NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) frequently maintains talking point lists advocating the decriminalization of marijuana, which I would like to make available to our readers. Stand fast and fight the good fight!
60,000 individuals are behind bars for marijuana offenses at a cost to taxpayers of $1.2 billion per year.
REFERENCE: Marijuana Arrests and Incarceration in the United States. 1999. The Federation of American Scientists’ Drug Policy Analysis Bulletin.
Taxpayers annually spend between $7.5 billion and $10 billion arresting and prosecuting individuals for marijuana violations. Almost 90 percent of these arrests are for marijuana possession only.
REFERENCE: NORML. 1997. Still Crazy After All These Years: Marijuana Prohibition 1937-1997: A report prepared by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) on the occasion of the Sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Washington, DC; Federal Bureau of Investigation’s combined Uniform Crime Reports: Crime in the United States (1990-2000): Table: Arrest for Drug Abuse Violations. U.S. Department of Justice: Washington, DC.
The state of California saved nearly $1 billion dollars from 1976 to 1985 by decriminalizing the personal possession of one ounce of marijuana, according to a study of the state justice department budget.
REFERENCE: M. Aldrich and T. Mikuriya. 1988. Savings in California marijuana law enforcement costs attributable to the Moscone Act of 1976. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 20: 75-81.
New Mexico’s 2001 state-commissioned Drug Policy Advisory Group determined that marijuana decriminalization “will result in greater availability of resources to respond to more serious crimes without any increased risks to public safety.”
REFERENCE: New Mexico Governor’s Drug Policy Advisory Group. 2001. Report and Recommendations to the Governor’s Office. State Capitol: Santa Fe.
Marijuana arrests have more than doubled since 1991, while adult use of the drug has remained stable. During this same period, the number of arrests for cocaine and heroin fell by approximately 33 percent.
REFERENCE: Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2000. Drugs and Crime Facts. Table: Number of Arrests by Drug Type, 1982-99. U.S. Department of Justice: Washington, DC; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1996. National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Main Findings (1990- 1999). DHHS Printing Office: Rockville, MD.
Police arrest more Americans per year on marijuana charges than the total number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
REFERENCE: Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2001. Uniform Crime Report: Crime in the United States, 2000. Table 29: Total estimated arrests in the United States, 2000. U.S. Department of Justice: Washington, DC.
Marijuana violations constitute the fifth most common criminal offense in the United States.
REFERENCE: Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2000. Drugs and Crime Facts. Table: Estimated totals of top 7 arrest offenses, United States, 1999. U.S. Department of Justice: Washington, DC.
More than 734,000 individuals were arrested on marijuana charges in 2000. Eighty-eight percent of those arrested were charged with marijuana possession only.
REFERENCE: Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2001. Uniform Crime Report Crime in the United States, 2000. Table: Arrest for Drug Abuse Violations. U.S. Department of Justice: Washington, DC.
Almost 5 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana since 1992. That’s more than the entire populations of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington DC and Wyoming combined.
REFERENCE. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Uniform Crime Reports: Crime in the United States (1993-2000). Table: Arrest for Drug Abuse Violations. U.S. Department of Justice: Washington, DC.
Source: TALKING POINT #1