Marijuana In the States 2012

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1 Marijuana In the States 2012 Analysis and Detailed Data on Marijuana Use and Arrests July 30, 2014 Jon Gettman, Ph.D. Criminal Justice College of Arts and Sciences Shenandoah University Winchester, Virginia 22601

2 Table of Contents About the Author 2 Related Publications 2 Acknowledgements and Publication Data 2 Executive Summary 3 Introduction 4 Part 1. National Trend 7 Part 2. Marijuana Use in the States 11 Part 3. Marijuana Arrests in the States 14 Conclusion 24 Appendix 25 List of Tables Table 1. Top 15 States Annual Marijuana Use ( ) 11 Table 2. Top 15 States Marijuana Arrest Rate per 100,000 Population (2012) 15 Table 3. Top 15 States Marijuana Arrests as a Percentage of Annual Users (2012) 17 Table 4. Top 15 States Annual Percentage Increases in Marijuana Arrests ( ) 19 Table 5. Top 17 States Annual Percentage Increases in Marijuana Arrest Rates ( ) 19 Table 6. Top 15 States Annual Percentage Decreases in Marijuana Arrest Rates ( ) 21 Table 7. Comparison of Arrest Rate and Annual Use Trends ( ) 23 List of Figures Figure 1. Annual Marijuana Use Population Estimates, by Age ( ) 8 Figure 2. Annual US Marijuana Use and Arrest Rate ( ) 9 Figure 3. Marijuana Arrest Rate per 100,000 Population (2012) 16 Figure 4. Annual Change in Marijuana Arrest Rate per 100,000 Population ( ) 20 Appendix Table A1. Marijuana Arrests and Arrest Rates per 100,000 Population, ( ) 26 Table A2. Annual Marijuana Use in the United States, Population Estimates ( ) 27 Table A3. Annual Marijuana Use ( ) 28 Table A4. Monthly Marijuana Use ( ) 29 Table A5. Annual Marijuana Use Prevalence (Age 12 and older), ( ) 30 Table A6. Annual Marijuana Use Populations (Age 12 and older) ( ) 31 Table A7. Perception of Great Risk Using Marijuana 1-2 Times per Week ( ) 32 Table A8. Marijuana is Fairly or Very Easy to Obtain ( ) 33 Table A9. Marijuana Arrests as a Percentage of All Drug Arrests, by State ( ) 34 Table A10. Marijuana Arrests by State ( ) 35 Table A11. Marijuana Arrests as a Percentage of Annual Marijuana Users ( ) 36 Table A12. Marijuana Possession Arrests by State ( ) 37 Table A13. Marijuana Sales Arrests by State ( ) 38 Table A14. Marijuana Arrest Rate, by State, per 100,000 Population ( ) 39 Table A15. Marijuana Possession Arrest Rate, by State, per 100,000 Population ( ) 40 Table A16. Marijuana Sales Arrest Rate, by State, per 100,000 Population ( ) 41 Table A17. Juvenile Marijuana Arrests, by State ( ) 42 Table A18. Juvenile Marijuana Arrests Rates, by State ( ) 43 Table A19. Comparison of Selected Characteristics from Prior Tables 44 Page 1

3 About the Author Jon Gettman is an assistant professor in criminal justice at Shenandoah University. Related publications by or co-authored by Jon Gettman Gettman, Jon. (2005) Crimes of Indiscretion: Marijuana arrests in the United States. National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Gettman, Jon. (2006) Marijuana Production in the United States (2006). Bulletin of Cannabis Reform. Gettman, Jon. (2007) Lost Taxes and other Costs of Marijuana Laws. Bulletin of Cannabis Reform. Gettman, Jon. (2009) Marijuana Arrests in the United States (2007) Bulletin of Cannabis Reform. Gettman, Jon and Kennedy, Michael. (2014) Cannabis Regulation and the Public Interest. RegulatingCannabis.com. Levine, Harry G., Gettman, Jon B., Siegel, Loren. (2012) 240,000 Marijuana Arrests Cost, Conseguences and Racial Disparities of Possession Arrests in Washington, Marijuana Arrest Research Project. Levine, Harry G., Gettman, Jon B., Siegel, Loren. (2010) Arresting Latinos for Marijuana in California Possession Arrests in 33 cities Drug Policy Alliance. Levine, Harry G., Gettman, Jon B., Siegel, Loren. (2012) 210,000 Marijuana Possession Arrests in Colorado Marijuana Arrest Research Project. Levine, Harry G., Gettman, Jon B., Siegel, Loren. (2010) Arresting Blacks for Marijuana in California: Posession Arrests in 25 Cities, Levine, Harry G., Gettman, Jon B., Siegel, Loren. (2010) Targeting Blacks for Marijuana Possession Arrests of African Americans in California, Data supplied by Jon Gettman American Civil Liberties Union. (2013) The War on Marijuana in Black and White. Acknowledgements and Publication Data The Trans-High Corporation provided funding for this research presented in this report. This report is published online at: by Jon B. Gettman Page 2

