President Obama has magically increased the number of days you can smoke marijuana before getting arrested

Marijuana Possession Enforcement is Down Dramatically Under President Obama by Keith Humphreys

This is one of the most bizarre defenses of President Obama that I’ve ever seen.

Humphreys’ basic thesis is that even though marijuana arrests have remained high during President Obama’s term, marijuana use has gone up, so arrests as a percentage of use has gone down (the number of possession arrests per 1,000 days of use). He uses that statistic as proof that Obama has been kinder when it comes to marijuana arrests.


The first very obvious objection: the notion that arrests as a percentage of use is a statistic that has any relevance. There’s no evidence that law enforcement, all other things being equal, would actually arrest more people for marijuana possession if marijuana use goes up. So the fact that they didn’t isn’t evidence of some kind of lessening of enforcement emphasis.

But that’s only the beginning. Marijuana possession arrests are done by the states and local cops, not the feds. And there’s no evidence that local and state marijuana policy is easing due to federal influence.

After all, federal funding on enforcement has remained stable, despite their rhetoric. And if anything, states have been defying the federal government in terms of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana legalization. When police in Washington and Colorado stopped arresting people for mere possession, it sure wasn’t at the urging of President Obama!

So, Keith is giving Obama credit for something that probably doesn’t exist, and if it does, is more likely happening in spite of Obama.

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39 Responses to President Obama has magically increased the number of days you can smoke marijuana before getting arrested

  1. Jean Valjean says:

    Keith is getting a spanking in his own comments section…

  2. claygooding says:

    Jean,,Kev-Kev will always get spanked,,he wears his ass on his shoulders.

    Talk about spin,,,did the guy that threw that curve ball fall down or anything?

    • claygooding says:

      Everyone is looking for the denominator when if there was one it would be dividing an estimate.
      Since the governments “statistic” on marijuana users is based on mostly voluntary input,,the govt has no idea how many pot smokers are out here,,and neither do we,,,and they want it kept that way.

    • Freeman says:

      Yeah, talk about spin. I think if we strung a few loops of wire around the RBC we could make huge strides in renewable-energy electricity generation.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      No, no, no, no, no! Mr. Humphries is a sexual masochist. When you spank him he gets his rocks off. Doesn’t everybody know that the true masochist begs his master, “beat me, whip me, make me write bad checks” The true dominant refuses because he prefers to inflict pain and suffering and doesn’t care to give pleasure. Please everyone, quit spanking Mr. Humphries!

  3. Plant Down Babylon says:

    It’s all Dubya’s fault, obviously. Just ask the Huffpost

  4. Francis says:

    “Oh sure, in absolute terms, Obama continues to allow the idiocy of cannabis prohibition to destroy countless innocent lives and waste law enforcement and judicial resources on a scale that is truly mind-boggling. But, when viewed in relative terms with respect to all the waste and destruction that could be occurring (as represented by this absurd ratio that I just made up), there’s actually been a slight improvement under Obama’s watch.”

    Well, I’m convinced. Hope and change!

    • War Vet says:

      To keep cannabis prohibition, helps keeps drug prohibition, which shapes and keeps U.N./American/EU Global drug policy . . . to keep global drug prohibition keeps the U.S. military in a war zone, where our troops are constantly fighting a drug money financed enemy/insurgency . . . to keep the U.S. Military in a war zone keeps many pockets stuffed with dollars. The President is also thinking of Afghanistan and our future ‘war on terror’ campaigns (like in Africa) when he promotes pot prohibition. A long expensive War on Terror helps create and keep a bad recession (think Soviet Union being defeated by Afghanistan and its financial impact and the year 1991) . . . as long as the drug war is continued, the Feds get good practice and precedents in taking more power, while simultaneously creating global terror attacks and recession from the Drug War’s ability of financing our enemy’s war with us . . . and the Feds will offer the American people safety and economic recovery at the low cost of a few more freedoms.

