asset forfeiture marijuana arrest
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Arrests For Marijuana Offenses Increasing In Many States

asset forfeiture marijuana arrestBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Law enforcement in many states are making a greater number of marijuana arrests than ever before despite polling data showing that the majority of Americans believe that the adult use of the plant ought to be legal.

According to a just published report, “Marijuana in the States 2012: Analysis and Detailed Data on Marijuana Use and Arrests,” which appears on the newly launched RegulatingCannabis.com website, police made an estimated 750,000 arrests for marijuana violations in 2012 – a 110 percent increase in annual arrests since 1991. Yet, despite this doubling in annual marijuana arrests over the past two decades, there has not been any significant reduction in marijuana consumption in the United States the report found.

In 2012, marijuana arrests accounted for almost half (48.3 percent) of all drug arrests nationwide. Marijuana arrests accounted for two-thirds of more of all drug arrests in five states: Nebraska (74.1 percent), New Hampshire (72 percent), Montana (70.3 percent), Wyoming (68.7 percent) and Wisconsin (67.1 percent).

From 2008 to 2012, seventeen state-level jurisdictions experienced an average annual increase in marijuana arrests, the report found. South Carolina (11.6 percent) and the District of Columbia (7.7 percent) experienced the highest overall percentage increase in arrests during this time period. By contrast, annual marijuana arrests fell nationwide by an average of 3.3 percent from 2008 to 2012.

Overall, the study reported that the five state-level jurisdictions possessing the highest arrest rates for marijuana offenses are the District to Columbia (729 arrests per 100,000 citizens), New York (577), Louisiana (451), Illinois (447) and Nebraska (421). District of Columbia lawmakers decriminalized the adult possession of marijuana earlier this month.

The two states possessing the lowest marijuana arrest rates are California and Massachusetts, the report found. Both states decriminalized marijuana possession offenses in recent years.

Stated the report’s author, Shenondoah University professor Jon Gettman, “After a generation of marijuana arrests, nearly 19 million and counting since 1981, the results are that marijuana remains widely used, not perceived as risky by a majority of the population, and widely available. The tremendous variance in use and arrests at the state level demonstrate why marijuana prohibition has failed and is not a viable national policy.”

Full text of the report is available on the NORML website here or from: RegulatingCannabis.com.

Source: NORML - make a donation

  • YMI

    I didn’t know we are living in natzi America, am I stuck in a time warp or living a nightmare that I can’t awake from? GIVE IT UP ALREADY!

  • mike1188

    It is really sad thing to see so many non violent marijuana drug charges that send so many people to prison. For such ridicules amount of time. You can spend less time in any state prison. Than you would for you would for most over ounce drug offenses. This is beyond belief such a stupid thing. The only way to end this sad waste of Human life is to legalize marijuana.

  • Captain Obvious

    Time for a market correction.

  • shmuelman

    In Colorado, marijuana arrests continued to increase, peaking in Oct. 2012 prior to the legalization vote. It was like “let’s get our licks in while we still can.”

  • Not here in California, this is just for those country hick-towns, they gotta arrest as many …s as they can while they can.
    You know how this story goes.

  • Pigsrfullofworms

    The pigs need to grab as much ez OT $$$ while they still can.