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Marijuana Arrests Still Increasing In 17 States


asset forfeiture marijuana arrestMarijuana arrests have plummeted in Washington State and Colorado since they legalized marijuana. If/when Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. legalize marijuana next month, I’d expect marijuana arrests to drop there as well. However, while many states are seeing a decrease in marijuana arrests due to legalization or decriminalization, there are still many states that are seeing an increase in marijuana arrests. Per the Huffington Post:

While marijuana arrests have been decreasing in many states, in two-thirds of the states actually, in 17 states marijuana arrest rates have been increasing by at least an average of 1% annually from 2008 to 2012. Of these 17 jurisdictions, 12 had an annual increase greater than 2% and 8 greater than 3% per year. Collectively they account for 28.8% of the population of the United States and 44.6% of the arrests for marijuana offenses.

These states and their annual average increases are South Carolina (11.6%), Washington, DC* (7.7%) South Dakota (7.7%), North Dakota (5.5%), Utah (4.5%), Illinois* (4.3%), Montana (3.5%), Idaho (3.2%), Virginia (2.6%), New York (2.4%), New Jersey (2,4%), Oregon (2.1%), Tennessee (1.7%), Wisconsin (1.2%), Vermont (1%), Michigan (1%), and West Virginia (1%). (*The Washington, DC and Illinois data are for the period 2008 to 2011.)

Those marijuana arrest numbers break my heart. No one should ever be arrested for a plant that is safer than alcohol. No jail bed should ever be occupied by someone that has been arrested for marijuana instead of the jail bed being reserved for a violent criminal. It’s time every state took a new approach to marijuana laws.


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Johnny Green


  1. Contrary to Kevin Sabet’s presentation that no one gets arrested in Oregon, please note that Oregon, with legalization on the ballot and a full med cannabis program, it is still increasing in numbers of arrests. Do the Oregon Police still have a crusade to carry on? what is with this???

  2. This is because they want to get as much drug money siezers as they can before marijuana become legal in there states.
    Since marijuana probition has always been based on big money and corruption. This is just one more reason for our states to hurry up and legalize .

  3. In states that have legalized. I support the use of Cop-cams on the officers. This is good public policy for everyone.

  4. Although I disagree with you regarding “term limits”. you make a great point about the need for rescheduling marijuana. I haven’t given up on the President to eventually do the right thing regarding this matter. Perhaps after the mid-terms and closer to the end of his Presidency. That’s when I expect to see many changes including action on climate change and the designation of new public lands.

  5. Beware rouge cops who disagree with new state drug policies. We recently had a rouge cop in Seattle. The city recently overturned his tickets, mainly for public use ( Public use is a $25 fine in Seattle where there is supposed to be a warning first, which he did not adhere to). They eventually also fired him. Just say’n.

  6. I disagree, as I’ve seen nothing to show what political result would occur without an organization like NORML. If you can provide such numbers I’d gladly look at them

  7. Lets remember my oldest friend martin. He was busted in New Orleans with a joint in his front pocket. His only other offense? A roach an Oklahoma state tropper once found in his car ashtray ( one he’d forgotten, like the pocket joint). Well, he’s still down on the “Hoe Line” at Angola Prison Farm. Thank goodness it’s starting to cool somewhat along the levee’s in the cane fields down in South Louisiana. I often think of him there. He’s served three years. He has seven to go. Remember him when you tell your young friends that voting REALLY does matter!

  8. Good luck! Since you moved from a cold weather State such as Wisconsin, that should help you acclimate to Colorado’s frigid winter’s. For those wanting less cold temperature’s albeit with more clouds and misty rain, Western Washington would be a better pick (not to mention the difference in culture and progressive politic’s between the two states)

  9. HmmmSaysDavidHume on

    Yeah, in the more heavily populated states, the law of large numbers
    makes it hard to grow the figures too much. After all, there are only so many black and brown skinned people to chase. When your arrest baseline is 700,000, like it is in New York, its hard to find many more on a stop-n-molest.

    The Illinois figures will be interesting once they come out. In Chicago, police have the *option* of a ticket. But they love chasin’ gangsters today as much as they did during alcohol Prohibition, so my guess is the figures will stay flat or continue to rise.

    That’s what you do when you see yourself as morally superior to another person different from you.

  10. Funny how in all it’s years,NORML has utterly FAILED it’s mission of normalizing US cannabis laws.
    What a useless outfit is NORML,

  11. pretty sure that its only the city of Philly that’s decriminalized(in PA). would be nice if it was the whole state, though.

  12. Make each officer carry their own liability insurance with a three strikes rule. Three paid claims and you are uninsurable, unhireable even for private security

  13. Fortunately NY, NJ, Pennsylvania are now decriminalization zones, so the arrests should taper off.

  14. It will always be about the money. I have towed cars for 21 years and in them 21 years over 20% of the vehicles I have towed have been for cannabis. From as small as a seed or roach to as big as hundreds of pounds. People I am not talking about just police impounds when I say 20% I am saying 20% of all the vehicles i have towed. When the police impound a vehicle the tab starts. 1st Impound fee and that’s if you even get your vehicle back and depending on the state you may be forced to pay the impound fee in order to get your licence back and never get your vehicle back. 2nd court cost. 3rd bond. 4th lawyer fees. 5th more court cost because every time the reset your court date you pay. 6th jail every day you sit in jail you have to pay if you do not pay for your days you are in jail then the ad them to your court fees. 7th in most states you loose your licences for 1 year per charge even if you where not in a vehicle. 8th depending on the state you can apply for hard ship more money. 9th Insurance once you have lost your licence you will knead a special insurance even more money. The days lost at work that’s if your job does not fire you. 10th its now on your record and your future is shot to shit no one will hire you because the insurance company’s say the are not allowed. 11th then you spend even more money to get it sealed or expunged or a with hold. Guess what it still shows. 12th probation fees. house arrest fees. Yes you will pay for the state to monitor you. I can go on and on about how deep the pot is the thing is until the people stand for there rights and not allow the government or local police and court to make are chooses for us we will always live under the thumb of others.

  15. We’re still waiting for the president to come through on his promise to declassify cannabis and call off the federal raids. These things would have a huge, positive impact on the way law enforcement agencies around the country do business. They could actually focus on criminal drug-related issues rather than wasting time busting someone for having a joint securely locked in the glove box of their vehicle.
    In addition, the news agencies need to take the effort, and it wouldn’t take much, to interview legal, as in medical cannabis card holders, about the way the medicine is helping them as opposed to the horrendous side effects experienced from using prescription pain medications. And they don’t need to creep down dark alleyways in the middle of the night to find card holders, they’ll find them functioning every day in the real world as “regular” appearing folks.
    It’s definitely time to drop the “stoner” or “Woodstock” stereotyped appearance routinely associated with cannabis users.
    As I’ve stated many times before, Term Limits is more necessary now than ever before. We don’t need career politicians, they need to return to the real world they were actively involved in creating for us.

  16. To me the amazing thing about the perception of Cannabis is that after almost 80 years of nonstop “Reefer Madness” propaganda it’s losing its receptive audience. Unfortunately the culture of the ‘boys in blue’ is very resistant to change. I don’t know the total number of the members of L.E.A.P. but I imagine their members are having at least as hard a time as women, minority ethnicities, and non traditional sexual identities. The solution to part of this problem is re-integration of their culture into the mainstream. They need to rid themselves of this ‘Us versus Them’ attitude. The present position of our servers and protectors is akin to the tail trying to wag the dog.

  17. These “Cop Shops” that are still busting people may be for dual reasons. #1 A lot of cops say that they are christian and there is a lot of the christians are against pot. #2 Due to the “Drug War” police shops across the nation are bulging with employees that were added to fight the “War” and they are feeling like their jobs will be threatened with termination or layoffs. Pot busts brings money into the police,courts,bail bondsmen, and storage lots for the confiscated cars. They know that this money will dry up when legalization occurs and they are “making hay while the sun shines”

  18. For these states still clinging to the past. Change is their greatest fear. Having to restructure not just their legal system but even their mind set. For too long the whole perception of a cannabis users has been ingrained as parasite of society , outcast, an evil that must be combatted at all costs. Even when they knew the propaganda were lies. They have built a whole system around that theme. It’s rare the headlines are” Honored church going grandmother of 6 arrested for cultivating cannabis for personal use”. It’s a 67 year old female suspect arrested for trafficking marijuana. We not only have un-program law enforcement from years of living a lie. Also the media and politicians. Needless to say it’s going to take sometime.

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