    • Freeman says:

      Wow! I just witnessed the spanking you just gave Agorabum’s rebuttal. Very well played, Francis!

  5. allan says:

    I threw another $.25 in the meter over there. Here’s the first part of my comment:

    My first thought was a question:

    “If only 70% penetration is achieved in a rape, is it a lesser, kinder act of a rape?” [I should’ve deleted that last “a”]

  6. Jean Valjean says:

    Here’s an example of the power the drug war gives to any L/E officer. An arbitrary “drug search” as his MO for making a woman take her shirt off:

    “Court Officer Sexually Assaults Woman in Court, Arrests Her When Everyone in Court Ignores Her Pleas for Help
    The Clark County family court is under heavy scrutiny after a video showed a woman who said she was sexually assaulted being arrested.”

  7. kaptinemo says:

    I said it before and will say it again: the more the prohibs are backed into a corner, the more batscheisse crazy they’ll become. And that will be reflected in their public utterances.

    The DrugWar has always had its’ glib, rational sounding apologists.

    The problem for said apologists was that, as the general public became more knowledgeable about the issue – in no small part thanks to personal experience with the proscribed substances – the more said public began to realize that what they were hearing from prohibs wasn’t rational, but rationalizations. Rationalizations meant to attempt to deflect attention away from the underlying paucity of rational thought regarding the justifications for the DrugWar, and most especially, the DrugWar’s origins. Origins steeped in irrationality, racial bigotry and prejudice.

    And so, modern prohibs try to gloss over the lack of rationality by trying to justify a human tragedy in bean-counter terms. Not much different than the ancient arguments regarding how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Nothing more than another round of smoke, mirrors and shellgames, a forlorn hope designed to cause reformers to be tied up in prohib Gordian Knots.

    Sorry, it won’t work anymore, thanks to that rapidly enlightening public…which is also part-and-parcel of that generational shift I keep mentioning; its’ ramifications are vast indeed, and not limited to drug policy, but in drug policy their attitudes regarding (presently) illicit drug use are as close to a litmus test as you can find regarding the future of drug prohibition…and the future careers of drug prohibitionists.

    • Irie says:

      I want to know who the 1 (one) person is that has to vote thumbs down when so many agree…..if you disagree, then tell us why you disagree, don’t just be a dick and be all, “I’m against anything that receives more than 4 thumbs up vote”, have a backbone and let us know why, if you are just trolling, then take a flying f*** and get off this page and learn a little bit upon discussion and the subject, and yes, stop being a dick, as I find you a little chick shit for not allowing us (meaning those on the couch that comment on this site) to read and discuss or disagree with your ways of thinking, that is if you are being rational and not just a dick!

      • claygooding says:

        Irie,,I think it is Kev-Kev or one of his buddies,,I don’t think they even read the posts,,just thumb down them and move on and you are right,,when I vote a comment down at any site unless the comment has already been carpet bombed I will tell the poster why they got the thumb down or give them the info that shows why they got the down vote,,it is how we convince the fence sitters and contact prohibs(people that are prohibs because they don’t know any better)that they are on the wrong side if they oppose ending prohibition.

      • kaptinemo says:

        Irie, I consider the latest round of thumbs-down as just one more symptom of intellectual impotence on the part of our opponents. They won’t dare do more than that because they’re (rightfully) terrified of having their precious strawmen immolated.

        Funny, isn’t it? They have all the force provided by our tax dollars…but are terrified of debating the need for it.

        It’s even funnier when they rant and rave about the (comparatively microscopic) funding provided to reform groups, while very assiduously avoiding the fact they have had a trillion of our dollars to play with and at least four decades (this actually goes back a century to the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914) to come up with something that would be so logically compelling even reformers might be tempted to admit some validity…but, no, they haven’t, they’ve only been recycling stale, old lies.

