One drug arrest every 18 seconds in the U.S.

LEAP reports on the new FBI numbers released today.

The data, from the FBI’s “Crime in the United States” report, shows that in 2008 there were 1,702,537 arrests for drug law violations, or one drug arrest every 18 seconds.

“In our current economic climate, we simply cannot afford to keep arresting more than three people every minute in the failed ‘war on drugs,'” said Jack Cole, a retired undercover narcotics detective who now heads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “Plus, if we legalized and taxed drug sales, we could actually create new revenue in addition to the money we’d save from ending the cruel policy of arresting users.”

That’s about like arresting the entire population of Vermont, Washington DC, and Wyoming. Every year.

Update: Just to clarify, the figure above is for all drug arrests, not just marijuana arrests. Arrests numbers actually went down slightly, although they’re still the second highest in history.

  2007 2008
Marijuana Arrests 872,721 847,863
All Drug Arrests 1,841,200 1,702,537
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17 Responses to One drug arrest every 18 seconds in the U.S.

  1. Buc says:

    No wonder the support for the drug war has gone down so drastically. Who doesn’t know somebody who has been affected by it?

  2. Mike R says:

    Using $10,400 (a NORML 2005 post) as the average totla cost of a marijuana arrest, that means in 2008 we racked up a bill of:


    Seventeen billion, seven hundred and six million, three hundred and eight four thousand and eight hundred dollars.

    I can’t even comprehend that number, but I know it’s an awful lot.

  3. truthtechnician says:

    This number has been increasing and shows no sign of slowing down.

  4. BruceM says:

    Eventually there won’t be anyone left to work as prison guards. Surely less than one person every 18 seconds is freed or otherwise released from custody. So if financial insustainability won’t work to end drug prohibition, then maybe having no people left to work as prison guards will. Though we’ll probably just eventually adopt the “self-guarding” prisons they use down in some south american countries. They dump some food and water in every day or two, no guards are inside the prison, and if you go over the fence you get shot. Only takes a dozen or so guards to “run” a prison with 5,000 inmates (designed for 650 inmates). Hell on earth. All because you touched the wrong leaf…

    But 18 arrests a second should show you why law enforcement and the prison industry is opposed to ending prohibition as health insurance companies are to having healthcare reform. It’s called “vested financial interest.”

  5. ezrydn says:

    Last year, we were wailing about an arrest total of 800K. In one year, they’ve doubled that amound to 1.7M. So, tell me, what happens when the cops and judges are the only ones on the outside? You know, the REAL crooks!

  6. kaptinemo says:

    From Horse’s Ass comes a link which leads to a study in hypocrisy: A ‘drug free workplace’ promoter gets busted for growing. One of the ‘every 18 seconds’. Tick. Tick. Tick…

  7. ezrydn, the 1.7 million figure includes *all* drug arrests — the 800k figure is for pot arrests

  8. Cliff says:

    I wonder if any economist has done a study regarding the lost opportunity dividends due to taking people out of the workforce (or forcing them out with certain drug testing).

    People who are tainted by the drug felon label are also barred from many licensed professions and other job opportunities, with good livings and benefits. Now someone with a good education, but is a drug felon has to work for $10 / hr or less and that’s if he or she can find a frikkin’ job.

    Now load this lost revenue on the backs of those who are already paying for law enforcement and the prison industrial complex and you can see where I am going with this.

    As more people get loaded into the prison industrial complex the higher the burden for the ‘good citizens’ who have escaped scrutiny, for now at least.

    Prohibitionists can’t have it both ways. The war on certain drugs is economically unsustainable and is absolutely unaffordable for the USA. Do the frikkin’ math, the numbers will not lie and will not respond to rhetoric. The numbers are like the Terminator cyborgs, they will not stop, they don’t care about the children and they will never lie.

  9. claygooding says:

    1. Cannibus has shown in 4 studies to be a cancer blocking agent and a cure for some forms of cancer. The pharmaceutical
    companies don’t have any legal cancer blocking medicines,and no cures for any cancer,only treatments.

    2. There have now been 33 clinical studies done in the US that show marijuana is a safe and viable medicine. It is still a Schedule I drug,with no medical applications.

    3. The Attorney general announced that there was to be a change in policy regarding Justice Department prosecution of legitimate medical marijuana dispensaries. The House Ways and Means committee asked the Justice Department for clarification of the new policy so they could adjust the budgets for the changes in policy. We have been waiting for clarification now for seven months,and we,and the W& M
    committee has been waiting for 3 months for an answer. Still,only silence and the continued raids on medical clinics,and patients.

    And here is what Kay Bailey Hutchison thinks about legalizing medical marijuana:

    Dear Friend:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the medical use of marijuana. I welcome your thoughts and comments on this issue.

