Washington, DC: Police arrested an estimated 723,627 persons for marijuana violations in 2001, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The total is the second highest ever recorded by the FBI, and comprises nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States.
“These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders,” said Keith Stroup, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “In fact, the war on drugs is largely a war on pot smokers. This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that should be dedicated toward combating serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism.”
Of those charged with marijuana violations, 88.6 percent – some 641,108 Americans – were charged with possession only. The remaining 82,518 individuals 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.
The total number of marijuana arrests far exceeds the total number of arrests for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Since 1992, approximately six million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges, a greater number than the entire populations of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming combined. Annual marijuana arrests have more than doubled in that time.
“It’s time we stopped arresting adults who use marijuana responsibly,” says Stroup.
YEAR MARIJUANA ARRESTS
For more information, please contact Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. NORML “Talking Points” on marijuana arrest and incarceration rates are available online.