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Ten Pennsylvania Counties Account For 60% Of The State’s Marijuana Possession Arrests In 2015


pennsylvania marijuana arrestsThere are 67 counties in Pennsylvania, and when it comes to marijuana possession arrests, not all counties are created equal in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia decriminalized the personal possession of marijuana and saved over one million dollars in the first year, and Pittsburgh recently passed a measure to do the same. There are other municipalities in Pennsylvania that are exploring the idea of decriminalizing personal marijuana possession rather than arresting people for it. So why are some Pennsylvania counties arresting people far more than other counties while some cities are decriminalizing the same behavior?

Chris Goldstein recently published an article on Philly.Com which looked at arrest data for 2015. He found that 10 out of the 67 counties in Philadelphia accounted for 60% of the state’s marijuana possession arrests in 2015. Those counties are as follows, per Chris’ article:

1- Allegheny County with 2,191 marijuana arrests or per capita, 177 for every 100,000 residents.

2- Montgomery County with 1,550 marijuana arrests or per capita, 191 for every 100,000 residents.

3- Bucks County with 1,010 marijuana arrests or per capita, 111 for every 100,000 residents.

4- Delaware County with 976 marijuana arrests or per capita, 174 for every 100,000 residents.

5- York County with 926 marijuana arrests or per capita, 211 for every 100,000 residents.

6- Chester County with 877 marijuana arrests or per capita, 172 for every 100,000 residents.

7- Philadelphia County with 858 marijuana arrests or per capita, 54 for every 100,000 residents.

8- Dauphin County with 822 marijuana arrests or per capita, 303 for every 100,000 residents.

9- Lehigh County with 706 marijuana arrests or per capita, 199 for every 100,000 residents.

10- Berks County with 618 marijuana arrests or per capita, 149 for every 100,000 residents.

I am not from Pennsylvania, nor have I ever been there, so I don’t know what local governments and law enforcement are like compared to other government and law enforcement in other areas. But math doesn’t lie, and it looks like some counties have a ‘prohibition problem’ that needs to be fixed. The momentum for marijuana reform is picking up in Pennsylvania, and change is on the way. Hopefully it comes to the above counties sooner than later, because they obviously need it. No one should ever be arrested for a plant!


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Johnny Green


  1. I live in Pennsylvania and I’m from Franklin County which is beside Adams County and I agree they need to just decriminalize smoke and stop putting people in jail for a plant that doesn’t kill nor cause harm to anyone around other then food going missing.. Hell alcohol has more DUIs in Pa then smoke.. And more deaths occur from alcohol and herion then anything.. So just let my plants go free and let us be so we can just enjoy our tree….

  2. Full legalization is the sanest path. Medical is the obstructionists preference. It has many more points that can be quibbled over. I never could understand the need to control other people’s lives.
    I suspect cutting the funding for the War on Drugs may have more impact on the rural counties.
    Let us grow for our own use.
    As an 11th generation Pennsylvanian stuck in Floriduh I’d love to see PA once again become as enlightened as when Willie Penn governed.

  3. Dauphin County is the worst- county with the highest arrest rates per capita, which is what you want to look for, not overall arrest rates.

  4. As a resident of Lehigh county (about an hour north of Philly, its the 3rd largest MSA in the state after Philly & Pittsburgh, I’m appalled the it made number nine on the list. Make no mistake, outside of Philly and Pittsburgh this is many local town’s “low-hanging-fruit”, source of revenue. Disgraceful!

  5. I’d be interested to know what’s different about Dauphin County. It’s got 303 arrests per 100K, which is 50% larger than any of the others and almost 6 times Philadephia’s rate of 54 per 100K.

  6. I am from Pennsylvania, and the counties on this list all are counties in the southeastern part of the state, sans Allegheny. Some of the more remote counties in the state in the north, west, or central areas of Pennsylvania aren’t as police state as when you approach the Philadelphia area. Money talks in a bankrupt state and the poor whites that live in remote counties get away with what the more affluent, more hip southeastern parts do not. City by city decriminalization is taking over Pennsylvania, forcing the legislators in remote counties to push medical cannabis which isn’t good, since the government chooses winners and losers, and you become a slave to the system, but it’s a start. Decriminalization state wide would be better, then recreational afterwards. Medical is a waste of time.

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