More people arrested for marijuana than violent crime

marijuana gunAccording to the newly released 2012 FBI crime statistics, we as a nation are dedicating a bulk of our law enforcement resources to arresting people for simple possession of drugs, with most of the arrests being marijuana related.

Out of all drug related arrests, 82.2 percent are for possession alone. This means that possession arrests outnumbered distribution charges by more than four to one, and not all people charged with distribution were actually distributing.

For cannabis alone, more than 88% of arrests were for simple possession. This means a massive amount of inmates in county and city jails which are in many places already overflowing as they struggle to come in under budget.

All marijuana arrests totaled about 48% of all drug related arrests. Coming in behind it was heroin and cocaine products at just over 22%.

In total, 1,552,432 drug-related arrests were made in 2012. It is estimated that more than 22 million people per year consume illegal drugs.

In 2010, Texas police officers arrested more than 78,000 people for marijuana, 97% of those arrests were for possession alone. Each marijuana arrest costs taxpayers an estimated $10,000.

In a recent press release, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition stated their concerns as more people were arrested for marijuana than all violent crimes combined. This amounts to one person being arrested every 42 seconds for cannabis. One drug arrest is made every 20 seconds.

Many are concerned about the militarization of police which has been enhanced by the drug war, with some cops even viewing citizens as enemy combatants. There are multiple raids every year on homes for drugs, many of which turn up empty, affecting not just those who consume drugs, but everyone else as well as police resources are squandered and innocent people are caught in the crossfire.

With 20 states having legalized medical marijuana, two legalized for recreational use, 10 states potentially legalizing next year, and the Obama administration stating they are going to let states legalize, it is not a question of if, but when marijuana becomes fully legal. It raises the question of why we are still arresting people for this plant.

By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at

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