Newsbrief: British Marijuana Arrests Plummet Following Legal Reclassification 7/30/04

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The British Home Office reported Wednesday that arrests for marijuana possession have dropped by one-third since marijuana was reclassified from a Class B to a Class C drug in January. With reclassification, British police officers typically issue warnings and confiscate the weed rather than make arrests.

Britain arrested nearly 97,000 people for marijuana possession last year, according to official figures. The Home Office said it did not have actual national arrest figures for this year, but based its estimate on initial reports from 26 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales showing arrest trends between February and June compared to the previous year.

The Home Office told the Guardian newspaper that reclassifying marijuana as a less serious drug will save 180,000 hours of police officer time in a year. "The police are spending less time arresting people for possession of cannabis and filling in the paperwork that goes along with it," said a ministry spokesman. "This enables them to concentrate on class A drugs which cause most harm to society."

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Issue #348, 7/30/04 Editorial: Too Many Questions | An All-Time High: Nearly 7 Million Behind Bars or on Probation or Parole | MPP, ACLU Sue Nevada to Gain Ballot Access for Marijuana Initiative | DRCNet Book Review: "The New Prohibition: Voices of Dissent Challenge the Drug War," edited by Sheriff Bill Masters (Accurate Press, $14.95 PB) | Newsbrief: British Drug Panel Considering Anti-Drug Vaccinations for Schoolchildren | Newsbrief: Border Guard Charged in Beating of Suspected Marijuana Smuggler | Newsbrief: Justice Department Orders Libraries to Return Asset Forfeiture Documents | Newsbrief: Despite High Court Ruling, Old Drug Conviction Keeps Man from His Kids | Newsbrief: West Australia Quietly Shifts From Drug Arrests to Diversion | Newsbrief: British Marijuana Arrests Plummet Following Legal Reclassification | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | This Week in History | Media Scan: Canada, Canada, Canada, Kerry | The Reformer's Calendar
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