4 Executive Summary There were 749,825 arrests for marijuana offenses in the United States in Marijuana possession arrests accounted for 88% of all arrests (658,231) and the remainder for sales offenses. The arrest rate for marijuana offenses in the United States decreased from 278 per 100,000 in 2008 to 239 per 100,000 in Marijuana arrests, and the arrest rate, have increased considerably over the last two decades. The arrest rate in 2012 represents a 110% increase in the marijuana arrest rate since In 2012 the NSDUH estimated that there were 31.8 million Americans who used marijuana at least on an annual basis and 18 million who used marijuana monthly. In 2002 there were 3.9 million annual age 12 to 17 marijuana users. Since then the number of age 12 to 17 year old users has generally declined, with an estimate of 3.6 million in 2011 and 3.4 million in The United States has doubled marijuana arrests in the last two decades without achieving any reduction in marijuana use. Vermont had the greatest amount of annual marijuana use in the period 2010/2011 (19.0%) followed by Alaska (18.8%), the District of Columbia (18.7%), Rhode Island (18.7%) and Oregon (16.9%). In the United States annual marijuana use has been increasing at a biannual rate of 3.9% since the 2002/2003 period. Marijuana use has been increasing at the greatest bi-annual rate in Idaho (13.20%), Arizona (11.5%), Delaware (11%), Tennessee (9.5%), Nevada (8.4%), and New Jersey (8.4%). In the period 2010/2011, 57.3% of those 12 and older do not associate great risk with the use of marijuana 1 to 2 times per week. The perception that marijuana is easy or fairly easy to get is held by 57.4% of those age 12 or older in the United States. Marijuana is most available to the age 12 to 17 age group in Connecticut (59.2%), Montana (55.2%), Colorado (54.7%), Nevada (54.6%, the District of Columbia (54.5%) and New Hampshire (54.5%). For the entire population age 12 and older marijuana is easy or fairly easy to get for 50% or more or the population. Page 3

5 After more than 19 million arrests since 1981 marijuana is widely used, not perceived as a great risk by a majority of the population, and widely available. Arrests for marijuana account for 48.3% of all drug arrests in the United States. Marijuana arrests accounted for two-thirds of more of all drug arrests in five states: Nebraska (74.1%), New Hampshire (72%), Montana (70.3%), Wyoming (68.7%) and Wisconsin (67.1%) The five state-level jurisdictions with the highest arrest rates for marijuana offenses are the District of Columbia (729), New York (577), Louisiana (451), Illinois (447) and Nebraska (421). The lowest marijuana arrest rates are in California and Massachusetts. Aside from these states the lowest arrest rates are in Alaska (127), Hawaii (109), Washington (105), Connecticut (104) and Alabama (75). Nationally, only 2.8% of marijuana users were arrested in 2010/2011. The arrest percentage of all users varied from 1% or less in Hawaii, Montana, Vermont, and Massachusetts to 5% or more in Wyoming, Nebraska, Maryland, New York, and Louisiana. The average annual change in the national arrest rate for marijuana in the United States from 2008 to 2012 was -3.8%. From 2008 to 2012 seventeen states had average annual increases in the marijuana arrest rate of 1% or more. Of these 17 jurisdictions, 12 had an annual increase greater than 2% and 8 greater than 3% per year. They account for 28.8% of the population of the United States and 44.6% of the arrests for marijuana offenses. From 2008 to 2012, fourteen states had average annual reductions in the marijuana arrest rate of 4% or more. These states account for 34.4% of the population of the United States and 19.5% of all marijuana arrests. Page 4

