Marijuana Arrests Drop for First Time Since 2002

Sep 14, 2009 , , , ,


U.S. marijuana arrests declined somewhat in 2008, according to figures released by the FBI today. According to the just-released Uniform Crime Reports, U.S. law enforcement made 847,863 arrests on marijuana charges last year, 89 percent of which were for possession, not sale or manufacture – more arrests for marijuana possession than for all violent crimes combined. One American was arrested on marijuana charges every 37 seconds.

Marijuana arrests peaked in 2007 at over 872,000, capping five years of all-time record arrests.

The new report comes on the heels of the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, released Sept. 10, which showed an increase in both the number and percentage of Americans who admit having used marijuana. In  2003, when marijuana arrests set what was then an all-time record of 755,186, 40.6 percent of Americans aged 12 and over said they had used marijuana. In 2008, that figure was 41 percent, or 102,404,000 Americans willing to tell government survey-takers that they had used marijuana.

Apparently, massive numbers of arrests didn’t curb marijuana use.

“This slight dip in the number of marijuana arrests provides a small amount of relief to the tens of millions of American marijuana consumers who have been under attack by their own government for decades,” said Marijuana Policy Project executive director Rob Kampia in a statement issued by MPP today. “It’s time to stop wasting billions of tax dollars criminalizing responsible Americans for using a substance that’s safer than alcohol, and to put an end to policies that simply hand this massive consumer market to unregulated criminals.”

To put that arrest figure in perspective, it’s equivalent to arresting every man, woman and child in the city of San Francisco – plus about 23,000 more people from nearby suburbs – in just one year. Do you feel safer?

42 responses to “Marijuana Arrests Drop for First Time Since 2002”

  1. I will not feel any safer untill there is a total of zero arrests for cannabis. The laws are changing so slowly but they are changing. Maybe next poll might show an even smaller number of arrests, never know!

  2. the figures for 2009 will be much lower since states have been decriminalizing and the feds were told to lay off a bit…. problem is, the money part of it is only a small reason to legalize it…. saving the earth is the big part of it…. renewable sources of almost everything for everyone…. average people could grow hemp on their land and humans would once again flourish on this wonderful plant and fix what we have done in the past century….. hmmmmm december 21, 2012… the end???? i say YES!! the end to what? i say its the end of the oil age! lets keep on pushing this issue, and dont concentrate on just the tax money because thats just a small bonus compared to the real reasons why it should be legal

  3. Oh YesYesYes! I feel so much safer now that so many non-violent cannabis users are in jail , let the murders and rapists and child molesters out so we have more room for these non violent dregs of the world. Gawd I love sarcasm!

    Just legalize it #2:
    I would like to think 2012 will be the end of many things, oil,corruption, the elitists walking on the backs of the meek. All it takes is for people of all walks of life to stand up and DEMAND! not ask .DEMAND these things come to an end and make those that would continue these thing pay. Wrong is wrong no matter how you twist the picture or spin your words.

    Maybe a serious up rising in this country would inspire the rest of the world to throw off their chains.

    Hear Us leaders of this great nation, Change your ways or they will be changed for you. No matter what you do or say , your time is up. We are coming.

  4. ive been reading the emeror wears no clothes….cause i just found out today its on jack herers website and its making me soooooooooo angry at our government…. cannabis prohibition is the biggest conspiracy in the history of humans…. ive only read 5 chapters so far and its like information overload… im gonna hafta read it over and over and jot down notes to use for debating with people… if you havnt read it or want to again its at

  5. There are many people of good will who post here, but guess what?

    Talk is cheap. You have a mouth, so USE IT!!! You have a computer and a video camera, so USE IT!!!! Take action. I did. I’m risking my career. What have you all risked????

    Make every election a 1 issue election: the legalization of cannabis!!

    Contact your local legislators and candidates for political office and demand that they state publicly their position on cannabis legalization. If they are for prohibition, make it clear to them that you will not vote for them. And if their opponent is also for prohibition, use the WRITE IN OPTION. Vote for someone else!!!!!!!!!

    This is the ONLY way things get done in this country.

    Venting on a public forum like this is the equivilent of “preaching to the choir”. You accomplish NOTHING!!!

  6. kudos #9 , we diffinetlly need to get more politically involed ,and mpp if you can post the people we should vote for around election it would be very helpfull , and thanks for everything you have done so far. peace.

  7. Perhaps 2012 will be the year of enlightenment. Or at least when the first seed is planted so to speak and sweet freedom starts growing strong and tall.

  8. c-#4:

    I was born in San Diego, and moved to Yakima, WA 22 years ago. The Mexicans already own San Diego, but they bought and paid for every bit of it! I grew up im a Mexican neighborhood (Otay) and all of my friends were Mexicans (I’m Irish–even worse). Back in 87 I( being “white” ) was a very small minority wherever I went, and most of the business owners were Mexicans. Say what you want about them, they do bring their own economy with them. Illegal weed is just people being resourceful and providing demand with a supply. I think common opinion misses the boat where the Mexicans are concerned, they are a huge, up-and coming population and culture. We may not always like it all, but our children and theirs are going to hook up and whole new races will be our grandkids. Besides, I have gotten some of my best weed ever from knowing mi amigos.

  9. what does it matter, this country will be no more b4 the actual lobbiests do their “sworn” part….wait 3 years…dont worry…ill be in prison by then…probably on possession charges…lol…not really lol

  10. What would this country be like today if instead of cannabis consumers, law enforcement had arrested as many people who committed crimes where there were actual victims? What a stupid and costly persuit of an insanely counterproductive policy.

  11. All pols should be rated for their stand on weed. But more important they should know that they are being rated for future elections. Copy the N.R.A.

  12. Mike #16, thanks for the link. Here’s the question I submitted:

    All credible research has proven that the prohibition of cannabis was founded on racism and capitalism, that cannabis is an effective medicine for a wide variety of illnesses AND a much safer recreational substance than proven legal killers like alcohol and tobacco. Legalization would be a huge finacial windfall for America’s economy, so why then, in light of these documented facts won’t you legalize it?

  13. Mark # 9 makes a good point about the futility of venting. MPP, can you point us to a link to a specific legislative plan that MPP is promoting, suitable for the rallying of interested readers? Just what would “legalization” look like? I think a concise, coherently stated plan is a good next step. What have you got?

  14. Mark @ 16.
    I’ve asked my question by not using the word marijuana, cannabis, or hemp, so that the question won’t get imediately stereotyped with a nervous laugh, I just want to asked the validy of the Control Substance Act of 1970 and why it has become an unchanging law by allowing the full trust of the federal drug enforcement angencies to do whatever it takes to win the “War on Drugs”?
    I want to hear what he says?

  15. Please visit our website to sign up or participate in California’s initiative to Legalize, Tax and Regulate Marijuana.

    This initiative may set the political momentum for the rest of the states do the same.

    Please tell your friends and family to get involved.

  16. Harvest Holly, Thank you for that video link. I am literally in tears from it. Its first very distrubing that the mom had to wait til her son was knockin on death’s door to resort to medical marijuana but its all worth it. I sent that video link in an email to EVERY congressman and congresswoman that is in my area….hope they have a heart…

  17. 3yr plan is a long time…..I dont want to wait that long….Im not trying to get arrested and that could happen in one of those 3 years!

  18. Here’s the question I posted to the ABC website for the President:

    Mr. President:

    Previously you have said “I think the basic concept that using Medical Marijuana in the same way, with the same controls, as other drugs prescribed by doctors… I think that’s entirely appropriate.”

    Mr. President why then have you not directed the Department of Health and Human Services and the Drug Enforcement Agency to reclassify marijuana appropriately? Can you name one person that has ever overdosed on cannabis?

  19. Hey all, here’s a link I just saw in the San Diego Craigslist to sign the California Tax & Regulate petition. Apparently this things been out since Sept. 9 or something!!! WTF why did I only hear about this now???

    Let’s all do something now!!!! If you’re not from Cali, then call someone who is!!! Thanks People 🙂

    Here’s the Link:

  20. Jeff Newman #34: Of course I think that marijuana and hemp should be legal (with marijuana regulated like alcohol) in California and elsewhere. The question is whether an initiative in 2010 is the best way to achieve that, given that all the polling thus far looks pretty marginal and the opposition will be intense. Many people think we would have a better chance of success in 2012. This is not an easy call.

  21. Bruce:

    Why would we not get all of our support out for the 2010 initiatives and if it doesn’t pass try again in 2012?

    The problem I see with waiting is that in two years California might not be experiencing the same Budget crisis and those who might support this initiative for that reason will be less likely to give it a second thought. If Mexico’s new decrim. law helps them to fight the cartels and they actually have some success you might lose some votes that would be concerned with the violence spreading over the borders.

