Yes, you read that right. Nearly one million people in one year’s time were arrested for marijuana-related crimes in 2010. This accounts for roughly 52% of all arrests in the United States. That’s 100 pot arrests per hour, nationwide.
Are you shitting me? More than half of all US arrests are for possession of Marijuana! This data tells me a few things. First, it goes to show how popular marijuana has become. If 1 million people are getting arrested for it, you just know that there are millions upon millions more who haven’t been apprehended (myself included). This graph, courtesy of NORML, illustrates the increase in marijuana arrests over the years.
The graph not only shows an increase in marijuana use, but it also strongly suggests that law enforcement is cracking down on “offenders.” The amount of fines, summons, and jail time that law enforcement has doled out to marijuana users is, ironically, criminal. If law enforcement were truly winning the war on drugs, wouldn’t they expect to see a decline in the crime rate for marijuana-related offenses? (Take the murder rate for example: fewer arrests = fewer murders, right?)
The fact that marijuana arrests are steadily increasing over time is a clear-cut indicator that the war on cannabis has been a complete and utter failure. Research has begun to disprove ridiculous government propaganda claiming that marijuana is unsafe. As social (and in some states, legal) support for marijuana grows, law enforcement increasingly finds itself being backed into a corner. At some point, they will be forced to loosen their reigns on cannabis-related crimes. We must do our job as activists and get the word out. It is only through education and persistence that reform can be achieved.