Late last year the Philadelphia City Council voted to decriminalize simple marijuana possession. What was once a possession crime became a $25 ticket. While there is still some work to be done, it sounds like the reform is having quite a positive effect, at least from a financial perspective. Per Philly.Com:
For decades, Philly police put anyone caught with anything from a roach up to 30 grams into handcuffs and a holding cell. The city’s new decrim policy gives officers the option of issuing a Code Violation Notice: $25 for possession and $100 for smoking in public. The result has meant fewer interactions between cannabis consumers and police.
It’s also saving tens of thousands of hours of police time — and a big chunk of tax dollars. The RAND Corporation this year released a that calculated a single custodial arrest costs $1,266.
Using the RAND numbers, Philly may have already saved more than $1 million under the new policy from January to March this year compared to 2013. RAND estimated that the cost of issuing citations is a mere $20.
Name one city in America that couldn’t use an extra $1 million dollars for its budget. And the benefits are not just monetary. Every situation that used to result in an arrest and cost over $1,000 also took a lot of police time. Now those cops can spend their time going after real criminals, instead of investigating and arresting someone for a joint. How many more rapists were caught as a result? Or other violent criminals? I hope more cities in America look at these numbers and decide to take a more sensible approach to marijuana laws, and in optimal cases, end marijuana prohibition altogether.