Police made 853,838 arrests in 2010 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. […]
Overall, law enforcement agents nationwide arrested 1,638,846 people last year for drug abuse violations, surpassing arrests for all other crimes.
Since 2000, law enforcement have reported making an estimated 7.9 million arrests for marijuana violations.
Here is the full report.
Of course, this puts the lie to the Drug Czar’s claims that the war on drugs is over, and his insistence that:
“As someone who has spent their entire career in law enforcement, I know we cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem.” NSDUH, September 8, 2011
“History has taught both of our nations that we must support robust and comprehensive drug policies which recognize we cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem” Meeting with Sweden, March 21, 2011
“We can’t arrest our way out of this situation,” Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske told a crowd at the University of Charleston on Friday. West Virginia, February 25, 2011
“I will tell you what it should be. And they talked about it often. And that is, we are not going to arrest our way out of this situation, that we need to be, not soft on drugs or soft on crime, but we need to be smart on drugs.” PBS, December, 2010
“Director Ivanov recognizes that a balanced strategy within Russia is as important as we recognize here within the United States, that just as I’ve heard quoted in the Russian press that we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem in that country, we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem in the United States.” May 12, 2010
“We can’t arrest our way out of the situation,” Kerlikowske said. “What we’re doing now just isn’t sustainable.” Pasadena, March 1, 2010
… You get the idea. He even said it before he got the job!
“Chief Kerlikowske has readily acknowledged that we can’t ‘arrest our way out’ of these challenges and that new responses are needed.” February 11, 2009
You can say it all you want, Gil (in fact, google results for “kerlikowse” and “arrest our way” yields thousands of results), and you can claim that you’ve ended the war on drugs, and you can claim that you’re pursuing a balanced approach, but the truth is that you are part of a system that is arresting 1.6 million people a year for drug offenses.
One of the truly bizarre arguments that prohibitionists often use is that not that many people are in prison for drug possession (or marijuana possession) and so therefore I guess we shouldn’t be so upset or something (I’ve never really understood the argument).
Of course, it’s a lie. There are many people in prison for possession. But it’s also a lie because it pretends that federal prison is the only significant penalty for our enforcement-heavy drug policy. A “mere” drug arrest (as over 1.6 million people experience each year) for many can mean the loss of their job, their career, their pension, their savings, or their family.