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America’s 2011 drug war tally: One marijuana arrest every 42 seconds

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  1. Rob Cypher
    New numbers released Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting Program show that nearly half of all drug arrests in 2011 were marijuana-related, and of those arrests almost 90 percent were for possession alone.

    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a drug reform advocacy group, said that the latest numbers show that marijuana users were arrested last year at a rate of one every 42 seconds. Accounting for all illegal drug users, they added that arrest rate jumps to one every 21 seconds.

    In all, the FBI said that law enforcement agencies made 1,531,251 drug-related arrests last year. Approximately 49.5 percent of those arrests — roughly 757,969 — were for marijuana. Of those marijuana arrests, the vast majority, about 87 percent, were for simple possession.

    “Even excluding the costs involved for later trying and then imprisoning these people, taxpayers are spending between one and a half to three billion dollars a year just on the police and court time involved in making these arrests,” Neill Franklin, director of LEAP and a former Baltimore police officer, said in a prepared statement. “That’s a lot of money to spend for a practice that four decades of unsuccessful policies have proved does nothing to reduce the consumption of drugs.”

    Despite polls showing that a narrow majority of Americans would like to see marijuana legalized, taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol, President Barack Obama has maintained that he does not support legalization. However, voters in three states — Washington, Colorado and Oregon — will weigh in on legalization initiatives in just over a week, and all of them appear to on track to win.

    Franklin added that these states “would take the first step in ending this failed war,” saying he hopes “they take this opportunity to guide the nation to a more sensible approach to drug use.”

    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) says that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, a category supposedly reserved only for the most dangerous substances with no known medical uses.

    Raw Story (http://s.tt/1riJ3)

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  1. source
    Drugs and Marijuana Dominate Nation's Arrests -- As Usual

    [imgl=white]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=29377&stc=1&d=1351736169[/imgl]Yes, America is the world's most incarcerating nation. But take solace in this: Fewer people are arrested in America every year, according to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reporting data.

    They just keep getting arrested for the same few things.

    Exactly 9,536,787 people made up the 12.4 million arrests in America last year, according to the FBI's annual survey of the nation's police agencies. And police are kept most busy by three common offenses: drugs, drinking and driving, and theft comprise 30 percent of all arrests -- but not in that order.

    There were 1.26 million arrests for theft, and 1.21 million people were busted for DUI. That means that drug violations are the most common crime in America, with 1,531,251 arrests, the FBI reported. And of these, marijuana crimes made up nearly half, with the vast majority -- 81.8 percent -- of busts for simple possession.

    All told, there were nearly 4,000 arrests per 100,000 people in 2011.

    Perhaps, as a result, it's decreasingly likely to be arrested in America, with arrests down 5 percent from 2010.

    That said, the war on drugs is hardly abating. Sales and manufacturing of drugs accounted for only 18.2 percent of all drug-related arrests.

    Marijuana possession was the crime in 43.3 percent of all those 1.5 million drug-related arrests, meaning nearly 660,000 busts for simple possession of marijuana in 2011.

    When accounting for police officer salaries and court costs, the nation's drug war costs as much as $3 billion a year, according to an estimate by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of current and former cops who oppose the Drug War. That doesn't count the cost of incarceration.

    "That's a lot of money to spend for a practice that four decades of unsuccessful policies have proved does nothing to reduce the consumption of drugs," said retired Baltimore narcotics officer Neill Franklin, the nonprofit's director.

    There is some good news. In the West statistical group, which includes Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and all points between there and the Pacific, marijuana (23.5 percent) is less policed than heroin and cocaine (23.9 percent). Oddly, what many consider to be the area's chief scourge -- methamphetamine -- does not receive its own classification; "other dangerous nonnarcotic drugs" are the top drug charge in the west, with 32.6 percent of arrests.

    Still, this does mean that someone is arrested for drugs every 21 seconds in the United States. And marijuana leads someone into police custody every 42 seconds -- which is about the time it took you to read this blog post.

    By Chris Roberts Tue., Oct. 30 2012. SF Weekly
    http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2012/10/drugs_and_marijuana_dominate_n.php
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