FBI: Marijuana Arrests Reach Shameful New Record


by James W. Harris

         FBI: Marijuana Arrests Reach Shameful New Record

The War Against Marijuana is at all-time high.

Police arrested an estimated 771,608 persons for marijuana
violations in 2004, according to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime
Report, released October 17.

That total is the highest ever recorded -- a shameful new record.

And a closer look at this figure reveals some startling facts about
the Drug War.

* There is, on average, one marijuana arrest every 41 seconds.

* Since 1993, marijuana arrests have more than doubled.

* The number of marijuana arrests far exceeded the total number of
arrests in the U.S. for *all violent crimes combined*, including
murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

* Marijuana arrests account for 44.2 percent of all drug arrests in
the United States. (Clearly, the War on Drugs is first and foremost a
war on casual marijuana use.)

* Of those arrested, 89 percent -- some 684,319 Americans -- were
charged with *possession only*.

* The remaining 11 percent were charged with "sale/manufacture," a
category that includes *all* cultivation offenses -- even those
where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use.

* Over 8 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges
in the past decade -- a far greater number than the entire
populations of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Montana,
North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming... combined.

"It's important to remember that each of these statistics represents
a human being, and in many cases, a preventable tragedy," said Aaron
Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy
Project in Washington, D.C. "One of those marijuana arrests in 2004
was Jonathan Magbie, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient who
died in the Washington, D.C., city jail while serving a 10-day
sentence for marijuana possession."

"These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest
minor marijuana offenders," said Allen St. Pierre, Executive
Director of NORML. "This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal
justice resources that diverts law enforcement personnel away from
focusing on serious and violent crime, including the war on

Sources: Marijuana Policy Project: