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by Marijuana Policy Project
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marijuana arrests continued at near record levels in 2012, and the vast majority of them were for simple possession. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, an estimated 749,824 arrests were made nationwide for marijuana, more than 87% of which were for possession. This is a slight decrease from 2011. Marijuana arrests accounted for nearly half of all drug arrests last year.
The report also noted that 59.9% of rapes, 53.2% of all violent crimes, and 81% of property crimes reported in 2012 were unsolved or did not result in arrest.
These results show that one person is arrested for marijuana possession every 48 seconds on average in the United States. A Pew Research Poll released in April reported that a majority of Americans think marijuana should be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol.
“Instead of punishing and stigmatizing responsible adult marijuana users, we should be focusing on serious crime,” said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project in a statement released Tuesday. ”As a former prosecuting attorney myself, I believe it is irresponsible to squander our limited law enforcement resources on this disastrous public policy failure. That is especially true when so many violent crimes remain unsolved. Every second spent arresting and prosecuting adults for marijuana is time that could have been spent preventing and solving real crimes.”
“There is no greater waste of valuable taxpayer dollars than branding hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens as criminals simply for choosing to use a substance less harmful than alcohol. Given the fact that most Americans support taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol, I suggest our police and prosecutors find a better use of their time.”
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