FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT: Marijuana Policy Project
Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications 202-543-7972 or 415-668-6403
Marijuana Arrests Set New Record
Voters Nationwide Will Decide on Reforms Nov. 2
WASHINGTON -- October 25 -- The FBI reported today that there were an all-time record 755,186 arrests for marijuana in 2003 -- vastly exceeding the 597,026 arrests for all violent crimes combined. As in past years, the vast majority-88 percent-of marijuana arrests were for simple possession, not sale or manufacture.
The new arrest report comes eight days before voters across the U.S. will consider a variety of measures to reform marijuana laws.
"With marijuana arrests exceeding 750,000 a year, it's safe to say that the drug war isn't preventing people from using marijuana," said Robert Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "It's time to acknowledge this reality by taxing and regulating marijuana. A responsible system of regulation will do a
Kampia noted that, while failing to curb marijuana use, prohibition continues to cause tragedies like the death of Jonathan Magbie, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient who died last month in a Washington, D.C., jail while serving a 10-day sentence for marijuana possession.
Voters across the country will consider a variety of marijuana policy reforms on November 2. A medical marijuana proposal is on the ballot in Montana, while Oregonians will consider broadening their existing medical marijuana law to allow patients to obtain their medicine from state-regulated dispensaries. Alaskans will vote on
Oakland, California, voters will also decide whether to endorse taxation and regulation while making private, adult marijuana offenses the lowest priority for local law enforcement. An assortment of other marijuana reform proposals are on local ballots in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Columbia, Missouri, as well as in 12 legislative districts in Massachusetts.
With more than 16,000 members and 150,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana-both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment. For more information, please visit MarijuanaPolicy.org .