    There was an article I read the other day that talked about the swinging pendulum (as it relates to the debate on marijuana legalization). Right now it seems as though the pendulum of public support is on our side, but in two years can you be sure that it will still be?

  22. How many Americans are currently incarcerated for the “crime” of smoking hemp? Don’t these people have mothers? Why not a “Million Mother March” on Washington D.C. in a crusade to end this evil war on the American people. The founding fathers of this once great land would not have put up with this shit. TO THE BARRICADES!!!

  23. If WE vote for our government officials and representatives, then it appears they believe marijuana is, for the most part, a “very dangerous drug”… They appear to also believe, that, any attempts to legalize it are part of a conspiracy to accept smoking of cannabis (or eating, as in brownies) on par with alcohol and tobacco. Trouble is there’s apparently a natural tendency of cannabis that it is nearly impossible to overdose on it… even water is potentially more harmful if consumed in excess. Pot? Time for a nap… If someone knows who enables insane laws like one can’t consume, grow or smoke pot, let me know. BTW… have you noticed how often customers at liquor stores buy cases of hard liquor… it’s the group of 4 or 5 21 yo’s that make me cringe. You know, many think marijuana is just one more vice too many. Fact is, those two legal vices are the on’s killing us off, not pot. Yet time and again, decriminalization of cannabis in one form or another is raised by politicians, and they quickly bury it… preferring it seems weeks of discussions about legalizing video slots/gambling, growing ‘switch-grass’ for bio-fuel, or what to do with prisons and where or what island can they ship sexual offenders off to. None of course because like removing either alcohol or tobacco, or coffee for that matter out of our society would mean chaos. Well we removed cannabis… welcome to our world of chaos!

  24. “None of course…” because they have no money… have to cut back on spending… without sacrificing the war on drugs. They can cut education, help for those without a job, or home, or facing eviction… they can spend trillions bailing out irresponcible financial firms, give billions to nuts who still owned clunkers, and well, I hope you get the idea. Best thing the gov’t could do is create a strain of cannabis that if inhaled would cause… —- the following has been censored by author under duress—-.

  25. … acceptance of a safer recreational drug as an alternative to those presently available and with far less tendency of addiction or harm to society.

  26. yeah,well here in north carolina we were just innundated with helicopter searches for two weekds,change we can believe in?we been hoodooed.this was on barrack’s watch.

  27. The only “change” in the “War on Drugs” is that Pres. Obama chose to drop the word “war”… I support Pres. Obama in fact, but not if it means a continuation of the infringement on adults using cannabis as an alternative to alcohol, or simply because one finds cannabis personally friendly. It’s Congress, the DEA, and other special interest powers that make sure cannabis Americans live without the protections of the US Constitution – a cannabis user’s right to pursuit of happiness, shall be infringed!

  28. “Arrests are down…” That’s great! However, I feel, American citizen and all, several degrees in HIGHer education, like a BA, and more, that there should be zero arrests for cannabis, aka marijuana. All of this should have been recognized and settled in the 1970’s… it was known then that cannabis wasn’t a criminal issue – Pres. Carter recognized that and made it clear – Americans should have the right to smoke or ingest cannabis, just as they should have the right to make their own home wine, and beer… and we do. But still, cannabis is a schedule 1 drug… while the true schedule ONE drug should be tobacco, with alcohol close behind. You want society to respect “authority”? Don’t underestimate the intelligence of the American public… and please get real about what society really needs to prosper… this question I pose may seem cute, but honestly, to you feel, if you’re a cat person, that cats need to be criminalized if they use catnip? Surprisingly, I know people who do. Our own bodies produce cannabinoid substances naturally… we’re all walking manufacturers of the very drug that is illegal. Use of any drug should come down to true science and biology… both alcohol and tobacco should be illegal… they’re not. Given that, any other recreational drug humans chose to use is a prejudice, unless backed by science. Several recreational drugs possess obvious serious risks… two legal ones, and a few illegal ones – cannabis is not one of these.

  29. Guy’s feel safer when weeds legalized! not treated like something else! We have to be proud and open about our use of weed! We all have to smoke in the open on one day! We need to grow a back bone and do a martin! We must stand up and demand change! This is the country where the government is suppost to listen, so let them hear!

  30. Prohibitionists need to get another hobby, one that does not include trying to run other peoples’ lives. The irony of it is that their Unconstitutional prohibition is part of the very failed drug policy that will continue to keep all illicit drugs readily available to their children, one of its many harmful counter productive realities. How do you spell stupid? P-R-O-H-I-B-I-T-I-O-N

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