It wasn’t that long ago that thousands of people were arrested for marijuana annually in Washington D.C.. 2,346 people were arrested for marijuana in Washington D.C. in 2011. Washington D.C. voters approved marijuana legalization during the 2014 Election. As a result, marijuana arrests in D.C. are down. Way down. As of November 6th (the most current data available), there have only been 7 arrests for marijuana in D.C.. Per the Washington City Paper:
Last week, on Nov. 4, the District marked the first anniversary of the passage of Initiative 71, a ballot measure that effectively legalized weed, at least in the form of possessing, growing, and using (but not selling) tiny amounts of it in one’s home.
In that line, data provided by the Metropolitan Police Department shows that marijuana arrests have dropped to historic lows. MPD has only issued seven arrests for possession of marijuana this year, as of Nov. 6—down 99.2 percent from 2014’s 895 total arrests. Even last year, though, police arrested just seven people from Jul. 7 to Dec. 31, likely an indication of a change in MPD strategy after decriminalization first took effect. Here’s a by-the-numbers breakdown of MPD arrests for pot possession from 2010 through last week:
2015: 7 (as of Nov. 6)
According to the ACLU, the average arrest for marijuana costs $750, and that doesn’t include any court proceedings or jail, just the arrest. I have seen numbers that are even higher than that, so D.C. could have been higher or lower, but taking the average, that means that D.C. payed roughly $1,759,500 in 2011 to arrest people for marijuana. This year that number would be $5,250. And I would be curious to know why there were even seven arrests in a city that legalized marijuana. There’s potentially even more money to be saved, because no one should be arrested for a plant that is 114 times safer than alcohol.
This is just one city (albeit a large one) in America. Imagine if every city in America was doing this? And that’s just the savings for arrests. Add to that the savings from detainment/incarceration, and court proceedings. Then add to that the tax revenue and other benefits that would be brought to each city from a taxed and regulated industry. All of that would add up to a benefit package that no city in America should deny.