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

  • by NORML 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. 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!!!!!!!!!

    2. B says:

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

    3. 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.

    4. 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.)

    5. […] 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 […]

    6. 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.

    7. 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?

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

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