(<< i found a better word), know exactly whats going on and why it’s going on. While some or most of the people who work under them may have been led to believe a lie and they should not be held as responsible; many of them do know how and why prohibition was started and why they are telling lies. Including and especially Walters.

    20. All the voters in this country who voted for change in their states to change marijuana laws for the better, look what happened, their votes were not worth TWO DEAD FLIES. We pay taxes till we die to support the federal government and their POLICE STATE MENTALLITY and all it does is put a rope around our necks and hang us. All they want to do is criminalize the population of the PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES and and throw us in jail or fine us try or to rehabilitate the common person. THE ORWELLIAN AND BIG BROTHER STATE is here and it is not going away till our votes stsrt to mean TWO LIVE FLIES.

    21. leaving florida soon says:

      Jan MacKay you Rock!

    22. william (not to be used) says:

      iT’S TRULY SAD THAT WE LIVE IN A COUNTRY THAT ENPRISONS MORE PEOPLE THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! aND I CAN’T EVEN MAKE A PLAUSIBLE EXCUSE FOR HER[USA] DISENFRANCHISE THE PART OF THE POPULATION THAT ARE LIKELY THE BIGGEST THREAT TO RE-ELECTION. mANY OF US OLDER CITIZENS PUT OUR LIVES ON THE LINE DURING THE LAST 3 WARS VIET-NAM; AFGHANISTAN; IRAQ. AND WE DID SO WITH PRIDE ASD THE “USA” BUT NOW WHEN WE NEED THE USA TO DO TYHE RIGHT THING BY US, BUSH AND CHENY AND WALTERS LIE AND DECIEVE THE AMERICAN VOTERS FOR SELF GASIN. i AM ASHAMED AND ANGRY. iF i HAD 2 GOOD LEGS ANA WIFE THAT WOULD STICK BY ME IF I PUSUED A CRUSADE FOR CHANGE IN SCHEDULE FOR POT, i THINK I WOULD BE PREPARED TO PUT MY LIFE UP TO PROTECT THE SICK AND NEEDY MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS AND THEN DECRIMINALIZE IT. BUT MY WIFE THREATENS TO LEAVE ME IF I STANDUP LOL WISH I COULD BUT IF I CAN GET A LITTLE STRONGER AND MORE FINANCIALY STABLE, i THINK i CAN SPEND A LOT OF TIME ON LEGALIZATION EFFORTS.dON’T THINK TO BAD OF HER SHE IS PHYSICALLY ALLERGIC TO POT AND SHE IS AFRAID OF LOSING HER JOB. BYE AND 420 IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. BYE AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

    23. Jack Ass says:

      There is only one way to end all this bull crap just think of it.

    24. David Glover says:

      Who was elected in the early ’90s when the increase in cannabis arrests started to climb? Oh yeah! BILL F’ING CLINTON, that’s who!! GET REAL!! No party is going to stop this corrupt drug war.

    25. Glenn says:

      It’s a crying shame that all that time and money was spent on something so natural, leave it to our gov. to mess shit up. Keep the fight strong!

    26. Melchizedek says:

      This plant is natural, just like Opium. Look at the War is about Money, Opium and Oil, what more worth than that to are Gov. Everyone will so be on Every Opiate that Are Gov give You all. Cann or Cannabis or Hemp or Spikenard or Lisan Asfur or hashish or Dugh-ivahdat or bhang so many names for the same PLANT.
      History is what it is, we cant change that what we cant control, we can only control what we see. We all see the Truth, but what do we do with it? We are just One, but we need many, come out of the Green house Peolple. Jack Herer did many years ago, learn who he is and learn the truth, Read about Elvy one of the Fed Patients. So thanks for NORML and all its helpers.
      MEl

    27. bob searcy says:

      for the last couple of years my vehement message to my legislators has been stop destroying pot then losing billions in untaxed dollars to imported weed. i thought at least they would understand money, i was wrong. things are just the way the government want them. can you say prison industrial complex. never have i saw the citizens so pissed as right now.

    28. jacksonsalt says:

      I wont go on a crazy rant, ill stick to the facts and let you make up your mind( to all of you smokers or nonsmokers) I am in the military. Active Army, Combat Engineer. I pissed hot for THC right before we deployed to Iraq when I went home for R&R. A month into my tour I got the news, hey man you pissed hot your gotta go see the Col. and C.I.D. The result was losing all of my rank, a whole month of pay, 45 hours of extra duty, and 45 days of restriction. And everything else that comes along with this situation if you could imagine.
      Next situation, I got home on R%R after a 15month tour to see my family. My little brother and I are on our way back from visiting family, a friends wedding, and an old love of mine, her name is Jen. We traveled to GA., VA., and Washington DC. ( I finally saw ABE!!) Anywho, were coming back on the state line of ALA. and FLA. and we were pulled over, long story short I was asleep and my little brother was driving, and i woke up to sleeping the night in jail, my car being towed, paying a (pretrial diversion) fee of 1000$(meaning 2 thousand for the both of us) , a towing fee, and my mother driving 5 hours to pick us up out of jail. o yea and we both have to take a drug awareness type class. That’s my story, tried to make it as non bias as I could, and kept my frustration out of it, so you could expand on whatever ideas you have without my influence.
      -Jackson

    29. jacksonsalt says:

      I didnt know about Halliburton until after I joined..

    30. scottportraits says:

      I wonder how many arrests for marijuana were made in Florida in 2008 ? It is the one state with worse penalties then any other, including Federal. How many were for simple possession ?? And finally, how much $$ money $$ did Florida spend from arrest to incareceration for these 2008 pot busts ?? How much is it costing the poor, strapped State of Florida ??

      Where can I get the data ?? Any help would be appreciated ….

    31. [...] Lib­er­tar­i­ans believe in the full legal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana and other drugs.  Repub­li­cans have been push­ing the failed ‘War on Drugs’ since Rea­gan.  This irra­tional pro­hi­bi­tion on a plant and the sur­round­ing hys­te­ria behind it has been behind the largest increase in the incar­cer­a­tion rate in the world.  The United States is now the world’s lead­ing jailer, with 1 in 32 Amer­i­cans either behind bars or on pro­ba­tion, mostly due to mar­i­juana arrests (approach­ing 1 mil­lion per year). [...]

    32. [...] Republican if you think that nearly 1 million annual arrests for marijuana are a good [...]

    33. [...] 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana crimes every year, most for possession of small amounts and the prisons are full of these non violent people that [...]

    34. [...] 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana crimes every year, most for possession of small amounts and the prisons are full of these non violent people that [...]

    35. [...] Over 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana crimes every year, most for possession of small amounts and the prisons are full of these non violent people that hurt no one. [...]

    36. [...] 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana crimes every year, most for possession of small amounts and the prisons are full of these non violent people that [...]

    37. [...] 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana crimes every year, most for possession of small amounts and the prisons are full of these non violent people that [...]

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