US Marijuana Party

Saturday, May 21, 2005

New from The Sentencing Project

A new publication from The Sentencing Project

The War on Marijuana: The Transformation of the War on Drugs in the 1990s (PDF)

Key findings include:

§ Of the 450,000 increase in drug arrests during the period 1990-2002, 82% of the growth was for marijuana, and 79% was for marijuana possession alone;

§ Marijuana arrests now constitute nearly half (45%) of the 1.5 million drug arrests annually;

§ Few marijuana arrests are for serious offending: of the 734,000 marijuana arrests in 2000, only 41,000 (6%) resulted in a felony conviction;

§ Marijuana arrests increased by 113% between 1990 and 2002, while overall arrests decreased by 3%;

§ New York City experienced an 882% growth in marijuana arrests, including an increase of 2,461% for possession offenses;

§ African Americans are disproportionately affected by marijuana arrests, representing 14% of marijuana users in the general population, but 30% of arrests;

§ One-third of persons convicted for a marijuana felony in state court are sentenced to prison;

§ One in four persons in prison for a marijuana offense – an estimated 6,600 persons – can be classified as a low-level offender;

§ An estimated $4 billion is spent annually on the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of marijuana offenders.


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