Nation’s Capital: Massive Reduction In Marijuana Arrests

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director November 11, 2015

    The results are in from Washington, D.C. one year after 70% of the voters chose to end cannabis prohibition: A nearly 100% reduction in marijuana-related arrests!

    According to the Washington City Paper, the number of annual arrests for marijuana dropped from 895 in 2014 to 7 so far in 2015 (a 99.4% reduction in arrests; an even greater percentage drop in marijuana-related arrests occurred between 2013 and now, when there were 1,215 arrests).arrested

    This dramatic reduction in marijuana arrests is consistent with the prior experience in the other states where voters have cast off unpopular cannabis prohibition laws. Post prohibition, arrest rates for marijuana-related offenses in Colorado and Washington State dropped from nearly 12,ooo annually to <200.

    Washington, D.C.’s huge reduction in arrest rates is not a result of legalized marijuana (where such a policy allows for the legal cultivation and selling of marijuana, and that government regulates and taxes the production and sale of marijuana products). Instead, in the nation’s capital cannabis has been fully de-penalized where adults can cultivate a personal amount of marijuana and possess up to two ounces, but, there is no legal source to purchase marijuana and the government derives no taxes or fees (however, Washington, D.C. does have medical marijuana laws, where approximately 8,000 registered medical patients who’re qualified can legally purchase marijuana products at up to four retail locations).

    14 Responses to “Nation’s Capital: Massive Reduction In Marijuana Arrests”

    1. Julian says:

      Having graduated school high from a DC public school with every race and nearly every nation of people in attendance, I cant explain how good it feels that finally my black friends wont be arrested for consuming the SAME amount of marijuana as my white friends.
      I remember one of my first encounters with NORML back in 94. Then the ACLU report that showed the racially disproportionate incarcerations. I remember talking about it in class while black students looked at me with perplexed looks on their faces followed by relief that a white boy would even care about the difference in arrests of his fellow classmates of color. Ending these arrests will begin to finally heal generations of animosity that, truthfully, a white boy like me cant fully comprehend… Except when I was talking in spanish hanging out with my latino friends. Then suddenly I had unwittingly passed through a social barrier where students socializing after school in the courtyard get ushered by faculty or police like cattle, “move on, no loitering on campus.” That never happened when I was hanging out with my white friends. But it tought me a valuable lesson that compelled me to educate my fellow students about NORML, the ACLU and the bill of rights.
      Then a strange thing happened just before graduation in 1996; far to the west beyond the rocky mountains the state of California passed a medicinal marijuana law. I was smiling so much at the news that my dread-locked Algebra teacher, Dr. Smith, asked me why I was so happy. I told her the news, and she shrugged that it was so faaaar away, and I told her “my godmother once told me that ripples can turn into great big waves but someone has to pour the first drop and start them.”

      Well, that and I had just started smoking weed that year and it cured my depression, but I can smile for more than one reason! :-)

      Point is, NORML started the first drop in 1972. And just look how far we have come.

    2. TheOracle says:

      Any value in touting the $ number in savings to the DC criminal justice apparatus?

      How much is DC saving? Dangle that carrot out in front of prohibitionist cities.

      I’d love to see Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC and Boston legalize adult recreational in tandem with one another, just come right out and say they’re not going to do the paperwork at all the prosecute cannabis offenses, thus opening the door to Amsterdam-style coffeeshops.

    3. Galileo Galilei says:

      I hadn’t thought of the distinction between legalization and de-penalization.

      I wonder how Representative Andy Harris, MD is doing with his legal challenge to the new DC law.

    4. mexweed says:

      Time to look for, find and report verified improvements in DC over past year in work enjoyment, achievement increment, economic success among populations previously psycho-hamstrung by law enforcement bias policy.

      Dig out and post facts which prove (my guess) that arrest threat diminishment turns out to be the key to eliminating societal roadblocks to adventure and entrepreneurism (beyond the “medical” and “recreational” uses we hear of, it’s time for everyone to recognize and research higher-priority “inspirational”, “educational” and “occupational” uses).

    5. Anonymous says:

      There should be language in the cannabis bills that ensures that “MONOPOLIES IN THE CANNABIS BUSINESS” will NOT BE ALLOWED. I for see the governments all jumping on the cannabis bandwagon and then intending to nickel and dime everyone until death for a maximum of one ounce purchase at the time for all the money(greed) they can squeeze from anyone and everyone who uses cannabis, except of course all the government people get theirs free. The cannabis business should be a free market, otherwise any government backed monopolies should be deemed as unconstitutional. This greedy government is showing their greed people. I hope everyone knows that the people can BOYCOTT THE MONOPOLIES by refusing to purchase their cannabis at some outrageous over the moon price and then tax everyone to death on every gram that you can buy, then after you buy it, you can’t smoke it if you want to keep your job. LOL, that’s the BIG JOKE! Unless you are government employee or veteran. I can say one thing for certain that YOU GOVERNMENT SCOUNDRALS ARE SURLY ON A FAST MELTING SNOWBALL TO HELL. The reason this country is all going to HELL is because your government is so greedy on the cannabis issue, that all the real crime is going un-noticed and the important issues are being overlooked because the greedy governments attention has been focused on how to bilch the people of their money, or the government is on the take and its all a smoke and mirrors kind of thing, cover-ups of government corruption over the last 40 or 50 years involving the cannabis issue. NO MONOPOLIES ALLOWED IN THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY
      CANNABIS MONOPOLIES SHALL BE VIEWED AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Thanks for reading. Sorry people, but it just wouldn’t be right to the people that need cannabis for them to have to pay some government sponsored monopolies for their cannabis.

    6. Don E. says:

      I assume the crime rate went way up because of all those dangerous, unarrested marijuana users now free to ingest a non-toxic herb?

    7. Mark Mitcham says:

      That’s what it’s all about. Yeah, it’s great to have legalized weed; that’s healthy self-interest (literally, it’s good for your health!) But freeing those wrongfully imprisoned, and preventing the thousands of arrests that now will NOT happen… that’s truly a good deed done. Right on to all involved!

    8. Rod is on the Gas says:

      Galileo sparked a thought. legalization is not nearly as desirable as ‘de-penalization’.

      Government creates the penalties. Legalization creates unfair taxation, monopolies and abandons way too many needless criminals.

      Absolutely, we should cancel penalties so that legalization is no longer necessary. Screw the tax collectors and their myriad prohibitionists. Just get the law off our backs.

      Well done Washington DC!

    9. Dave Evans says:

      “I wonder how Representative Andy Harris, MD is doing with his legal challenge to the new DC law.”

      ‘Well, I am very upset. Soon many children will be addicted to heroin, simply because people are free to exercise their right of growing marijuana. Its just terrible, we have people walking around, even black people taking part in the community that don’t care about “The Children” and they aren’t being arrested! Its a Tragedy! We have Free People in Washington D.C…. Cry me a river of KKK tears! It just too much, a community of mostly black people that can legally have guns and marijuana at the same time! We are doomed, the sky had started falling! This just isn’t right and I’m not going to let this “Respecting the Constitution” stuff stand (or get in my cracker way). It is dangerous.’

    10. jim says:

      You reminded me of myself, thanks

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