AN ONLINE LIBRARY ABOUT MARIJUANA POSSESSION ARRESTS,
RACE AND POLICE POLICY IN NEW YORK CITY AND BEYOND
Race and Marijuana Arrests, USA
• U.S. MARIJUANA ARRESTS 1965-2010
Infamously, America’s federally created Cannabis Prohibition marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this August 2, 2012. The so-called ‘great failed social experiment’ of Alcohol Prohibition of the 1920s barely lasted a dozen years in effect. Rightly, it took a constitutional amendment to both ban and restore alcohol products to the free market. Is there a similar constitutional amendment for cannabis products in 1937?
No, of course not.
And that is where the sophistry, hypocrisy and duplicity begin regarding America’s modern cannabis policy of vilifying, arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating cannabis consumers, cultivators and marketers.
Even though virtually every other country’s farmers have the choice whether or not to cultivate industrial hemp, even in countries where cannabis policy is decidedly worse than America’s, can American farmers prosper from cultivating this environmentally-friendly and productive crop?
No, of course not.
Do Americans support this failed, expensive and unconstitutional public policy of criminalizing cannabis?
No, of course not.
It can be readily stated, based on public opinion surveys and focus groups, that three quarters of Americans strongly support cannabis’ soft reforms: medical access and decriminalization of small amounts for personal use. And now, according to Gallup polling, fifty percent of Americans now want cannabis legally controlled in a manner similar to far more dangerous, problematic, addictive and readily available commercial products such as alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals.
Most every governmental commission convened has recommended that at minimum cannabis be decriminalized for adult possession; the federal government can proffer no data or statistics indicating that their war against cannabis consumers has had any success whatsoever; America’s national security and borders are made less—not more—secure because of Cannabis Prohibition.
In response to the federal failure, currently seventeen states and the District of Columbia have chosen to abandon the federal government’s scientifically absurd and inhumane prohibition on sick, dying and sense-threatened patients who’ve permission from their physician to have cannabis in their therapeutic arsenal for relief, safety, affordability and efficacy.
Additionally, fourteen states and numerous large municipalities have rejected the federal government’s blanket prohibition on cannabis and decriminalized possession.
This election cycle, the voting public will once again have the opportunity to put serious political and economic upward pressure on a totally recalcitrant U.S. Congress and Executive Branch to end the national prohibition on cannabis when no less than five states have either binding legalization or medicalization voter ballot initiatives.
Regrettably, regardless of the political party in control or whomever president, will Congress even hold lowly sub-committee hearings to finally start the process of reforming the federal government’s out-of-touch cannabis policies?
No, of course not.
Can Cannabis Prohibition continue to prevail in a free market oriented democracy like America, where approximately one out of eight citizens are considered ‘criminals’ by their own government?
This supposed ‘criminal’ activity is nothing more than consumers making the completely logical and rational consumer decision to use an ancient herb that the DEA’s own chief law judge ruled “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume… Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”
No, of course not.
Can this terribly wasteful, destructive, distracting, unsuccessful, constitution-warping status quo regarding Cannabis Prohibition fester much longer in America?
No, of course not.
This is made all the more difficult for American politicians to continuously embrace ‘Reefer Madness’ as more and more countries around the world—notably in Europe, Central and South America—are expressing severe frustration with America’s failed Cannabis Prohibition policies and law enforcement priorities. Currently, as many as eight countries in the Americas have pending legislation or litigation seeking to legalize cannabis in defiance of the United States.
Lastly, after all these decades of government oppression, bogus science, racist law enforcement and some industries making fortunes off of Cannabis Prohibition (think: private prisons, drug testing companies, contraband detection companies, etc…), can the cannabis plant legalize itself?
No, of course not.
Please help end Cannabis Prohibition in America (and therein around most of the world too). Please help legalize the remarkable, utilitarian, affordable and safe cannabis plant. Please do not vote for any politicians who want to continue with another seventy-five years of Cannabis Prohibition. Please join and donate to any cannabis law reform organization.Please get involved in your own liberation.
Can we succeed if we all work together in concert to end Cannabis Prohibition?
Yes, of course.
Our government spends more than $7 billion annually to enforce marijuana prohibition in shockingly cruel ways, but the efforts have not deterred marijuana use.... America’s legal system continues to treat the plant as if the 1920s propaganda film Reefer Madness were true. In the United States -- where a marijuana arrest occurs every 42 seconds, on average -- the war on pot has disastrous consequences for its victims. Here are 10 of the most shameful examples in which the crime – related to weed -- does not even come close to matching the punishment.
1. 55 Years in Prison for $350 of Pot...
2. Cops Pose as High-Schoolers and Ruin Kids' Lives....
3. Life Sentence for Medication....
4. Snatching the Weed-Grower’s Children....
5. School Loans Suspended for Pot Pipe....
6. Five Years for MS Sufferer....
8. Mother of Four Gets 12 Years for $31 Sale....
9. Life in Prison for the Middleman....
10. The Commonality of Life for Pot
Two of the most well-known and politically savvy Democrats in the country -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel -- recently came out in favor of decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.... In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly quickly got in line with the governor.
In both New York and Chicago, while whites, blacks and Latinos possess and use marijuana at roughly equal rates, the people arrested for possession of pot are overwhelmingly black and Latino. The proposed changes would make an enormous difference in communities of color and in the lives of thousands of others. They would no longer face life-altering, dream-killing criminal charges for conduct that more than 40% of Americans have engaged in at one point in their lives.
