With all of the talk about the terrible economy and out of control state and national deficits, one has to wonder how much sense it makes for law enforcement to spend so much time, effort and money on arresting and incarcerating people for minor drug offenses. However, recent statistics for 2009 show that the police are arresting people for minor drug offenses almost as much as ever despite the fact that arrests for violent crimes and property crimes have steadily decreased over the last couple of years. FBI crime statistics for 2009 show that police in the United States made more than 1.6 million drug arrests in 2009. More than half of those arrests for for marijuana related crimes. Therefore, in one part of the country, marijuana is legally considered medicine that people can use to alleviate symptoms from their medical conditions. Travel a certain distance in one direction or another in this country and the use of the same plant labels that person as a criminal for which he/she may get serious jail time and the local, state and county governments will spend exorbitant amounts of taxpayers’ money to prosecute that person.
Of the over 850,000 marijuana related arrests in 2009, most of them were for simple marijuana possession. Very few of those arrests were for marijuana trafficking, sales or manufacturing. Police are still arresting many more people for simple drug possession crimes than for more serious crimes like violent crimes, burglaries and white collar crimes.