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.

    109 responses to “Study: Arrests For Marijuana Offenses Increasing In Many States”

    1. mike says:

      Arresting people for marijuana is a big business. Hopefully, we can find something more productive for all those involved to do.

    2. Washington D.C. with 729 arrests per 100,000. Maybe they could retroactively expunge the last few years of marijuana arrests from the arrestees’ records. I hope that wouldn’t hurt the feelings of the cops who made those arrests — the cops afflicted with the authoritarian mindset.

    3. Linda says:

      I pray that everyone gets together and gets it legal so that our economy will have a recovery and open up prison space for real criminals.The icing on the cake would be if its in our life time!!!!!

    4. april says:

      Please have these people in law enforcement get educated. They are only thuds with a badge an they go home an do the samd thing we do but we get to go to JAIL…….

    5. Todd M. says:

      I believe that marijuana is God given to ever adult. Tobacco and Booze have killed enough kids and innocent people. This Country needs to come to their sences about this issue. Has It ever occured to anybody that that maybe there would be less death and desease if they stop this B.S. with Canabis!!! I have had AIDS for 28 years and used Canabis for 41 years. Let’s all pray that responsible use of this wonderful plant will the norm sooner than later. It will be a good thing when it come to be.

    6. Elaine says:

      Perhaps the bullies in uniform see the end of their gravytrain coming and so want to get as much as the can before it happens. Nothing motivates the blue meanies like $$$

    7. Allan says:

      Its clear that these are the states to stay away from! No tourist money no job creation just stay away from the bums.

    8. sweet says:

      law enforcement looses all respect from me for busting small amounts of weed. They are ass holes. better yet whole ass’s

    9. Martin says:

      I am 58 I hope live long enough to see this to the end. We elect these people to do our bidding but a majority think they can do what they want. Keep pushing and sending emails to stop these ridiculous laws and wake up.

    10. Miles says:

      There is good reason why so many people hate cops!