Drug Law

Marijuana Arrests in California Remain at Record Highs

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

With a vote looming on Prop 19 that would legalize marijuana in California, word that pot arrests in the state remain at record highs. The number of marijuana arrests in California was virtually unchanged in 2009, following a year in which an all-time record was reached.

In 2009, there were 17,008 felony and 61,164 misdemeanor marijuana arrests in California, for a total of 78,172. In 2008, there were 17,126 marijuana felonies and 61,388 misdemeanors, for a total of 78,514.

"The record is clear that the war on marijuana has failed," Dale Gieringer of California NORML told the pro-marijuana web site Toke of the Town.

​"Since marijuana was prohibited in California in 1913, arrests have soared to near-record levels with no end in sight," Gieringer said.

He said Prop 19 would be a great boost for the cash-strapped state.

"Prop 19 would save the state hundreds of millions of dollars now spent on arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning marijuana offenders."

Interestingly, while marijuana arrests rise, other drug arrests are down. Heroin and cocaine arrests fell 17% percent last year. Arrests for those drugs have dropped 33 percent since 2006.