Drug Law

New Research Shows Marijuana Arrests have Doubled Since 1991

| by Marijuana Policy Project

WASHINGTON — The most exhaustive
collection of data ever on U.S. marijuana arrests, penalties and related
information, released today, finds no relationship between marijuana arrest and
use rates, while penalty structures act as a price support mechanism that
boosts the illegal market. Assembled by Jon Gettman, Adjunct Assistant
Professor in Criminal Justice at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia,
the new report finds:

-- Marijuana arrests have nearly doubled since 1991, while levels of marijuana use remained fundamentally

-- Penalties that escalate for increased amounts
of marijuana encourage consumers to make multiple small purchases, acting as a
price support for the illicit market.

-- Florida has the nation’s harshest marijuana
penalties, while the District of Columbia has the highest arrest rate for
marijuana offenses.

-- Although the rate of marijuana use is only
about 25 percent higher for African-Americans than for whites, blacks are three
times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as whites.

“These figures paint a devastating portrait of a failed policy that burns
through tax dollars while doing nothing but harm,” said Rob Kampia, executive
director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. “Most
Americans agree that marijuana prohibition doesn’t work, even if most
politicians aren’t yet ready to publicly agree with their constituents.”

Gettman’s summary report, “Marijuana Arrests in the United States (2007),” is
available at http://www.drugscience.org/Archive/bcr7/bcr7_index.html.

The full Marijuana Policy Almanac, including state rankings and individual
reports for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, is at http://www.drugscience.org/States/US/US_home.htm.