The FBI released the Annual Uniform Crime Report [<—this is a link you can click to see the report commenters] on Monday, and as noted in the NORML blog and Drug Warrant 853,838 people were arrested for cannabis in 2010. It’s one of the highest numbers ever recorded, and it’s almost identical to the number arrested in 2009. Cannabis arrests accounted for 52% of all drug-related arrests in 2010, and of those arrested, 46% of all drug busts were for simple marijuana possession (not, rape, murder, assault–simply for possessing the herb). The other 6% (to make 52% for all our math nerds) can likely be attributed to the cultivation and sale of cannabis.
Non-violent cannabis user is almost redundant at this point. I’ve never been in a marijuana fight, but I’ve constantly been hit in the face at a bar.* Read on to find out why America’s War of Drugs is such a crock of shit (although you can probably guess).
NORML puts some of the cannabis arrest numbers in perspective:
Of those charged with marijuana law violations, 750,591 (88 percent) were arrested for marijuana offenses involving possession only. The remaining 103,247 individuals were charged with “sale/manufacture,” a category that includes virtually all cultivation offenses.
Not only that, but since the new millennium, law enforcement officers say they’ve arrested “7.9 million people” for marijuana offenses.
These are the statistics, but think about what a possession arrest means to every day people. You can lose your reputation, your job (not to mention finding another job), your family, and maybe worst of all: your dignity. There are so many issues with our courts and our jails, but people shy away from this problem.
Marijuana is clogging our jails and our legal system as a whole, but lobbyists fight about tort reform? Like suing an incompetent doctor is somehow superfluous litigation when we’re arresting decent American citizens that simply like to toke, or NEED to toke some cannabis to alleviate a medical ailment. Fuck tort reform, lets get some cannabis reform first!
This report makes HMJ ashamed to live in a country with it’s priorities so inane and misguided. As we’ve studied and learned about the cannabis plant over the last 30 years (see graph below), found the medical benefits of cannabis with no negative side-effects on behavior, we STILL continue to prosecute and arrest for small-time possession of cannabis. Not only that, but we’re arresting more and more people as we’ve gathered this data!?!?!
Ughh–I don’t blame the cops (well except the NYPD assholes that continually search black men in the Bronx under the guise of “probably cause” [sic]) because for the most part they’re doing their job. I blame the government. The federal government hasn’t kept their noses out of the state’s rights to sell medical marijuana, and almost all branches and municipalities follow a strict policing of citizens that aren’t doing anything more harmful than giggling a lot and eating junk food. When are people gonna wake up?
It would be in our best interests to legalize cannabis now. With a ballooning national debt and various state’s hemorrhaging money as bigwig banks collect fat bonuses, taxing and selling marijuana would legitimize the drug (once everyone realized it just mellowed people out), and it would line the state coffers that so badly need it. God forbid we try anything new to fix the situation. Reefer Madness indeed.
*To be fair, I’m quite antagonistic after 10 bourbons.**
**But also mellow as fuck when I’m stoned.
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