Recent statistics show that there were over 1.7 million arrests on drug charges in the United States in 2008. One might expect that many of these arrests targeted the more serious drug offenses like trafficking and manufacturing dangerous drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. That was not the case.
Of the 1.7 million drug arrests last year, about half of them were related to marijuana, and most of those were for possession of marijuana. In Florida and the other southern states, arrests for possession of marijuana comprised more than half of all drug arrests. Fewer than 20% of all drug arrests were for drug dealing or manufacturing. In 2008, the number of people arrested for drug crimes was approximately three times that of violent crimes.
What this boils down to is we are still expending a tremendous amount of money and resources going after petty drug offenses at the expense of much more serious criminal offenses.