Cannabis Countertrend: 1 Arrested Every 45 Seconds in USA
When it comes to the cannabis legalisation currently sweeping across the US, it wouldn’t be an outlandish thought to presume that it is resulting in a reduction in arrests. However, new figures show the exact opposite is happening, as states that have not legalised, and federal agents, crack down with a vengeance. According to these figures, 701,000 people were arrested for marijuana-related offences in 2014, meaning someone was arrested roughly every 45 seconds.
Of this figure, 88% were arrested for marijuana possession. When you put this into a timeframe, it means an someone was arrested every 51 seconds, simply for having a small amount of bud on them. It is a huge slap in the face of a fair society and highlights the sickening hypocrisy of the war on drugs; a war that is meant to hunt down dealers and eliminate supply, but actually persecutes users to devastating effect.
This is the highest marijuana related arrests have been since 2009, and is quite frankly absurd in a society that largely accepts the relative safety of cannabis, especially when compared to legal substances like alcohol and tobacco. The matter of the fact is, this is a huge display of wasted police resources, and has resulted in millions of ruined lives.
Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, had the following to say:
“While law enforcement was busy making nearly three-quarters of a million marijuana arrests, more than 35% of murders went unsolved, the clearance rate for rape was less than 40%, and for robbery and property crimes, it was below 30%.”
“As long as we have these silly laws on the books, law enforcement resources will be wasted on enforcing them. It’s time for state officials to step up and end the outdated policy of marijuana prohibition.”
It is a view now shared by many. Seven more US states are set to vote for the legalisation of marijuana in 2016, either for full regulation or decriminalisation. There is also a growing unrest amongst state law enforcement officials, who believe the disproportionate amount of time and effort they are forced to spend on hunting marijuana users is putting unnecessary strain on local communities, as well as their limited resources. As such, even many police forces and law makers want to see cannabis legalised.
The good news is that this high level of arrests is a trend that is unlikely to persist. Even the most conservative states are beginning to see the light, and there is a growing support in these states to at least decriminalise cannabis. We just have to wait for the politicians to catch up.