January 15, 2004
Another Scene From the Drug War
Writing my prior post on the drug war, I cited a statistic given by Eric Schlosser in 1997, that more people are in prison for marijuana violations than for manslaughter or rape.
But five years is a little while for stats like that, and I wondered when I posted it if that amount had changed. Well, according to AlterNet, last year’s stats actually paint a starker picture.
The FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report reveals that police arrested an estimated 697,082 persons for marijuana violations in 2002, or nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States. This amounts to one marijuana-related arrest every 45 seconds.
The total number of marijuana arrests far exceeded the total number of arrests for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Of those charged with marijuana violations, 88 percent were charged with possession only. The remaining 12 percent were charged with “sale/manufacture,” a category that includes cultivation for personal and medical use.