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129,000 Marijuana Possession Arrests Cost Washington Over $200 Million Since 2001

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marijuana arrests washington stateIt’s Time To Have Police Fighting REAL Crime In Washington State, Not Enforcing Failed Marijuana Policies

Dr. Harry Levine of Queens College, New York, has released stunning data about the costs of marijuana prohibition in Washington State that would be addressed by the passage of Initiative 502, the measure to legalize marijuana.

Dr. Levine reports that since 2001, over 129,000 Washingtonians had been arrested for marijuana possession, costing the state between $194 and $258 million dollars.

Furthermore, 70% of those arrested for marijuana possession were below the age of thirty and they were disproportionately non-white.  Blacks were arrested at a rate 2.5 times greater than their share of the population.  Despite using marijuana at rates similar to whites, blacks are 2.9 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Washington.  Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans combined make up only 14% of Washington’s population, but 25% of those arrested for marijuana possession.

Those arrested for marijuana possession face serious impediments to future employment, education, and other life opportunities.  Defending a marijuana possession case can cost the accused over $4,000, or the services of a public defender that the taxpayers subsidize.  Despite having a medical marijuana law, arrests are over twice as prevalent as before the law passed in 1998.  It’s time to put police back on the streets fighting real crime by voting YES on I-502.

marijuana arrests washington state

Published with special permission from the National Cannabis Coalition

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About Author

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.