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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. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Many drug companies thrives on the value of marijuana by keeping it illegal. That is where the addiction, abuse, and no medical value comes from. It’s them, the DEA and other drug enforcement agencies who are addictive and abusive, because of their dependence on the federal law to keep it illegal and on the schedule one list of the “Controlled Substance Act of 1970”.

      Anti- cannabis politicians can lie better by just changing the concept of their lies to make it more suitable to their own conscience. Ask them to elaborate on their statements and watch them get upset when they felt they are being forced to reveal their true intentions. That is why they avoid the issue of marijuana reform.

    2. bob says:

      When do we get to cuff there skumbag baby killers?

    3. Heather says:

      How can we let them know that arresting pot smokers is ridiculous? How can the government have such a choke hold on us? When will it end…

    4. Dave says:

      This is so depressing to hear. It’s been so long now that our own government has lied to and persecuted it’s own people for doing nothing wrong at all. PLEASE NORML… someone, lets put a stop to this horrific madness. Every year I end up with another good friend or family member on probation facing ridiculous charges that only make life harder than it already is. This has to stop. I’m losing hope here.

    5. TheOracle says:

      And isn’t it obvious that once you deduct what it costs to enforce cannabis prohibition from the incoming money from fines and asset forfeiture that it puts the government in the black?

      Wait for the moment.

      Wait, uh, no the government could be making more money if it legalized cannabis.

      But what about the children?

      Just switch to alcohol and be a drunk and you can drink around your kids and keep them.

    6. Cat Cassie says:

      Well I guess DEA head Leonhart is making good on her word. Obama is facing not being reelected in 2012. You would think he would try something a little different than the anti MJ stance. Maybe he thinks he doesn’t need our vote this around. Thats good cause he’s not getting it.

    7. Cat Cassie says:

      I ment to say “Maybe he thinks he doesn’t need our vote this TIME around” Sorry about that.

    8. MedicalPA says:

      Guess it’s going to have to get to 1,000,000 a year before the politicians start to wonder.

    9. anaman51 says:

      As usual, the only harmful effect of marijuana stems from the user’s treatment by law enforcement.

      It’s not illegal because it’s harmful to humans—it’s harmful to humans because it’s illegal!

      We are witnessing the Nazification of America.

    10. Me says:

      We need a state to legalize in 2012 and if you are in one of the states you need to help get it passed so the laws of this country changed. Aren’t you sick of how things are going in this so called democracy? You know what to do! The government manufactured fear must end!