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DPA_Fact Sheet_Harms of Marijuana Criminalization

DPA_Fact Sheet_Harms of Marijuana Criminalization

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Published by: webmaster@drugpolicy.org on Feb 12, 2013
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Drug Policy Alliance | 131 West 33rd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10001nyc@drugpolicy.org | 212.613.8020 voice | 212.613.8021 faxPage 1
Just A Slap On The Wrist?
The Life-Changing Consequences of aMarijuana Arrest
December 2012A marijuana arrest is no small matter. Most peopleare handcuffed, placed in a police car, taken to apolice station, fingerprinted and photographed,held in jail for 24 hours or more, and thenarraigned before a judge. The arrest creates apermanent criminal record that can easily be foundon the internet by employers, landlords, schools,credit agencies and banks.
Marijuana arrests are the engine driving the U.S. waron drugs. Nearly half of all drug arrests every year arefor marijuana-related offenses, the overwhelmingmajority of which are for personal possession. Blacksand Latinos are arrested at vastly disproportionaterates, even though whites consume and sell marijuanaat similar rates. Many of those who are arrested aresaddled with a criminal conviction that can make itdifficult or impossible to vote, obtain educational loans,get a job, secure housing, or even adopt a child.Additionally, the huge number of marijuana arrestsevery year usurps scarce law enforcement, criminal justice and treatment resources at enormous cost toU.S. taxpayers.Public support for making marijuana legal has shifteddramatically in the last two decades, especially in thelast few years. In 2011, a Gallup poll found for the firsttime that 50 percent of Americans support makingmarijuana legal, with only 46 percent opposed.Majorities of men, 18-29 year-olds, 30-49 year-olds,liberals, moderates, Independents, Democrats, andvoters in Western, Midwestern and Eastern states nowsupport legalizing marijuana.Another 2012 poll, meanwhile, found that 74 percent ofAmericans believe personal marijuana use should bedealt with through alternatives to criminal penalties.
 Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not? 
%
 
No, illegal 
 
 %
Yes,
legal 
The Costs and Consequences of Prohibition
In 2010, there were 853,838 marijuana arrests in theU.S. – half of all drug arrests. Almost 90 percent ofthese arrests were for simple possession, not sale ormanufacture. There are more arrests for marijuanapossession every year than for all violent crimescombined.
1215162825252325313434364446504884817866707073736462646054504650
        1        9        6        9        1        9        7        2        1        9        7        3        1        9        7        7        1        9        7        9        1        9        8        0        1        9        8        5        1        9        9        5        2        0        0        0        2        0        0        1        2        0        0        3        2        0        0        5        2        0        0        9        2        0        1        0        2        0        1        1        2        0        1        2
46%6%48%
U.S. Drug Arrests, 2010
MarijuanaPossessionMarijuana Sales / ManufacturingAll Other DrugLaw Violations

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