2007- A New High (and low) For Marijuana Arrests
The federal propagandists who argue for marijuana prohibition claim that marijuana consumers are not a burden on the criminal justice system. The numbers tell a different story. Last year 827,721 persons were arrested for marijuana possession.
What The Cops Aren’t Working On
If those numbers aren’t embarrassing enough then consider the millions of police officer/prosecutor hours wasted, and the billions spent incarcerating, warehousing, and processing these defendants. I often blog about the opportunity costs of the drug war.
When the police are arresting pot smokers, they can not spend that time and energy on solving real crime. Arresting marijuana smokers is not just a stupid public policy- it is a dangerous policy that lets real crime go unsolved. Don’t take my word for it. Recently, Scott Henson Grits For Breakfast recently broke down the FBI’s crime stats for 2007.
From Mr. Henson-
I was also interested to learn that the vast majority of arrests are not for violent or property crimes: “In 2007, the FBI estimated that 14,209,365 arrests occurred nationwide for all offenses (except traffic violations), of which 597,447 were for violent crimes, and 1,610,088 were for property crimes. That means just 15.54% of arrests were for violent crimes or property offenses, a figure which seems surprisingly low to me.
Some of that can be explained by the drug war: “Law enforcement made more arrests for drug abuse violations (an estimated 1.8 million arrests, or 13.0 percent of the total number of arrests) than for any other offense.” What’s more, 42.1% of drug arrests were for pot possession.
What do you want your police solving and/or preventing? Pot smoking, or violent/property crime?
To see how marijuana prohibitions makes you less safe, look at these crime clearance number for 2007.
When marijuana is legal the police can work on the 40% of annual uncleared murders. We owe it to the victims of real crime to quit wasting law enforcement resources on marijuana consumers.