Despite what many see as a lighters stance on cannabis in recent years, marijuana arrests continued at an alarming rate in 2012, with more than 749,800 people arrested – with most (87 percent) for simple possession.
According to a the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, marijuana arrests account for 48.3 percent of all drug arrests. Those figures are down slightly from 2011 numbers when marijuana arrests accounted for 49 percent of all arrests, but not by much.
And it’s not like there isn’t other crime that cops could be focusing on, either. According to the report, nearly 60 percent of all rape cases and more than 80 percent of all property crimes go unsolved. Meanwhile, cops are wasting hours of their days arresting people for dime bags.
“Instead of punishing and stigmatizing responsible adult marijuana users, we should be focusing on serious crime,” said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for Marijuana Policy Project in a statement. “As a former prosecuting attorney myself, I believe it is irresponsible to squander our limited law enforcement resources on this disastrous public policy failure. That is especially true when so many violent crimes remain unsolved. Every second spent arresting and prosecuting adults for marijuana is time that could have been spent preventing and solving real crimes.”
According to the MPP, that means that there is a marijuana arrest for possession every 48 seconds in the United States.
“Each one of those arrests is the story of someone who may suffer a variety of adverse effects from their interaction with the justice system,” said LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin in a statement. “Commit a murder or a robbery and the government will still give you a student loan. Get convicted for smoking a joint and you’re likely to lose it.”