Marijuana arrests are the engine driving the U.S. war on drugs. 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.
Student Was Smoking Pot at House Raided by DEA; Never Charged With Any Crime
Statement by Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance
Despite 750,000 Annual Marijuana Possession Arrests, Teens Consistently Report That Marijuana is Easier to Obtain Than Alcohol
Teen Cigarette Smoking Continues Dramatic Decline -- Demonstrating Success of Non-Criminal, Public Health-Based Approach
The 23rd annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) was released today, showing an increase in teen marijuana use and reductions in prescription drug misuse and especially cigarette smoking.
Smoking rates have declined with 22 percent of teens reporting smoking cigarettes in the past month – down 19 percent from 27 percent last year. Past-month usage of marijuana, though, grew from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent last year.
The following statement is from Jag Davies, publications manager at the Drug Policy Alliance:
Under Bloomberg, More Than 400,000 People Arrested on Low-Level Marijuana Charges in NYC, at a cost of over $600 Million; Most Are Black and Latino, Despite Whites Using Marijuana at Higher Rates
Illegal Searches and Bogus Misdemeanor Arrests Continue, Despite Order by Commissioner Kelly to Halt Unlawful Police Practices; Marijuana Arrests Are #1 Offense in NYC and Make up 15% of all Arrests
Under Bloomberg, More Than 400,000 People Arrested on Low-Level Marijuana Charges in NYC, At a Cost of More Than $600 Million; Most Are Young Blacks and Latinos, Despite Whites Using Marijuana at Higher Rates
Illegal Searches and Manufactured Misdemeanor Arrests Continue Despite Order by Commissioner Kelly to Halt These Unlawful Police Practices; Marijuana Arrests Are #1 Offense in NYC and Make Up 15% of All Arrests
More Than 400,000 People Arrested on Low-Level Marijuana Charges in NYC in the Past Decade; Most Are Young Blacks and Latinos, Despite Whites Using Marijuana at Higher Rates
2011 Arrests Cost Taxpayers Over $75 Million; Bloomberg Spends More Than $600 Million on Bogus Marijuana Arrests In Last Decade
NEW YORK – According to data just released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, the New York City Police Department continued their marijuana arrest crusade in 2011, surpassing 2010's near-record amount of low-level marijuana arrests. In 2011, the NYPD made more than 50,680 arrests for the lowest-level marijuana possession offense, making 2011 the second-highest period for marijuana arrests in New York City history.