Marijuana Arrests Driving America’s So-Called ‘Drug War,’ Latest FBI Data Shows

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 19, 2011

    Police made 853,838 arrests in 2010 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The arrest total is among the highest ever reported by the agency and is nearly identical to the total number of cannabis-related arrests reported in 2009.

    According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (52 percent) of all drug arrests in the United States. An estimated 46 percent of all drug arrests are for offenses related to marijuana possession.

    “Today, as in past years, the so-called ‘drug war’ remains fueled by the arrests of minor marijuana possession offenders, a disproportionate percentage of whom are ethnic minorities,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a prepared statement. “It makes no sense to continue to waste law enforcements’ time and taxpayers’ dollars to arrest and prosecute Americans for their use of a substance that poses far fewer health risks than alcohol or tobacco.”

    Of those charged with marijuana law violations, 750,591 (88 percent) were arrested for marijuana offenses involving possession only. The remaining 103,247 individuals were charged with “sale/manufacture,” a category that includes virtually all cultivation offenses.

    Marijuana Arrests in the US

    By region, the percentage of marijuana arrests was highest in the Midwest (63.5 percent of all drug arrests) and southern regions (57 percent of all drug arrests) of the United States and lowest in the west, where pot prosecutions comprised only 39 percent of total drug arrests.

    By contrast, the percentage of arrests for heroin and cocaine was lowest in the Midwest (14 percent of all arrests) and highest in the northeast (29 percent of all arrests).

    Overall, law enforcement agents nationwide arrested 1,638,846 people last year for drug abuse violations, surpassing arrests for all other crimes.

    Since 2000, law enforcement have reported making an estimated 7.9 million arrests for marijuana violations.

    175 responses to “Marijuana Arrests Driving America’s So-Called ‘Drug War,’ Latest FBI Data Shows”

    1. Little Gypsy says:

      It’s wrong to arrest people for marijuana possession. It wastes taxpayers money. It jails people for no harm to the public. It is an unjust law that never should have been passed in the first place. I recommend jury nulification. When they ask you as a potential juror if you favor changes in the marijuana laws YOU HAVE TO LIE! Yes you favor changes but if you admit it you will NOT be put on the jury. ….Then when you get on the jury vote NOT GUILTY. Marijuana users will never get a fair trial by a jury of their PEERS! Wake up…Lie to get on the jury …vote not guilty ….Normally, I would never tell anyone to lie but the prohibition of marijuana is based on lies. The scheduling of marijuana as a #1 is a lie. The incarceration of peaceful marijuana users as a criminal is a lie. Deadlock the juries….I have….one trial at a time!

    2. Smoke n toke says:

      I wonder how far the rabbit hole really goes? the feds are trying to distract attention off themselves. Big pharm are the real crimnals.

    3. sparkalow says:

      Any idea how much revenue theses arrests generate?

    4. Road Runner Meep! Meep! says:

      To all 3,141 Genesist Colonies in the United States.

      Remember – These brethren are being felonized and cannot vote for legalization or against the laws prohibs make and enforce. What a pitiful group of human beings there are in Washington. Scum of the earth – a disgrace
      to the human race. To those representatives who have the courage to stand up against these mindless stone heads – we praise you and support you with everything we have or can get.

    5. Retired Navy says:

      Kind of reminds you of Germany, say in the early 1940’s, doesn’t it!

    6. Retired Navy says:

      Multiple these numbers by the next 20 years….. and you nearly eliminate 30 million voters. Think about!

    7. gbm0106 says:

      The news has been all about our country’s recession. Every piece I see, this one included, always leaves me with the same answer coming to mind. Stop wasting money criminalizing something that a majority of Americans oppose criminalizing, and rebuild the hemp industry. It’s where American ingenuity can blossom, and will create thousands of jobs.

    8. claygooding says:

      No wonder legalization is not in Kerli’s vocabulary,,he can’t afford for it to be.

    9. […] to arrest our way to victory Police made 853,838 arrests in 2010 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual […]

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