        Like I said, intellectual impotence…not to mention ideological sterility. A dying breed still thrashing in the tar pit of History, bellowing nonsense at the top of their lungs as they sink ever deeper. While the generation they sought to bamboozle is waiting for just the right moment to pitch them some lead-filled life-preservers.

  8. Jean Valjean says:

    And to think this fantasy appears in a blog grandly titled “The Reality Based Community”

  9. Dante says:

    Obama gets credit for a lot of things that don’t exist.

    • claygooding says:

      If Obama cured cancer and heart disease he would be attacked for putting doctors out of work.

  10. Freeman says:

    Heh. Pete, I knew you weren’t going to let that one slide by. I showed it to a co-worker this morning and he about fell out of his chair! That post was dumb, even for Keith. And dumb as it was, he didn’t even squeeze that one out of his own huge brain — he credits Beau Kilmer for “helping me understand these data”. Keep trying, Keith: you’re not there yet.

    Keith Humphreys is the kind of guy you can’t hardly parody because you can’t be sure if he’s really serious and believes his own bullshit, it’s so often so way-way-out-there. His profile holds a clue: From July 2009-2010, he served as Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    His back-and-forth with Allan the other day was just weird. He starts out trying to deny Allan’s illustration about how we drastically reduced U.S. tobacco consumption without resorting to prohibition in a completely unserious rebuttal, then accuses Allan (Allan!) of being incapable of serious discussion. Of course, Allan brung it, big time. But Keith seemed to lose interest in serious discussion at that point (big surprise) and brought us this steaming pile of “serious thought” instead.

  11. DonDig says:

    The referenced article is so ridiculous I’m practically speechless.
    This guy obviously has way too much time on his hands. We need to know the denominator???
    He must be trying to set a new Guinness record for the obtuse.


    Good work couch mates! (here and there)
    I’m sure glad there is some humor in this whole thing.
    You know what they say, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics!

  12. allan says:

    Many of us over the years have run into some really obnoious and insulting anti-drugnuts out there on the interwwwebs, Linda Taylor being the obvious choice for most obnoxious.

    After years of that abuse (my kids were going to become addicts, am I really a vet and if so on which side did I serve, etc) I wasn’t aware that the new generation of prohibs on the wwweb would be as sensitive as Keith seems to be. Having hung out w/ hippies, environmentalists, farm workers, native Americans, peaceniks and other less-than-popular political types, I’ve had plenty of poop flung my way. On as hot and powerful a topic as drug policy is it should not surprise those who now find themselves playing defense after decades of owning the field that we have an occasional fit of ‘tude.

    • thelbert says:

      a thick skin can come in handy when dealing with the obtuse. good on you, allen.

      • allan says:


        I’ve found myself in the midst a most perplexing conundrum… I’m eligible for SS in Sept. The conundrum is not whether I should start collecting but what freaking direction am I headed?

        If I want to drop out, I’m good. I have fairly remote and culturally cool places I can go and live. I can spend my days gardening, working where I live, hanging out w/ good people or I can suck it up for another year or 3 and keep waging the good fight.

        Suddenly that outstanding cooperative effort I was bragging on Oregon about seems to have turned left. An effort I would have supported has gone awry. I’m really not prepared to wait until 2016 to try again. Crikey, I’ve been smoking pot since the late ’60s illegally and it is pretty much what it is. So, I’m stuck on musing ‘hmmm… sunsets in the hills of central coastal CA, home cooking, w/ fresh outta the garden vegies… or keep my ass planted on Pete’s couch wit’chu all.

        I’ll be kid free, woman free, pet free. I moved to Oregon with everything I owned in a 1/2 ton shortbed stepside ’63 Ford pick-em-up. I could leave here with far less. And feel the richer for it.

