Marijuana Arrests Stay at Record-High Level: FBI Reports 682,885 Marijuana Arrests in 1998, 88% for Possession 10/22/99

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WASHINGTON, DC: The total number of marijuana arrests in the United States in 1998 nearly equaled the 1997 record high of 695,200, according to an FBI report to be released on October 17. There were 682,885 marijuana arrests last year, 88% of them for possession (not sale or manufacture).

The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports division's annual report, Crime in the United States, provides the number of arrests made by state and local law-enforcement agencies. "This is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources," said Chuck Thomas, director of communications for the Washington, DC-based Marijuana Policy Project.

"Marijuana prohibition creates dangerous criminal markets and takes police resources away from violent crime." The number of marijuana arrests in 1998 was larger than the number of arrests for murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault combined (676,020).

"It is time to stop arresting adults who grow and consume their own marijuana at home -- and instead put these public resources into violent-crime enforcement and effective drug education," said Chuck Thomas. "Public safety and children's health are at stake."

Earlier this year, the Federation of American Scientists published the Marijuana Policy Project's report, "Marijuana Arrests and Incarceration in the United States," which used government-supplied data to estimate that there are 59,300 marijuana offenders incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails in the US at any given time. (Go to and search for "incarceration" to read MPP's report.)

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Issue #113, 10/22/99 California Reports Record Percentage of Drug Prisoners: One in Eight Imprisoned for Simple Possession of Drugs | Marijuana Arrests Stay at Record-High Level: FBI Reports 682,885 Marijuana Arrests in 1998, 88% for Possession | NORML Foundation Releases Report Detailing European Marijuana Policies | Maine Sheriff Endorses Medical Marijuana | Just Say Know: New Directions in Drug Education -- Conference in SF Next Week | Safety First: Reality-Based Drug Education Booklet Published by The Lindesmith Center | Newsbriefs | San Francisco Beats New York at Crime Reduction | Newsbriefs | Publication Suspended of New Book Claiming George W. Bush Arrested for Cocaine in '72 | Elizabeth Dole Drops Out of Race | Editorial: Whose life is it anyway?
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