    Currently, marijuana is classified in the Schedule I category under the Controlled Substances Act. These substances have no accepted medical use in the United States and have a high potential for abuse, which legally restricts them from being used for any reason, including medicinal purposes.

    Researchers have found marijuana use can adversely affect brain activity and the respiratory system, lead to increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and impair critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning. In addition, the harmful chemical in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been linked to low birth weight and impaired motor development in children whose mother’s used marijuana. While I am supportive of a patient’s right to pursue all legally available options for medical treatment, I therefore am opposed to any effort legalizing the use of marijuana.

    I appreciate hearing from you and hope you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue of concern to you.

    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    United States Senator

  10. ezrydn says:

    Looks like Kay needs to be hooked up with some more current information. That’s the best parrot mimic I’ve read in a long time.

    She also drops the ball by not understanding that she/people like her, made it Schedule i and she/people like her, can move it or drop it all together.

    So many fallacies in such a short message.

  11. allan420 says:

    All this is why I’m going to give my kids a drug test.

    A few of their friends are being given home pee test by their parents. So… I talked to my daughter about it and said “baby, I’m going to give you a drug test. I know, I know… but trust me, in today’s climate we have to know where we stand.” I then told her that her drug test will be a mix of multiple choice and true and false questions, with an essay question that has to be answered with a minimum of 1,000 words.

  12. DdC says:

    Surely less than one person every 18 seconds is freed or otherwise released from custody.

    95% cop a plea bargain and pay piss tasters to sample them once a week. They pay probation costs and sometimes faith based rehabs. About anything to avoid potential mandatory minimum sentencing if a jury not of your peers and 404 gag ruled from having the word “medicinal” in their vocabulary. So basically you’re a dope dealer no matter what. If you choose to defend yourself then the not even American owned, private prisons for profit, do profit and pay taxes and rarely miss with the system. Its about perpetuating the war not winning or losing. “Treating” crime and health, not Preventing or Curing it. War = No Profits. Police Action = big bucks… Mission Accomplished. Wars Over! No war money in Peace.

    Triple Jeopardy when the county finds you innocent then the state finds you innocent now its the Feds turn and they usually win, rare exceptions like Ed Rosenthal, working in conjunction with the City of Oakland is maybe why. I guess Morrow Bay doesn’t have the clout of then Mayor Jerry Brownose for the Prison Industrial Complex. In other words its a sham. A ponzi scheme to make money prohibiting Ganja and Hemp mostly. Addicts and alcoholics make up 80% of the police cases, as informants. Those cutting a deal to avoid cages turning in sick people or healthy people not bothering anyone. The $300 million in hemp products sold last year was not grown by American farmers, raising the costs importing, and still a growing market.

    Hemp clothing doesn’t require 90 million pounds of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers as the US cotton does. Its stronger and softer so if it was grown locally each town could replace a lot of synthetic products and their profits. Carbohydrates make plastic (cellophane), or OPEC Hydrocarbon crude oil cellulose plastic that doesn’t break down so it just floats in the ocean. Now its accumulated an island blocking the sun, killing the plankton that feeds the whales.

    Local biodiesel or biomass ethanol not from corn, a food staple. Concrete with the hemp hurds and lye, bridges still standing since the 1400’s. When Nixon arbitrarily trashed his own Shaffer Commission report and lumped RxGanja and Hemp into Re-Creational he did it for the fossil fools and other corporate industries, killing, sodomizing and molesting kids, not saveding them.

    So its all a shame of catch 22’s, lies, threats, coercion, murder and if Ganja prevents illness that profits those presently “treating” illness, I’m not sure of Banksters and Wall St’s Integrity or the Governments and I think the forefathers thought so too and even designed redundancy into the checks and balances for good reason. Gutting them with Patriot Axes, Higher Education or 404 gag rules or MM etc. This is not Justice anymore than a money driven Court System or Health care system or Prison system. Too many ways to serve the profits circumventing Justice. Oh they’re just potheads or fill in the blank. $35k per year tax paid profit x 2.2 million – competition = Ganjawar.

    I’m adventuring a bit in a forum and discovering even more interesting hypothesis than Ford and Rockefeller buying alcohol prohibition since 90+% of the stills were producing ethanol for farmers, not booze. Just to monopolize crude oil. There really wasn’t all that much of a booze problem except in the South after being burned and pillaged by Sherman. Mixing rum with the coca cola to drink in public with Hearst pre reefer madness “yellow journalism” blaming the coca in the cola “cocaine” for giving “negros” super strength. Since then Coke has removed the properties before processing. Or today with Calvina Fay figuring out the plot to hide hemp in marijuana trees and weave clothing that gets you high. Wingnuts with power, whachyagonnado? Pretend? So anyway…

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if human families and tribes, for thousands of years in caves and tents or fireplaces, breathing carbon emissions, toxins and other air borne particulent matter from the camp fires, prevented cancer and lung damage by toking Ganja…

    In the case of Ganja, half of the equation has been missing do to government elected lobbyists promoting prohibition and censorship. Describing airplane flights to locals in the early 20th century without the knowledge of “lift” and arodynamics would sound strange and unbelievable. So what if society keeps getting farther from “normal” each generation since prohibition, keeping us without defenses for human toxins? Most never amplifying their own cannabinoid transmitters, fading each generation with more degeneration. All to provide cheap obedient herd mentalities to perpetuate the filthy rotten system.

