Incarceration Nation — Marijuana Arrests For Year 2009 Near Record High

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 15, 2010

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from NORML’s weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for NORML’s free e-zine here.]

    Police prosecuted 858,408 persons for marijuana violations in 2009, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The arrest total is the second highest ever reported by the FBI, and marks a 1.3 percent increase in the number of arrests reported in 2008 (847,864).

    According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (approximately 52 percent) of all drug arrests reported in the United States. A decade ago, marijuana arrests comprised just 44 percent of all drug arrests.

    Approximately forty-six percent of all drug prosecutions nationwide are for marijuana possession.

    “The numbers tell the story; the enforcement of criminal marijuana laws and the prosecution of marijuana offenders, in particular minor marijuana possession defendants, is driving the present drug war,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Those who claim otherwise would be better off advocating for a long-overdue reprioritization law enforcement resources and concerns.

    “It makes no sense to continue to prosecute Americans for their use of a substance that poses far fewer health risks than alcohol or tobacco. A better and more sensible solution would be to legalize and regulate cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol, as is presently being proposed in California by Proposition 19.”

    Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 88 percent (758,593 Americans) were charged with possession only. The remaining 99,815 individuals were charged with “sale/manufacture,” a category that includes virtually all cultivation offenses.

    Regionally, the percentage of marijuana arrests was highest in the Midwest (62 percent of all drug arrests) and southern regions (56 percent of all drug arrests) of the United States, and lowest in the west, where pot prosecutions comprised only 40 percent of total drug arrests.

    In 2007, the FBI reported 872,721 marijuana prosecutions in the United States, the highest total on record.

    87 Responses to “Incarceration Nation — Marijuana Arrests For Year 2009 Near Record High”

    1. […] Freedoms Violated Nearly half of drug possession arrests in the United States last year were for marijuana possession charges. For decades statistics show a […]

    2. […] voters think pot should be legal if not decriminalized. And with good reason: More than half (52 percent) of drug arrests are for marijuana. This is a drug proven to be less harmful with fewer health […]

    3. […] since 2009, over 3 million people have been arrested in the US for marijuana—a drug the President himself has admitted to consuming for years of his […]

    4. […] millions more have had their lives ruined by it. A major reason for this is the war on Marijuana. Over half of all drug arrests are due to Marijuana. The creation of a massive underground black market encourages both consumers & dealers, who […]

    5. […] that cannabis prohibition is not good for the country. After all, it isn’t very effective, it adds to our massive prison population, it costs us a ton of money both in spending and potential revenue, and is being used […]

    6. Cops Lie says:

      Holy Christ!!! 10 plant in NJ is 10 year mandatory sentence. The governor in PA said anything they pass in senate i will veto. But he is hated and the new election is next year in 2014 the poles say he will lose. i just have find who support legalization for the next governor. Im thinking 3 years it will legal in PA.

    7. stayoutofit.com says:

      does that mean more then half the voting population is made up of pot heads happy?

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