Marijuana Arrests Decline In 2011, But Still Total Half Of All Illicit Drug Violations

Police made 757,969 arrests in 2011 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The total is a decrease from past years. During the years 2006 to 2010, police annually made over 800,000 arrests for cannabis violations.

According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise one-half of all illicit drug arrests in the United States. Approximately 43 percent of all drug violations are for cannabis possession.

“As in past years, the so-called ‘drug war’ remains fueled by the arrests of minor marijuana possession offenders,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes upon legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. It’s time to stop stigmatizing and criminalizing tens of millions of Americans for choosing to consume a substance that is safer than either tobacco or alcohol.”

Of those charged in 2011 with marijuana law violations, 663,032 (86 percent) were arrested for marijuana offenses involving possession only. The remaining 94,937 individuals were charged with “sale/manufacture,” a category that includes virtually all cultivation offenses.

By region, the percentage of marijuana arrests was highest in the Midwest (61 percent of all drug arrests) of the United States and lowest in the west, where marijuana violations comprised only 29 percent of total drug arrests.

On Tuesday, November 6, voters in three states — Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — will decide on statewide ballot measures that seek to allow for the personal possession and regulated distribution of cannabis for adults. In two states, Colorado and Washington, these measures are ahead in the polls by double digit leads.

Recent national polls by Gallup, Rasmussen, The Huffington Post, and Angus Reid show that more Americans now support legalizing the adult use of cannabis than support maintaining its prohibition.

32 thoughts

  1. Marijuana arrest seems to be on a decline but there are a lot of small aircraft traffic flying around slowly at low altitude and possibly taking pictures about this time of the year.

  2. I have more respect for the average cannabis consumer than I do for our Federal Govt! I don’t want for it to be this way but for now, unless they choose to end the stupidity of this prohibition, that is how I feel about it.

    I really think it is pathetic that almost 100,000 Americans have been charged with sale/manufacturing of marijuana since many of them probably simply chose to grow their own instead of buying from the cartels or seeking out the local dealer. This idiocy and assault on personal freedom needs to end.

  3. As long as MARIJUANA PROHIBITION exists the UNICORNIZATION OF AMERIKA will contiue on. Will the light at the end of the tunnel stay lit or be blown out by the ignorance of the American voters on Nov. 6th in CO-OR-WA who vote against legalization. Don’t be swayed by FEDERALISM and the 21ST CENTURY INQUISITORS DRACONIAN STYLE of law enforcement. If ROMNEYISM comes in we are all in big trouble and we don’t need a MOSES OF MORMONISM sitting on the KINGS THRONE in the White HOUSE. Cast your vote well for we are the ones that can make the big change for the better. TOGETHER WE STAND-DIVIDED WE FALL. Lets make this a 420 year. THE DRONES ARE COMING. HAIL TO THE MONARCHY!

  4. Cannabis Prohibition accomplishes nothing It creates 10 times more problems than ever excisted in the first place because Cannabis is safe & harmless Prohibition cheapens our criminal Justice system & discredits law-enforcement When non-violent peace-loving people are no longer subjected to brutallity & incarceration we as a people will be one step closer to being an intelligent race It’s in our natural heritage Let them who partake in the bud of the cannabis…

  5. Ummm I just wanna grow cannabis in a skylight dome with a really nice handheld microscope. I would like to have alot of elements of nature involved in this grow environment. I want to go completley organic in such a practise and perhaps competition of who can make the cleanest most organic and natural god created buds on the planet earth and admire the spectacle of what has been provided for us from a higher source and the perhaps partake and feel what that source has intended for this particular herb it has offered. Would this be ok with y’all?

  6. Seriously, marijuana arrests decreased by almost 95,869?!? A decline of 11.2% in one year? The lowest figure since 2003?

    This marks a 10.6% decline from the beginning of Obama’s first term in office, besting Carter’s 9% drop in one term and beat only by HW Bush’s 13% drop.

    [Paul Armentano responds: Notably, the percentage of marijuana arrests, as a portion of all drug arrests, in the western United States fell dramatically (by about 25%) from 2010 to 2011. This change is arguably responsible for a good portion of the overall change.]

  7. I had a question, if anyone could help me out i would greatly appreciate it. I was just recently arrested for selling marijuana, I’m curious as to what the probable outcome of my situation will be. A Santa Clara county (CA) Sheriff pulled over my friend (driver) and I (passenger)..the guy could tell there was bud in the car so he asked to search, searched my buddy’s car finding only a couple grams of bud of mine and my buddy’s oz(we both have cannabis cards)we also told him that the weed was in the car before he conducted the search. After their thorough search of the vehicle he asked to look through my phone which was sitting in the car. This is where i fucked up, I said yes, but then immediately retracted my statement saying no. The sheriff said “it’s a little late now” and went on ahead. Upon doing so he found a handful of text message conversations in which I was conducting the sale of marijuana (can i get a 10 etc). He then cuffed me and took me to county (first offense) and slapped me with a felony. Let my friend go, confiscated the weed. I’m looking for some advice on my situation (not criticism or judgment of my lifestyle), if someone could advise me on what to expect and what actions I should be taking to make this process go by more smoothly and as painless as possible, so that my future isn’t jeprodized I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE IT!
    thank you for your time!

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