2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report: Marijuana Arrests Down, Still Cost Over 457 Million Annually

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director November 10, 2014

    The FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report was released this morning and provides an updated look at the total number of marijuana arrests law enforcement made across the country in 2013.

    The good news is that numbers are down slightly from 2012’s arrest figures. In 2012, there were about 749,825 marijuana arrests (compared to 757,969 in 2011).

    The new report shows a modest decrease in arrests. In 2013, there was a total of 693,481 arrests made for marijuana charges, with the overwhelming majority of these being for simple possession. Law enforcement made about 609,423 arrests for possession alone, a decrease of 48,808 arrests compared to 2012. While we may be seeing slight decreases due to the growing number of states who have begun to reform their marijuana policies, the fact that over 600,000 individuals are still being arrested for a non-violent act shows how much work we have left to do in ending our disastrous prohibition of marijuana.

    Using the ACLU low-level estimate of cost per arrest ($750), the minimum enforcement cost for the 609,423 individuals put in handcuffs for just marijuana possession in 2013 would be in excess of $457,067,250.

    (NOTE: Numbers in this reporting were rounded to the nearest decimal point. You can read the full Uniform Crime Report here.)

    25 responses to “2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report: Marijuana Arrests Down, Still Cost Over 457 Million Annually”

    1. Miles says:

      While the average cost per arrest may be around $750, the real cost to us as a society are so much greater! If you factor in the fact that many of those arrested may have previously held decent jobs (but lost them because of the arrest) and helped take care of their families, the cost skyrockets. Further, if you consider the cost of legalized burglary that comes from asset forfeiture, that figure further skyrockets.

      It’s just disgusting that this happens in America – The Land of the Free.

    2. mexweed says:

      $457,000,000 for marijuana possession arrests; meanwhile 2014 Surgeon General estimated yearly US economic cost of $moking (mainly $Igarette)-related illness $289,000,000,000 which might be almost ENTIRELY eliminated by SUBSTITUTIONG cannabis for tobacco, SUBSTITUTING Vape for $moke, SUBSTITUTING 25-mg Flexdrawtube Einzelhiffer for H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide $ig, Joint, Blunt etc.

    3. Julian says:

      Checkout updates on judge Mueller’s “Schedule 1 hearings,” on cannabis. God bless judge Mueller; last Friday she allowed two-tour Iraq marine veteran Sgt. Ryan Begin’s testimony to stand as evidence in the hearing! Go to the Leaf.com and read his testimony! Opiate addictions were killing him. His doctors said “You can choose the pills or the weed.” He chose weed, won custody of his daughter back in 2012, and turned his life around, treating the chronic pain after his elbow was shot off in combat during his second tour.
      Thank you Sgt. Begin for your testimony;Your name gives hope for a new “Begin”ing.

    4. dk says:

      Let’s not forget to count the dead. The money spent and the mass incarcerations and the human suffering for lack of medicine, will be seen as our folly someday, but the countless dead on both sides are our shame.

    5. Julian says:

      Oh did you hear of the win
      Of ol Sgt. Begin
      They sent him to war
      But the war was within

      In one dark battle
      18 soldiers fell
      Then back in the saddle
      Began young Begin’s Hell…

      They regrouped him then
      Sent him to Iraq again
      Asufferin from PTSD
      What a sin…

      Medics filled him with morphine
      Th’day they shot his elbow off clean
      As they dragged him off cryin
      “Doc, what does this mean?”

      As he struggled with chills
      The VA filled him with pills
      Instead of bullets he’s dyin
      From visions that kills…

      Lord only knew what to say
      The day took his girl away
      For those pills they kept givin
      Took his baby away…

      Wounded out in the rain
      How could he control this pain?
      Life wasnt worth livin
      Opiate addiction’s insane

      Thats when he discovered
      Some weed in the cupboard
      And ol Sgt. Begin
      Just consciously hovered

      As he looked at his life
      He managed his strife
      He brought back his baby
      An lookin for a wife…

      Well the doctors sat still
      N’said “its weed or the pill
      Sgt. Begin chose weed
      An now his life is a thrill

      In a Court in Cali land
      On a Federal stand
      Judge Mueller allowed
      What he tried to understand…

      “Dr. Madras,” said Begin
      “You say weed aint medicine,”
      But he could not stand idly by
      And let that lyin bitch sin…

      …And with those words Sgt. Begin
      Gave valor to his medicine
      While from sea to shining sea
      Freedom started to win…

      So if you hear what i wrote
      You best be ready to vote
      And honor our soldiers
      With this passing note…

      Pass IiIiIIIiIIIiiiiit….
      Don’t HarAAAaaAaAaaasiiiiiiiiit….

    6. Cyndysub says:

      What will cops do when weed is legal across the US. The easy weed busts will evaporate and they will have to actually do some work. (Insert Big Tear)

    7. RUT says:

      I think a real good look should be taken at what feds are doing to the “kettle 5′ in Spokane, WA.. I think more needs to be done to stop this crap law enforcement keeps making happen. THIS IS A REAL MESSAGE FROM THESE MISGUIDED CREEPS THAT WE HAVE BEEN SO PATIENT WITH. THIS IS JOBS TO THESE JOKERS AND THEY DO NOT CARE IF THEY KEEP TAKING FREEDOM FROM PEOPLE AND KEEP RUINING LIVES. I love it when officers go to grade schools to teach children about not bullying then go to work and be BULLIES. These jerks should not be any where near your children. Politicians are going to jerk around as long as they can on fixing this problem so they can keep arresting. We need more than a MEMO!

    8. Evening Bud says:

      @ Julian,

      You missed your calling, brother. Or did you?

      Very nice ode to Sgt. Begin.

    9. Voice of the Resistance says:

      Thanks Julian.

    10. Dave Evans says:

      “I love it when officers go to grade schools to teach children about not bullying then go to work and be BULLIES. These jerks should not be any where near your children.”

      Yeah, it is amazing how biased people can be. I look a police officer and wonder if he/she is a good officer or not. While other’s just see a cop and think, “this person this is a good person.” Except police are trained to lie and they consider everyone a criminal except for their fellow police and this is an anti-social, semi-psychotic mental construction that is part of their training.

      So when I look at a police officer, I wonder if the good in them survived their police training.