New Record for Marijuana Arrests

|

Marijuana arrests in the U.S. totaled a record 755,000 last year, according to the FBI's latest numbers. That represented 45 percent of all drug arrests. Almost nine out of 10 marijuana arrests were for simple possession, as opposed to sale/manufacture, a category that includes all cultivation offenses.

NEXT: Hearing Impairment

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Your tax dollars at work … *flush*

    Damn this makes me mad.

    Jeff

  2. These people are dangerous Jeff. They like to snack a lot and tend to stay indoors. Thank god they’re off the street (or out of their parents’ basements).

    *Sarcasm off*

    This is sad. Not just from the standpoint of taxpayers’ dollars wasted but from perfectly good lives ruined for no reason.

  3. Well, you see, people who are willing to commit crimes, such as using drugs, could be potential terrorists, because, ummm…well terrorists commit crimes too! So there. Drug users and terrorists have something in common! They both smuggle stuff too, and smuggling is bad, because what if they were smuggling bombs instead of bud from B.C.? We must stregthen our resolve to go after terrorists, drug users, and smugglers, because, in the shadow of 9/11, we must FOR THE SAKE OF OUR CHILDREN!!!

  4. There is another way to look at it……..775,000 people stupid enough to get caught.

  5. gawdammman

    Wanna venture a guess at the number of people who managed not to get caught?

  6. 775,000 people stupid enough to get caught.

    I’d be curious to see if there’s a breakdown showing roughly what those 775,000 people were *doing* when they got caught (now I didn’t RTFA cos it’s blocked at my job… but I assume it’s not there). I have a feeling roughly 90 percent of them were pulled over for traffic violations and the cop smelled something “funny” or saw a baggie on the passenger seat. I just can’t imagine how it’s possible to get caught unless you’re doing something stupid like smoking in public like that.

  7. gawdamman,

    Going on the assumption that there’s a kernel of seriousness to your post, are there any laws you don’t like? If so, try saying the same thing about them. If not, heh, who’s the “stupid” one?

  8. Yeah this is fucked up, but hardly surprising. If only more people gave a shit. The ongoing War On Drugs is just way too depressing to deal with. God I need a doobie.

  9. Patrick,

    I just can’t imagine how it’s possible to get caught unless you’re doing something stupid like smoking in public like that.

    How about getting pulled over for other victimless crimes, like speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, driving while black, etc. Cop thinks you’re suspicious looking cause you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time and you have long hair and old clothes. Etc.

  10. Yeah, remember that Peter McWilliams guy who needed marijuana to control his AIDS related nausea and when the govt. arrested him and threatened him with jail if one of his weekly piss-tests came up positive and then he died when he threw up uncontrollably and choked on his vomit? What a fucking stupid idiot to have gotten caught! That’ll show him!

  11. lol…..Relax kiddie-os, all I was saying is be sharp ’till the laws get changed. I’ve been doing alot of things that aren’t “considered proper” but I don’t go out of my way to get caught-it’s worked since 1967!

  12. “Don’t have long hair til the laws get changed. Oh, and don’t be black til the laws get changed.”

  13. .Relax kiddie-os, all I was saying is be sharp ’till the laws get changed.

    Oh…. Well, thanks for the advice. I was gonna be stupid, but now I know better.

  14. Actually these people represent a bigger story that doesn’t get enough attention. Pot arrests are part and parcel to the system keeping the disenfranchised oppressed.

    Poor people often live in ‘high crime’ areas. These neighborhoods receive greater focus from law enforcement.

    Simple possession usually gets probation. And here’s the story; Probation is a shakedown scam. People on probation are required to pay money to the state (under the pretext of covering the administrative costs). It’s as easy to get popped for pot in some urban areas as it is to get a speeding ticket in the burbs. You don?t necessarily have to draw attention to yourself.

  15. How about getting pulled over for other victimless crimes, like speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, driving while black, etc.

    By “traffic violations” I meant “getting pulled over”. I’d rather not get sucked into an argument about the validity of the various reasons people get pulled over…. But my point stands: if you really don’t want to get caught, it is simply stupid to smoke pot in public. Just being practical.

  16. So 40.5% of all drug arrests are for simple possession of marijuana. I wonder what the simple possession arrest percentage is, regardless of drug type?

  17. Regarding how simple or hard it is to be caught, there was that story a few months ago about the family in San Diego that used “too much” electricity because of the computers and televisions they had on 24/7. That usage got the attention of a local detective, along with a “positive” reaction by a “drug-sniffing” dog. They didn’t have any drugs, but still had their front door broken down, etc. I think I also remember a comment about a lead coming from another drug suspect, but I’m not certain about that. Of course, no apologies were forthcoming from the P.D., as far as I know, as they did arrest twenty-some other people, so they thought it was a success.

