by Dish Staff
Ingraham points out that “the percent of all arrests related to marijuana possession has steadily risen even as public attitudes toward the drug have shifted, states have relaxed their marijuana laws, and new research has come to light thoroughly debunking the Reefer Madness mindset of earlier decades”:
At least 658,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2012, accounting for 42 percent of all drug arrests and 5.4 percent of all arrests for any offense, according to FBI data. The actual numbers are likely even higher, since a handful of states either don’t report arrest data to the FBI, or only do so on a limited basis. But the focus on marijuana arrests varies considerably by state. In New York, an astonishing one out of every eight arrests – 12.7 percent – are for simple marijuana possession. But across the state line in Massachusetts, fewer than one out of every 100 arrests are for marijuana possession.
Friedersdorf visited Boulder to witness the effects of legalized marijuana firsthand:
One thought I never had was that Boulder would be better off if its marijuana smokers were all imprisoned, or at risk of arrest, or casually breaking the law to facilitate a habit that isn’t going away. After such a brief visit, I can’t claim to have seen every aspect of marijuana culture in Boulder, or to have definitive proof that legalization will be sound public policy. That can’t yet be known. But everything I saw inclines me to agree with a modest conclusion drawn by the Brookings Institution after it completed a more intense study of legalization. “It’s too early to judge the success of Colorado’s policy,” wrote John Hudak, a Brookings fellow in governance studies, “but it is not too early to say that the rollout, or initial implementation, of legal retail marijuana has been largely successful.” If catastrophe looms in this perennially blessed city, it is as yet unseen.