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

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 thoughts

  1. 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. $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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. “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.

  9. Julian,

    Find a musician to complement your beautiful lyrics and send it to Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Ryan Adams and Wyclef.

  10. Less pillage and extortive theft has a negative impact on the budgetary restraits of policing for profit during a fiscal crisis.

  11. Thanks for the compliments. I appreciate the encouragement, (and i really DO need to invest in a better guitar), but as I’ve said before on this blog, in the spirit of what oughtta happen to U.S.patent 6630507, all my lyrics are open source. I was thinkin about a song from Allison Kraus when i wrote it, but if you get a rhythm, take these lyrics, modify’m if you will and share’m with the world. The only rule to open source is you cant sing it for a copy write or patented profit, just sing it for freedom.
    Theres a lot of healing and education we need during the transition and in the wake of prohibition. A joint or a vaporizer with a big enough bowl to pass around and a guitar with a song can do that for us all, we just need some rhyming lyrics and some friends to get things rolling… Sorta like my poker players… We all get a little burnt out keeping up with the news, so telling a story in a song rolled up in some herb just makes everything feel better. Which reminds me… Their late tonight! Well, hell, maybe ill tune up this old guitar…

  12. “The only rule to open source is you cant sing it for a copy write or patented profit, just sing it for freedom.”–@J

    1. Another opensource venue not to forget is WIKIs, where you sign in with a username and a password, write, add to or edit articles, improve someone else’s article etc., do it for freedom to know. The substrate of freedom is knowing what to do and how to do it: go to wikiHow.com/”12 Ways to Make Pipes from Everyday Objects”, learn how to make a one-hitter (Flexdrawtube Einzelhiffer), add better pictures etc.

    2. Do you have a woodworking room in your house? Something more interesting for your friends to do after a toke than poker. Please check Wikiversity.org/”Essential Preschool Part I: Eco-Education Toys” to see a drawing of a STRADIZUKI (Zooky) and KRAADTZENBOGEN (Bogie), a fake violin and/or guitar for infants and toddlers too young to be trusted with a $100 real thing instrument. They don’t understand pitch yet, it’s a rhythm instrument that enables them to participate in family music without screwing up the tune. Cheap, easy to make, easy to fix if kid breaks it.

    The bogie, usually a stick with notches cut along a side, used to kratz against wood, wires, cardboard, catfoodcan, cookie tin, pluckable beveragebottlebottom, etc. on the zooky, can sound sorta like a traditional “washboard” instrument heard on some old records, or like 33 other things I haven’t found a name for depending where you kratz.

    3. Instead of a joint or a big bowl to pass around, the nonwasteful lifesaving 25-mg einzelhiffer can have two flexstems so two disciplined lovers toke simultaneously:

    (a) each sucks twice as slow on the same 25-mg single serving,

    (b) each gets half the heat, therefore twice as mild,

    (c) serve twice as many tokes. Or:

    (d) one goodlooking controlfreak tokeserver moves around serving carefully lit vapetokes from the second mouthpiece to multiple partners, alternately ex- and inhaling as warranted during and between shared suckage.

    (e) Or everyone has a one-hitter and tokes simultaneously, except for a busy twohanded music accompianist.

  13. @Mexweed,
    1) i still have a password from years ago when i tried to get them to define the word “exocannabinoid.” If endocannabinoid means all cannabinoids found within the human body,” there should be an alternate definition. Wiki wouldn’t let me do i stopped searching them.

    2). I framed and built houses for 12 years of my life and I still do between my other careers. I even spent this weekend building intricate bird houses out of cedar to house wireless cameras on my ranch. And i still had time for poker night Thursday evening. I appreciate your sound advice, but try not to be so judgmental about guys who like to play poker or football with their brothers once a month. What’s good for me might not always be whats good for you. 🙂

    3). Which leads me to number three; i agree with you wholeheartedly about vaporizers, but if you lean to the extreme that all cigarettes and rolling papers should be banned, (not saying you are… But i’ve been reading your posts for a while… And what I’m sayin is yer REAL close to the edge of falling into tobacco prohibition.) But with tobacco prohibition aren’t we creating another black market? Thus, increasing demand and supply of said tobacco? Lord knows with 6 million people due to die from cigarette smoke in America alone, I’m no advocate for cigarettes… But diminishing cigarette consumption will and has happened through legal regulation and education. What do you think about massachussets banning tobacco?

  14. @Julian,
    (1) Wikipedia has strict rules and editors who can erase your stuff and ban you from editing for various reasons. I was convicted of Soapboxing and Single-Interest Editor. Various other wikis are more liberal but with 1/100 as many readers. Still worth trying, good luck.

    (2) Playing football (especially with friends, not enemies, and not dressed up like tanks) is o.k. it’s the suckers who sit watching it (drinking corporate beer) that I was addressing. Your idea of a birdhouse camera impressed me, then I thought, will some would-be libertarian nutcases go around attacking all birdhouses for fear of surveillance? I enjoy making bird(birth)houses, esp. of humble homable materials like scrap wood, cardboard & wire, they provide a way to increase bird populations compensating for the habitat loss caused by deforestation.

    (3) Not to worry, no danger here of advocating prohibition of tobacco or $igarettes beyond present curbs on polluting shared indoor air spaces. Promoting side-stream-free flexdrawtube one-hitters (workers needed to make the first 3 billion units) will solve the problem painlessly. More cleverly illustrated wikiHow.com articles now in progress will eventually teach every one of the 1.2 bil. nicoaddicts worldwide how to vape with a one-hitter, save a ton of money and health. Including that you can tear 1/30 of the tobacco right off the tip of a $igarette and vapetoke it just fine in a 1/4-inch i.d. screened vapecrater.

