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At Current Pace, Over 1 Million U.S. Cannabis Arrests Per Year by 2010

The most recent numbers are staggering. The U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reported last year that 12.7 percent of state inmates and 12.4 percent of federal inmates are serving time for marijuana offenses. The latest data reveals that 89 percent of drug arrests are for cannabis possession and that cannabis arrests comprise 47.5 percent of all U.S. drug arrests. According to the AlterNet September 16, 2008 article, ("The Drug War's Latest Tally: 872,721 Pot Arrests, An All Time High") "According to data released yesterday in the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report, police in 2007 arrested over 872,000 US citizens - that's nearly one out of every two Americans busted for illicit drugs---for weed. That figure is a five percent increase over the total number of Americans busted in 2006. It's more than three times the number of citizens charged with pot violations sixteen years ago."

The article states, "Of those arrested in 2007, 89 percent-some 775,000 Americans-- were charged with simple pot possession, not trafficking, cultivation, or sale. (By comparison, 27 percent of those arrested for heroin and cocaine offenses were charged with sales.) Three out of four were under age 30; one in four were 18-years-old or younger.The FBI's tally is the highest marijuana arrest total ever-reported in law enforcement history. If this pace continues, annual arrests for pot will surpass one million per year by 2010."

The article adds, "Combining these percentages with separate U.S. Department of Justice statistics on the total number of state and federal drug prisoners suggests that, at a minimum, there are now about 33,655 state inmates and 10,785 federal inmates behind bars for marijuana offenses. (The report failed to include estimates on the percentage of inmates incarcerated in county or local jails for pot-related offenses, nor did it take into account the number of inmates serving time for violating the terms of their marijuana-related probation, such as those who submitted a 'dirty' urine to their parole officer.)"

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