Police Made One Pot Arrest every 42 seconds in 2012
It’s hard to believe that police in the United States are making an arrest for pot possession every 42 seconds. That means police are spending time making criminals out of usually non-violent drug offenders rather than focusing on other more serious crimes.
In Baltimore, the pot arrest rate has not decreased and marijuana possession charges in Baltimore have actually increased. It is hard to justify the costs to society by spending police and court resources on marijuana charges. Not to mention the costs of criminalizing millions in our society and hampering their ability to get student loans, government assistance, and jobs with security clearances.
According to US News and World Report Most marijuana-related arrests were for possession of the drug. By mere possession, there was one marijuana arrest every 48 seconds in 2012. Including arrests for distribution, there was a pot-related arrest every 42 seconds, the same interval as in 2011. “Each one of those arrests is the story of someone who may suffer a variety of adverse effects from their interaction with the justice system,” said LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin, a former Maryland policeman, in a statement. “Commit a murder or a robbery and the government will still give you a student loan. Get convicted for smoking a joint and you’re likely to lose it.”
I was not surprised by this article as the documentary The House I Live In explores the societal costs of enforcing the drug war, and investigates the intrenched interests that keep the drug war alive such as the private prison industry. Everyone should watch this eye opening expose on our Drug War and Drug warriors. In Maryland, legislation to legalize marijuana passed in the Senate, but did not pass the House. Even though Maryland is liberal in many ways, we still have a long way to go until a person in Baltimore can use legal marijuana and not have to call a criminal defense drug lawyer for a pot arrest.
David D. Nowak, Esq.