  18. Patrick,

    I wasn’t actually responding to that part of your post, just thinking of ways people can get busted without “smoking in public.” I believe cops can search your car without having much probable cause nowadays, so one doesn’t have to have been smoking when pulled over or to have left a bag on the seat to be searched and busted. Sigh, in a nutshell, shit happens. Okay, y’know the smarter and wiser and more cautious you are, the less your chances of getting busted, agreed. That kinda goes without saying. And one man’s stupidity is another’s reasonable risk or indespensible part of his lifestyle. When you say “I just can’t imagine how it’s possible to get caught unless you’re doing something stupid like smoking in public like that” there’s an infinite number of things you could mean by that cause it’s all subjective. FWIW, I think there’s plenty of people who get busted whose circumstances would not evoke a “God, what an idiot” reaction in me, and I bet not in you either if you knew the circumstances and weren’t predisposed to think that way. Hmm, can’t say offhand I know of anyone who’s been busted, but I know of people who’ve come very close and could easily have been, and they weren’t doing anything especially stupid, they were just (almost) very unlucky. And I hang with mostly white, middle class folks, which helps a lot.

  19. i was busted for possession for having three small plants in a garden by the house. however, i am in a medical mj state and i legally had seven plants growing this past summer.
    the circumstances of my bust were odd – the meter reader for the power company reported that my dog (in a pen behind the house) looked thin. the local doggie police came to investigate (on july 4th, think about how many bureaucrats work on july 4th), then reporting to the local INT – the interagency narcotics team. they received a report and ‘had’ to act on it.
    they wrote a ticket for me and my wife, we lawyered up, the case never got called to the docket. the INTs advise was to apply for the med mj card. my guess is that this was a friendly hello from some local folks that don’t like the way i conduct business.
    the bureaucracy involved with med mj is ridiculous. but at least it is here. my sympathy to those readers that have no choice in this manner, and are deprived of useful medication.

  20. How about this:

    Someone breaks into your house, neighbours call police. Police show up, investigate house, find marijuana plant. You show up, get arrested.

    Happened to someone I know.

  21. 755,000

    If you ask me, it seems more people are telling the DA “Fuck You” when they try to plea bargain the possession charge down to an infraction that carries a one year probation and then all gets dropped, as long as you pay and take this “one” little Drug Abuse Awareness Class.

    A friend of mine was busted last May for “less than 45 grams.” More like 3.5 grams, a.k.a an 8th. The charge, if found guilty, carried a full weekend in county, $900 fine, 5 years probation which requires periodic pee testing with possible randoms, and a permanent record. Or plea bargain to the one year probation, no time served, clean record after one year, and one drug abuse awareness class. Of course he chose the the plea bargain. But following his “one” little class that cost $375 and required a pee test, he was “found to have a problem” and was referred to the Drug Abuse Prevention Class. He now has to take this series of pay-to-go classes over the next 6 months, peeing clean before each one. He may require additional classes if they deem necessary. I understand if he fails a pee test, he is kicked out of the classes and sent to the mercy of the judge.

    Don’t get caught in Snohomish County, Washington.

    but…

    Light up in public, descreetly mind you, in Seattle, and you shouldn’t be hassled.

  22. FYODOR suggested: I believe cops can search your car without having much probable cause nowadays, so one doesn’t have to have been smoking when pulled over or to have left a bag on the seat to be searched and busted.

    S: In fact, police cannot search your vehicle without probable cause of a crime being committed unless you give them consent first. They can also legally search if they have cause to arrest you due to unpaid fines, suspended drivers license or any other reason.

    That being said, one should never burn in the car unless it is the only pot in your possession and can thus be easily destroyed if needed.

    If you’ve got a fresh purchase, wait til you’re home and out of the car, for crying out loud.

    SOMEONE else asked if the percentage of possesion only busts was similar for illegal drugs other than marijuana and the answer to that is Yes, though I don’t have an immediate cite, sorry.

  23. The question is not whether the police are ALLOWED to search you car without probable cause. The question is whether they CAN search your car. Trust me, they can search you any damn time they like, and the evidence will probably stick. It’s happened to me and it’s happened to friends of mine. In my case, they pulled me out of the car and cuffed me. Then they went back and told my girlfriend that I’d consented to a search. In my case, I was doing nothing illegal so after a half hour in the back of the cop car and a whole lot of verbal shit from the cops I was released. My friends weren’t so lucky. Oddly enough, the tape recorder “malfunctioned” so there was no recording of the “consent”. Cops routinely lie and the courts accept it. That’s the reality.

  24. Thank god those non-violent marijuana smokers are off the street. Wouldn’t the world be better if they all switched to violence inspiring alcohol?

    Of course the guy with a plant or two in his basement is supporting terrorism.

  25. Stories like this remind me why the terrorists hate us:

    They hate our freedoms.:-)

  26. Note I forgot to include the <sarcasm></sarcasm> tags in my post.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.