        For me to stay in drug policy I really would like to make a modest wage doing so, but even then it has to be for legalizion. How many guys can drive a 20,000 lb forklift, photograph a prize winning landscape, clean your windows (really!), build a house, write a poem or 3,000 word essay, grow the food in the garden and cook it really well, hand make a traditional Chumash kelp rattle, run a business… while also knowing a butt load about drug policy reform? So if you know anybody looking for someone that can make a rattle, take a picture of it and tell you all about in 3,000 words or less, send ’em my way. T’anx

        • Duncan20903 says:


          No question about it, take the money while they still have some.

        • Frank W says:

          Is that YOUR hillbilly heap parked at the end of my alley? I wondered.
          Sorry, the last job I had at a factory with forklift drivers piss-tested theirs frequently, like airline pilots. The drug test industry is behind all the “healthcare is hiring!” puff pieces in the news these days. Assante is the local kapo.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Oops, should have mentioned that Paul Stanford has already started the paperwork to put not just 1 but 2 re-legalization referenda on the 2014 ballot.

        • allan says:

          yeah… (there’s no icon I can think of that shows a skrunched, consternated expression, otherwise it would be here))

  13. Freeman says:

    Re-posting my comment here in case it gets nuked over there. Humphreys is a delete-happy host. I just discovered an entire conversation between the two of us several months ago that has been deleted in the mean time. (I’m thinking of setting up a website to just repost RBC deleted comments on).

    Here’s the same argument in another context — Pre-abolition America:

    Abolitionists often rest their case on the large absolute number of slave beatings each year in the U.S. But the number of beatings is just a numerator. If we want to understand the intensity of slave whipping in the US, we also need to know the denominator, namely how many slaves there are. When the absolute number of beatings remains steady or drops a bit and the slave population increases substantially, the likelihood of any individual slave being beaten decreases, and is now down to 0.x beatings per 1000 slave-days under our glorious leader, a 30% drop from his predecessor (thanks mostly to an increase in the slave population) as you can see on this here chart.

    On the other hand, drastically reducing harm from a commonly-used drug is not significant because it’s not absolute enough! Apparently, it’s all about the denominator.

    Your gonna have to get Beau to explain this all to me. It’s not getting through, the way you’re ‘splainin’ it.

  14. allan says:

    It’s interesting… there’s 2 conversations. The one Keith and Mark keep trying to direct and then the one everybody else is having.

    Drug arrests aren’t statistics. They are real people, with real lives – lives that get all fucked up over a completely fabricated falsehood of policy. And in this piece Keith wants to talk about it with a parsing of statistical minutiae.

    Most excellent commenting mates… a hat tip to y’all.

    • allan says:

      Demosthenes posts a winner, Ding Ding Ding!

      Mr. Humphreys, your contention that the flames on the burning house are decreasing in intensity is interesting, dwarfed however by the fact that are still children inside.

  15. Freeman says:

    Hey everybody: What’s your denominator? I’ve been lucky (and careful) — I have a 0 numerator and going on 13,000 denominator.

  16. claygooding says:

    Shortly after commenting on Humphrey’s article I got a message from McAfee that I had visited a site that was gathering personal info,,it did not give me the name of the site so I can’t be sure it was at KH’s article site,,anyone
    else get security message after going there?

  17. DdC says:

    “Appeasers believe that if you keep on throwing steaks to a tiger, the tiger will become a vegetarian”
    – Heywood C. Broun 1888-1939

    Wyden Fails as Statesman after Hemp Bill Ignored
    Wyden thinks that because marijuana users are prone to being pro-hemp that the two issues are seen as one in the same. And it’s clearly the pot smoker’s fault according to Wyden, not the ignorant elected officials.

    Marc Emery in Solitary Confinement in US Prison

    • Nunavut Tripper says:

      Looks like they’re trying to break him down before he’s released next year.
      Marc refuses to be humbled by the pricks that imprisoned him.

  18. Duncan20903 says:


    If you can’t lick ’em with logic, then baffle ’em with bullshit.

    But seriously, we should have a little empathy for poor Keith. The poor man was brainwashed at a very young age and they just plain left it in the chlorine bleach pre-rinse too long.

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