The FBI provides annual marijuana arrest data dating back to 1965.
“Police have arrested 19.3 million Americans for marijuana violations in the years between 1965 and 2007 - busting a record 872,000 last year alone,” NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. “At this pace, law enforcement will make their 20 millionth arrest this month, and will begin busting over one million cannabis consumers annually by 2010.”
Of those arrested, an estimated 90 percent are charged with minor marijuana possession - not trafficking, cultivation, or sale. Three out of every four arrestees are under 30 years old.
“This policy is a tremendous waste of taxpayers' resources; it destroys the lives of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens, and threatens the personal liberties and freedoms of all Americans,” St. Pierre said. “We've now arrested more American citizens for pot than the entire population of Massachusetts, Michigan, and Oregon combined.”
Speaking last month on C-Span, Drug Czar John Walters denied FBI data indicating that hundreds of thousands of Americans are arrested each year for pot violations, claiming: "We didn't arrest 800,000 marijuana users. That's [a] lie."
NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano recently responded to the Drug Czar's remarks in the Washington DC publication The Hill in an essay entitled, “How Can We Even Discuss Marijuana Policy When America's Top Drug Cop Won't Even Acknowledge The Facts?” More than 240 readers have commented on NORML's essay. Fewer than five respondents have commented in support of the criminal prohibition of cannabis.
To date, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has not responded to NORML's rebuttal, nor has it issued a retraction for the Drug Czar's statements.
In Additional News: NORML Launches Cash Contest For Best Pro-Marijuana Advertisement @ High Noon on October 10 In Recognition (and disgust) of America's 20 Millionth Marijuana Arrest. For further details or to submit a contest entry, check www.norml.org @ noon on Friday, October 10.