But the larger significance of Cuomo's and Emmanuel's stance lies in what it says about the direction of the Democratic Party, national politics and mainstream acceptance of marijuana reform.
Andrew Cuomo is widely regarded as one of the most politically astute Democratic politicians of his generation. He very likely has his eye on a presidential run in 2016. Everything he does can be (and is, by those who pay close attention to these things) viewed in that light.... Rahm Emmanuel is also known as a savvy politician.... He is nothing if not mindful of how the political winds are blowing....
So Cuomo's and Emmanuel's positions on marijuana decriminalization have a weather vane-like quality: they demonstrate that the national tide has turned on marijuana reform. If they have decided there is no political downside to decriminalizing marijuana, the debate has shifted significantly, and likely permanently....
Around the country, similar change is afoot. In a recent, hotly contested Democratic primary for Oregon attorney general, the state's medical marijuana law was a defining campaign issue. The candidate who supported the program and argued that marijuana enforcement should be a low law enforcement priority in general won big over a more traditional law-and-order candidate endorsed by prosecutors and sheriffs. In Texas last month, a first-time congressional candidate who endorsed marijuana legalization defeated an eight-term incumbent in El Paso's 16th congressional district.
Republicans remain more conservative on marijuana reform — at least in public (privately, many will say they think marijuana should be completely legal). But Americans in general have shifted on this issue: For the first time, support for marijuana legalization topped 50% nationwide last year, according to Gallup, and a recent Mason-Dixon poll found that 67% of Republicans believe that the federal government should get out of the way and let states enforce their own medical marijuana laws, rather than prosecute people complying with state law. And in another telling example of "weed-is-the-new-gay," young people, likely including Republicans as well as Democrats, overwhelmingly support complete marijuana legalization.
As marijuana reform becomes a mainstream position, Republican candidates and elected officials will find it is less and less of a political third rail. Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Emmanuel are showing them the future.
Jill Harris is managing director of strategic initiatives for Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance.
September 19th, 2011. By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
Police made 853,838 arrests in 2010 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The arrest total is among the highest ever reported by the agency and is nearly identical to the total number of cannabis-related arrests reported in 2009. According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (52 percent) of all drug arrests in the United States. An estimated 46 percent of all drug arrests are for ... marijuana possession.
“Today, as in past years, the so-called ‘drug war’ remains fueled by the arrests of minor marijuana possession offenders, a disproportionate percentage of whom are ethnic minorities,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said... “It makes no sense to continue to waste law enforcements’ time and taxpayers’ dollars to arrest and prosecute Americans for their use of a substance that poses far fewer health risks than alcohol or tobacco.”
Of those charged with marijuana law violations, 750,591 (88 percent) were arrested for marijuana offenses involving possession only.... Overall, law enforcement agents nationwide arrested 1,638,846 people last year for drug abuse violations, surpassing arrests for all other crimes. Since 2000, law enforcement have reported making an estimated 7.9 million arrests for marijuana violations.
"In Past Two Years, More Americans Arrested For Pot Than All Other Drugs Combined"
by Russ Belville, Examiner.com September 19, 2011
The 2010 FBI Uniform Crime Report has been released today and for the second year in a row, marijuana arrests make up a majority of all arrests in the "War on Drugs".... 63.5% of all drug arrests in the Midwest are for marijuana use (53.9%) and cultivation (9.6%). The South also makes more arrests for marijuana possession
(51.5%) than any other drug charge.
A new FBI report released today shows that there is a drug arrest every 19 seconds in the U.S. A group of police and judges who have been campaigning to legalize and regulate drugs pointed to the figures showing more than 1.6 million drug arrests in 2010 as evidence that the "war on drugs" is a failure that can never be won. Today's FBI report ... shows that 81.9 percent of all drug arrests in 2010 were for possession only, and 45.8 percent of all drug arrests were for possession of marijuana.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents and others.... At http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com
One of the truly bizarre arguments that prohibitionists often use is that not that many people are in prison for drug possession (or marijuana possession).... It’s a lie. There are many people in prison for possession. But it’s also a lie because it pretends that federal prison is the only significant penalty for our enforcement-heavy drug policy. A “mere” drug arrest (as over 1.6 million people experience each year) for many can mean the loss of their job, their career, their pension, their savings, or their family.
"750,000 People Arrested for Simple Marijuana Possession. And For What?" by Morgan Fox, Marijuana Policy Project, September 20, 2011
How do they justify the arrests of more than 853,000 people for marijuana-related violations in 2010? That’s one person arrested every 19 seconds.... A remarkably small number of people who may have distributed marijuana were arrested last year, along with three quarters of a million simple users.... There were more arrests for marijuana possession than for all violent crimes.
Drug arrests were the single largest category of arrests, accounting for more than 10% of all arrests in the country.... African-Americans continue to be arrested for drug offenses in disproportionate numbers. Blacks accounted for 31.8% of all drug arrests last year, while according to the US Census Bureau, they constitute only 12.6% of the national population.... "This shows that, contrary to what Obama and Kerlikowske say, the war on drugs is not over," said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance.... "Federal money absolutely subsidizes state and local drug arrests by funding programs like the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program and the COPS program."
Nationwide, law enforcement made an estimated 13,120,947 arrests (except traffic violations) in 2010. Of these arrests, 552,077 were for violent crimes and 1,643,962 were for property crimes. The highest number of arrests were for drug abuse violations (estimated at 1,638,846 arrests), driving under the influence (estimated at 1,412,223), and larceny-theft (estimated at 1,271,410).