    (4) I think we will get away from the bipolar reefer vs tobacco (reachforth vs tobackgo) controversy and learn how to vape lobelia, marjoram, nettle (Urtica), OREGANO, pennyroyal, peppermint, rooibosch, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme, uva ursi(kinnickinnick), verbena, wormwood (absinthia) etc.

    (5) Did you notice Oxford Dictionary voted “VAPE” word of the year? That reminds me, Marley is now the new Jesus Christ, a cartoon is in progress showing Marley vaping with a “Choomette” flexdrawtube einzelhiffer, “More Marley, Less Monoxide”.

  15. @Mexweed,
    Glad to hear you’re thoroughly balanced over… pretty much every issue that I thought you weren’t.
    As far as Marley’s branding as Christ, I think it’s ironic genius that behind the marketing of vaporizers and Sabet’s pathetic attempt to “twist” logic on “Big Marijuana” that its Marley’s music and lyrics that will inspire spiritual consumption and provision throughout societies as the original purpose of communion with Creation is revealed through cannabis and music.
    Honestly, as much as i love his music, his lyrics can also be rather depressing on the whole, but “Stir it Up” was a great choice to spark up the debate. I like his older stuff with the Wailers, and Though I love his music, I feel sorry for Jamaicans who have to explain that mostly white Americans listen to Bob.
    Yes, The Soul Rebel will indeed be immortalized after great sacrifice and turmoil, but I don’t think Jesus had that many kids! 🙂

  16. Does anyone else think it is disgusting that they don’t take that $457m and get every single homeless person in America off the streets?

  17. Twenty “cigarettes” per pack + seven “puffs” (doses) per cigarette @two packs per day = Two Hundred and Eighty doses of nicotine per day.

    280 doses per day!

    The above dosing schedule is far greater than the number of doses a heroin or cocaine addict uses per day.

    What is dope?

    Cannabis is not dope.

  18. Does anyone else think it is disgusting that they don’t take that $457m and get every single homeless person in America off the streets? – Matthew

    Capitalism can not operate minus a poor homeless class.

    Capitalism depends on a segment of our Country’s population staying unemployed/underemployed at all times.

    There can be no Overruling Rich Class minus a subjugated Overruled Poor Class.

  19. I have never seen a more focused & organized effort at ALL LEVELS OF SOCIETY TO SUPPRESS – Hemp & Cannabis.

    One only need use a KINDERGARTEN education to ADD UP how much they are EXTORTING from us via Cannabis & Hemp Prohibition.

    This is in fact – NOTHING MORE THAN ORGANIZED EXTORTION – Drug Apartheid – Drug War.

    When the combantants begin fighting their own slaughter those imposing the WAR upon them might take notice.

    Until that time the Narcissistic, Psychopathic, Sociopathic Parasites will continue to Lie, Cheat, Steal & Thieve.

    It costs $400 to role a plumbing truck without a Plumber.

    State of PA stated earlier this year a figure of $25,000 per arrest.

    Let’s compromise at half-price, $12,500 X 600,000 arrests = $7.5 BILLION.

    The FBI are HIGH on their low numbers.

    Complete figment of their imagination.

    They are trying to SCRIPTNOTIZE the public to believe the BURDEN on SOCIETY to EXTORT from Plant users is not nearly as costly as it is.

    American Spring.

  20. *roll (in my prev. comment)

    Why doesn’t NORML:

    1) Drop the “Marijuana” – it is a made up word.

    2) Stand for repeal rather than “Reform”?

    Cannabis, nor Hemp cannot genetically-produce THC.

    What is there to reform?

  21. Julian: #6630507 IS Open Source for personal use. In fact, you can use it now because now that you have proof of its efficacy, it is an Unconstitutional Social Injustice to prevent you from foraging for this food. Eradication has “unnaturally” removed this agriculture from the biome, and returning the biome to its natural habitat would be the first line in re-establishing your Constitutional Right to forage for dietary needs. Only those who subscribed to certain definitions are governed by those definitions, those who subscribe to other definitions are welcome to exercise their freedom of choice. This is the beauty of the American Government that not even the Narcissitic Parasitic Democrat/Republican Criminal Syndicate can re-write the “substance” of what our Fore-Fathers Granted – We The People. They built the nation for 284 years on HEMP before there is any talk of a pesky Hemp Revolution. Here we are today…still fighting THEIR revolution. Don’t we owe it to our Fore-Fathers to END this 238 year war on Hemp & Mankind?

  22. Thanks everyone, the statements get better and better.

    1. $25,000 per arrest? Note that somebody is gettin’ Paid for all that unwork/sociopathicity (modern crappaholic paidgettin’ism). And preventing cannabis use and scaring kids out of possessing a one-hitter keeps the Dope-Back-Go (thanks @Eric) predators “earnin'”. Note the number of doses $igheil “heavy users” wroll up daily by @Eric’s count.

    2. You’re right, @Julian, Marley had lots more kids than Jesus, by my count Jesus had just one (1) girl. Concerning that incident where He spat on some “clay”, rubbed some of the emulsion in a blind man’s eye (who picked up his Hammer and Saw– one more Good Carpenter recruit)– that was actually not clay, it was dogdirt, Jesus was the First Dogturd Doctor. After the “Resurrection” (almost worthy of Mahler I imagine) He escaped with Mary Magdelene to Southern France where they had one (1) girl–
    the First Dogturd Doctor’s Daughter.

    3. Everybody try drawing this Proposed Safer Vapetoke Equipment Propaganda Leaflet– a cartoon showing Anne Frank serving Marley a 25-mg toke on a Double Eynzelhijfer, title:

    on a visit to Annsterdam?”

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