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Study: Arrests For Marijuana Offenses Increasing In Many States

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 30, 2014

    Study: Arrests For Marijuana Offenses Increasing In Many StatesLaw enforcement in many states are making a greater number of marijuana arrests than ever before despite polling data showing that the majority of Americans believe that the adult use of the plant ought to be legal.

    According to a just published report, “Marijuana in the States 2012: Analysis and Detailed Data on Marijuana Use and Arrests,” which appears on the newly launched RegulatingCannabis.com website, police made an estimated 750,000 arrests for marijuana violations in 2012 – a 110 percent increase in annual arrests since 1991. Yet, despite this doubling in annual marijuana arrests over the past two decades, there has not been any significant reduction in marijuana consumption in the United States the report found.

    In 2012, marijuana arrests accounted for almost half (48.3 percent) of all drug arrests nationwide. Marijuana arrests accounted for two-thirds of more of all drug arrests in five states: Nebraska (74.1 percent), New Hampshire (72 percent), Montana (70.3 percent), Wyoming (68.7 percent) and Wisconsin (67.1 percent).

    From 2008 to 2012, seventeen state-level jurisdictions experienced an average annual increase in marijuana arrests, the report found. South Carolina (11.6 percent) and the District of Columbia (7.7 percent) experienced the highest overall percentage increase in arrests during this time period. By contrast, annual marijuana arrests fell nationwide by an average of 3.3 percent from 2008 to 2012.

    Overall, the study reported that the five state-level jurisdictions possessing the highest arrest rates for marijuana offenses are the District to Columbia (729 arrests per 100,000 citizens), New York (577), Louisiana (451), Illinois (447) and Nebraska (421). District of Columbia lawmakers decriminalized the adult possession of marijuana earlier this month.

    The two states possessing the lowest marijuana arrest rates are California and Massachusetts, the report found. Both states decriminalized marijuana possession offenses in recent years.

    Stated the report’s author, Shenondoah University professor Jon Gettman, “After a generation of marijuana arrests, nearly 19 million and counting since 1981, the results are that marijuana remains widely used, not perceived as risky by a majority of the population, and widely available. The tremendous variance in use and arrests at the state level demonstrate why marijuana prohibition has failed and is not a viable national policy.”

    Full text of the report is available on the NORML website here or from: RegulatingCannabis.com.

    108 Responses to “Study: Arrests For Marijuana Offenses Increasing In Many States”

    1. Grizzy says:

      I think people dont like Pres. Obama because he is black. At least this is the case here in the ultra-progressive state of South Carolina. Thats what it boils down to. I have noticed the spotter planes are flying ALOT more this year than they ever have and yesterday there were TWO making laps above my house and the surrounding areas! Its very intimidating! The increased effort to find it and bust people here is obvious. The reform efforts nationwide have caused sc to regress and crack down harder than ever and it is very easy to see. The vote issue cant be stressed enough. Im onboard with ILION

    2. shadow420 says:

      I live in Kentucky hemp is now legal for commercia.use. Though no one is attempting to dare start growing as the red tape is far to intimidating. However on a different note Marijuana has become a difficult item to find since there are many states have legalized it for medical use. The days of high yield growers and 20 dollar 1/8 are now gone. Seems everyone who sells has started importing medical marijuana. Costs have become equal to the old low yield hydro growers at 20 dollars a grm. Or 50 a 1/2 quarter and 100 for a quarter. Much to expensive for those on fixed budgets who are relying on it for their own medical needs. Kentucky is supposed to vote this month (August) on the legalization issue. How ever will it be subsidies by the state for those you are disabled living month to month on the miniscule amounts they receive from social security. That is the biggest question I have heard from others whom are disabled and relying on marijuana rather than petroleum based pharmaceuticals,which do more harm than good.

    3. Don says:

      I herd that marajuana was made against the law to control the black race,look how many blacks are being arrested for pot.It sure seems that way

    4. burden says:

      This issue is one of the worst scams on the people in American history. Money and social control was at the root of making cannibis illegal, and at the root of keeping it illegal. Enough is enough. Legalize it now, or forever be shamed.

    5. Julian says:

      @Shadow 420;
      What has been happening in Kentucky is very encouraging. Mitch McConnel deserves credit for backing Ag. Commissioner Comer to get hemp legislation passed; But he turned his back on medicinal marijuana and now he’s being challenged by a viable Democratic candidate.
      Voting is VITAL.
      What’s happening in Kentucky is a reflection of what’s to come in November if lawmakers don’t stop creating swiss-cheese prohibition and get with the program;
      Tax & Regulate; Revenue to Educate.

      As far as the recent wave of horrific racial violence we’re seeing perpetrated by law enforcement as a result of the heated “get-it-while-you-can” frenzy from ending prohibition, watch out;
      Corrupt law enforcement, including the DEA are deliberately targeting communities state by state where they can maximize profits from asset forfeitures before Prohibition comes to an end.

      While we transition into the end of prohibition, it is imperative that communities victimized by police brutality respond with non violent civil disobedience. March… but do so peacefully. Protest, but don’t loot or throw bottles and stones. And call the media, call the ACLU, call NORML and organize a protest correctly! There are permits to obtain where we can get law enforcement on our side to guide our marches and protests.
      As one organizer said on her megaphone at the end of our marijuana march in Austin this year, “Thank you Austin Police Department for your cooperation with this march… Please look into Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and find out how you can join our cause”…

    6. SRolandH says:

      The unscrupulous amongst law enforcers are busy at work (trying to further their unpopular and immoral cause) incarcerating many good citizens. “Grizzy” points this out in earlier comments. The only moral path is to stand strong and stand together, regardless of the flailing efforts of law enforcement in their final days of enforcement of an archaic law!

    7. Diana says:

      This government should be ashamed! People are dying of cancer and need marijuana, our jails are full and we are paying taxes to house people we don’t want in prison or jails. Let us have this plant for goodness sake. It’s sad when a family has to uproot and move to Colorado to save their child because they can’t get marijuana legally in the state they live in.We all need to band together for this cause. The federal government and states need to know that “WE ARE THE PEOPLE”

    8. Vince says:

      Welcome to America all about the money people most people who smoke weed are hard working family people so with that being said they pay fines pay for court ordered drug classes and probation not to mention the monthly drug screening and mean time the meth heads run a mock because those people don’t have money to feed the screwed up court system so while you are sitting in court at probation and so on they are robbing you blind cause the cops aren’t watching them there watching you because you have the money to keep the backwards ass system rolling

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