    We all have cannabinoids throughout our bodies and a history of continuous harvests since Agriculture began. Sometimes illicit sometimes mandated. We know of the anti-biotec properties and I haven’t had a cold since 69 or so. If the truth was taught, it would not be a stigma to “protect” society with Ganja. As it stands with any other form of more risky vaccinations or white powders. People die from aspirin, not Ganja. End the war and the research will bare out the truth and maybe find a cure not even thought about in the present war zone of propagandist and worriers profiting on misery.

    Scythians High Plains Drifters
    From the seventh to first century BC the Scythian people travelled and settled extensively throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, Central Asia, and Russia, bringing their knowledge of the spiritual and practical uses for cannabis with them.

    Ancient Temple Hashish Incense…
    Did Jesus and the kids inhale?

    ~ Blasphemy

    “Cannabis is the best natural expectorant to clear the human lungs of smog, dust, and the phlegm associated with tobacco use.

    Marijuana smoke effectively dilates the airways of the lungs, the bronchi, opening them to allow more oxygen into the lungs. It is also the best natural dilator of the tiny airways of the lungs, the bronchial tubes…

    Taking a hit of marijuana has been known to stop a full blown asthma attack.

    Endocannabinoids seem to play an important role in regulating inflammation processes.”

    “Users in our matched-pair sample smoked marijuana in addition to as many tobacco cigarettes as did their matched non-using pairs. Yet their small airways were, if anything, a bit healthier than their matches. We must tentatively conclude either that marijuana has no harmful effect on such passages or that it actually offers some slight protection against harmful effects of tobacco smoke”
    ~ Cannabis in Costa Rica:
    A Study of Chronic Marijuana Use; Institute of Human Issues.

    Bong Rips Cure Cancer? By Alex Hoffman

    * US: Pot Shrinks Tumors; Government Knew In ’74
    * Ganjawar Prevents Brain Tumor Treatment 04-02-2009

    The audacity, trying to cure chemzoid profits…

    Run From The Cure: The Rick Simpson Story

  13. kaptinemo says:

    “So many fallacies in such a short message.”

    Intellectual laziness. (Interjection of sound denoting disgust) When I was being trained as a Civil Air Patrol SAR cadet, I was told there were only 3 acceptable basic answers: “Yes, sir!” “No, sir!” and “No excuse, sir!”.

    The implication was clear: ignorance could and would not be tolerated, as ignorance could kill you, or your teammates or the people whose lives we were training to save. It especially was not tolerated on the part of NCO’s and officers; a leadership position required constant self-education.

    Why should we tolerate less from those whose decisions affect the lives of everyone in this country, not just in their own Congressional districts? Especially when that easily-cured ignorance is willful, and so many lives would benefit from that recovery? Hutchison’s staff need to be bombarded with the facts until they change their tune…

  14. Mike R says:

    Everyone please submit your questions for Pres Obama before Sunday!!!!

    Here is the link.


  15. R.O.E. says:

    Corruption is a disease that spares no one.

  16. BruceM says:

    Pete: just the fact that you had to clarify this title is really sad evidence that far too many people believe “drug legalization” means nothing more than “marijuana legalization.” Far too many hypocrites around here… whining to legalize their favorite drug – pot – and conceding that everything else is as dangerous as they say and properly criminalized. Pisses me off.

  17. DdC says:

    I believe its all the business of the user in most cases, unless forced. No hypocrisy in prioritizing. Ganja is the main meal of the drug war and hemp is the meat and potatoes. Ganja and Hemp both have corporate opposition to competition and stoners are usually the easiest to bust, as stoners are the most cooperative. Most advocating Ganja also see the sense in needle exchanges and the harm caused by prohibitions adulterations and in-consistencies. The hypocrites are the teaboged idiots caging sick people in the name of the kiddies. Pushing deadly white powders when true Ganja causes no harmful side effects when used properly. Hypocritical whiners condemning the poor and not a mumbling word of the rich stealing many times more. Hypocrites are a staple of GOPerverts and the politically correct, same as lies and killing. Remove all drug, prostitution and gambling vice from the law books and get the fucking church the hell out of politics!.

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