Reducing the Harms of Marijuana Prohibition

Marijuana arrests are the engine driving the U.S. war on drugs. Nearly half of all drug arrests each year are for marijuana-related offenses, the overwhelming majority of which are for personal possession. These arrests fall disproportionately on blacks and Latinos, even though white people use marijuana at similar rates. Many of those who are arrested are saddled with a criminal conviction that can make it difficult or impossible to vote, obtain educational loans, get a job, secure housing, or even adopt a child. Additionally, the huge number of marijuana arrests each year usurps scarce law enforcement, criminal justice, and treatment resources at enormous cost to U.S. taxpayers.
 
The Drug Policy Alliance works to reduce the number of marijuana related arrests and associated penalties through crafting and advocating for legislation removing or reducing criminal penalties, initiatives making marijuana arrests the lowest law enforcement priority, and community based policy changes.  
 
DPA also works to expose and reduce rampant, system-wide racial disparities in marijuana arrests. DPA has released reports documenting and detailing chilling disparities in New York City and across California and continues to raise awareness about the unique burden U.S. marijuana policy places on black and Latino communities.
 
Marijuana prohibition has also caused incalculable violence and destruction by fostering an illegal marijuana market.  Organized crime, drug cartels, and gangs are the greatest financial beneficiaries of marijuana prohibition. In Mexico, illegal marijuana sales have contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of lives.

New Report: 210,000 Marijuana Possession Arrests in Colorado in the Last 25 Years

Blacks and Latinos Disproportionately Arrested

Colorado Voters to Decide on Making Marijuana Possession Legal With November Vote

With just two weeks remaining before Colorado's voters decide whether to make marijuana possession legal in their state, a new report -- "210,000 Marijuana Arrests In Colorado, 1986-2010" -- reveals that more than 200,000 people have been arrested in Colorado since 1986.  Police made more than half of those marijuana arrests in just the last 10 years.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or marijuana.arrests@gmail.com

210,000 Marijuana Possession Arrests in Colorado, 1986 - 2010

October 25, 2012

This report reveals that more than 200,000 people have been arrested for marijuana possession in Colorado since 1986.  Police made more than half of those possession arrests in just the last 10 years.

Other key findings include:

  • Police made 108,000 marijuana possession arrests in just the last ten years.
  • African Americans and Latinos are less than a quarter (23%) of Colorado's residents, they made up more than a third (35%) of the people arrested for marijuana possession.

240,000 Marijuana Arrests: Costs, Consequences, and Racial Disparities of Possession Arrests in Washington, 1986 - 2010

October 11, 2012

This report reveals that nearly a quarter of a million people have been arrested in Washington for marijuana possession from 1986 to 2010.  Police made more than half of those marijuana arrests in just the last 10 years.

Other key findings include:

New Report: 240,000 Marijuana Possession Arrests in Washington State in the Last 25 Years

Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans Disproportionately Arrested; 25 Years of Arrests in WA Cost $300 Million or More

Washington Voters to Decide on Making Marijuana Legal With November Vote

With just three weeks remaining before Washington voters decide whether to make marijuana possession legal in their state, a new report -- "240,000 Marijuana Arrests: Costs, Consequences, and Racial Disparities of Possession Arrests in Washington" -- reveals that nearly a quarter of a million people have been arrested in Washington for marijuana possession since 1986.  Police made more than half of those marijuana arrests in just the last 10 years.

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or marijuana.arrests@gmail.com

Why is Marijuana Decriminalization Not Enough?

April 15, 2014

Decriminalization of marijuana possession is a necessary first step toward a more comprehensive reform of the drug prohibition regime. However decriminalization alone does not address many of the greatest harms of prohibition – such as high levels of crime, corruption and violence, massive illicit markets and the harmful health consequences of drugs produced in the absence of regulatory oversight.

Just a Slap on the Wrist? The Life-Changing Consequences of a Marijuana Arrest

April 15, 2014

Marijuana arrests are the engine driving the U.S. war on drugs. In 2012, there were 749,825 marijuana arrests in the U.S. – nearly half of all drug arrests. Almost 90 percent of these arrests were for simple possession, not sale or manufacture. Blacks and Latinos are arrested at vastly disproportionate rates, even though white people use and sell marijuana at similar rates. A marijuana arrest is no small matter – the arrest creates a permanent criminal record that can easily be found by employers, landlords, schools, credit agencies and banks.

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