NORML Thurston County will seek a lowest enforcement priority for marijuana arrests throughout the county.

Thurston County – August 24, 2012. Based on a study of marijuana arrests and associated costs throughout the county over the last ten years and released today by NORML Thurston County to elected officials and the public the group will seek to make lowest enforcement a priority for marijuana arrests in all jurisdiction of the county. The study is available on the web site Rose Eilts, NORML Thurston County Director, who is a CPA with over 20 years of experience, analyzed ten years of data from FBI Uniform Crime Reports, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Arrest Statistic Reports for the cities Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey Rainier, Tenino, Yelm, The Evergreen State College and the Nisqually Tribe. Between the year 2002 and 2011, there were at least 2,034 arrests in these jurisdictions. Of those arrests, 1,404 were for adult marijuana possession; 630 were for sales. Municipalities in Thurston County spent $18.5 million for 1,404 adult marijuana possession arrests. In releasing the report NORML Thurston County Director Rose Eilts said “These jurisdictions spent between $112,000 and $11.5 million on adult marijuana possession arrests during this time. Each of these jurisdictions should adopt a lowest enforcement policy towards adult personal use of marijuana. A single arrest for possession can result in a lifetime of collateral consequences, making it difficult to get a job, find a place to live, or even open a bank account. There are better uses for our tax dollars.” Ms. Eilts also conducted an analysis of the 10 municipalities in WA State that made the most adult marijuana possession arrests in 2010 and the cost of those arrests. Included in the list are Tacoma, Lynnwood, Pierce County, Kennewick, Richland, Bellevue, Yakima, Lakewood, Bellingham and Kitsap County. These municipalities spent between $384,000 - $6.6 million for adult possession arrests in 2010. Washington State arrested 9,724 people for marijuana offenses in 2010; of those 8,579 were simply for possession. A lowest enforcement policy directs law enforcement to make activities related to the investigation, citation, and/or arrest of adult cannabis users their lowest law enforcement priority. Cities such as City of Seattle, WA; Tacoma, WA; Hailey, ID; Hawaii County, HI; Denver, CO; West Hollywood, CA; San Francisco, CA; Oakland, CA and others have had success in adopting lowest enforcement priority policies. As former president Jimmy Carter acknowledged thirty years ago, "Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use". For this study, Thurston County Sheriff’s Department was unable to provide adult arrest data for the years 2002 – 2006. County Sheriff’s Office have indicated those statistics are not available.
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NORML Thurston County is affiliated with NORML Washington. NORML -National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws- supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession and responsible use of marijuana by adults. For more information, see Norml Thurston County’s web-site: and like the Norml Thurston County page on Facebook. ### Contact: Rose Eilts Normlthurston at 7205A Martin Way East, #115 Olympia, WA 98516-5535

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