Senate Weighs Costs Associated With Marijuana Policies
October 4, 2007
Senate Committee Weighs Costs of ‘Mass Incarceration’ as Marijuana Arrests Top 800,000
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the Senate Joint Economic Committee prepared to hold a hearing today examining the costs associated with the United States’ exploding prison population, marijuana policy reformers urged the lawmakers to consider recent statistics suggesting an epidemic of frivolous marijuana arrests.
The hearings come as the U.S. prison population – including rising numbers of nonviolent offenders – nears what many experts believe to be an economic as well as a humanitarian crisis.
Officials at the Marijuana Policy Project cited several recent government and independent reports suggesting that misguided marijuana policies play a major role in prison overpopulation:
The FBI’s 2006 Uniform Crime Reports, released Sept. 12, revealed that marijuana arrests reached record numbers for the fourth year in a row, with 829,627 arrests, or one arrest every 38 seconds. Eighty-nine percent were for possession – not sale or manufacture. Meanwhile, marijuana use rates remain far higher than they were 15 years ago when marijuana arrests totaled nearly a third the current number.
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