6 Introduction This report reviews national trends in marijuana use and marijuana arrests, followed by a look at these same issues at the state level. It is the latest by the author in a number of reports on marijuana arrests in the United States, including similar reports in 2005 and The 2009 report addressed data through This report covers data from 2008 to The most significant developments, with respect to the data presented and reviewed by these reports, is that marijuana use and marijuana arrests both continue to increase. State level data on marijuana use and marijuana arrests is important to the public review and discussion of the marijuana related issues, including but not limited to local, state, and national laws about marijuana s use and sales. Such data is rarely available to the public in an easily accessible and/or comprehensive presentation. This report provides highlights and discussion of relevant data on these topics, as well as detailed tables provided in its appendix. The primary source for data on marijuana use in the United States is the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the Department of Health and Human Services. Some, but not all, data from this annual survey is available on the agency s website. The NSDUH is primarily a national survey. SAMSHA has developed a statistical model for providing estimates of state level data. Because of the sample size of the national survey the state level data is based on a two year period, in order to provide statistically accurate estimates. The most recent NSDUH data is for the two year period 2010/2011. In addition to state level data on annual and monthly marijuana use prevalence (percentage) and population estimates, the state level NSDUH data on risk perception and the perceived availability of marijuana is also presented in this report. The primary source for data on marijuana arrests in the United States is the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The UCR program makes two important data sets available. The county level data set contains estimates of arrests for a number of crimes, including marijuana sales and possession, along with the population coverage of the reporting agencies in each county. The age/sex/race data set contains demographic data on arrests at the local agency level. The county level data set has been used to provide data for this report; the county level data has been aggregated to provide state level totals of arrests and the total populations of the reporting jurisdictions have been used to calculate arrest rates per 100,000 residents in the population. However, not all states report data to the UCR program. Data for Alabama, the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), and Illinois has been obtained directly from their respective criminal justice statistic agencies. Florida does not report data to the UCR program nor does it collect or report data on marijuana arrests from county and/or local agencies. As indicated above marijuana use data is reported in terms of prevalence (percentage) and population; data on risk perception and availability perception is presented in terms of prevalence only. Marijuana arrest data is presented in terms of the number of arrests and the Page 5

7 arrest rate per 100,000 residents. In addition to these common indicators other statistical indicators have been prepared. The average annual change for the five year period addressed by this report (2008 to 2012) is provided for both arrest and usage data. (For the District of Columbia and Illinois the period 2008 to 2011 is used, and for Wyoming arrest data is only available for 2010 to 2012). Data for the two year periods 2008/2009 and 2010/2011 have been used to calculate the percentage of annual marijuana users arrested in each state. Also, the marijuana arrests as a percentage of all drug arrests is also provided for each state-level jurisdiction, as well as data on juvenile arrests and arrest rates for marijuana offenses. A comparison chart summarizing several of these indicators, including the respective ranking of each state, is included in the Appendix. Page 6

8 Part 1. National Trends There were 749,825 arrests for marijuana offenses in the United States in Marijuana possession arrests accounted for 88% of all arrests (658,231) and the remainder for sales offenses. Overall this is a modest reduction in the number of arrests. In 2007 arrests peaked at 872,720 and despite a slight increase in 2009 marijuana arrests have decreased each year since. The 2012 figures were a 10% decrease from the 837,294 arrests in It would seem that marijuana arrests in the United States are decreasing, but this is not an accurate assessment when it comes to the law enforcement activity in all the states. A review of state level data and trends in Part 2 (below), however, both accounts for this reduction and provides a more accurate basis for assessing state-level law enforcement trends. Nonetheless, at the national level the arrest rate for marijuana offenses in the United States decreased from 278 per 100,000 in 2008 to 239 per 100,000 in In 1991 there were 287,850 marijuana arrests in the United States, the lowest amount since The arrest rate in 1991 was 114. The arrest rate in 2012 represents a 110% increase in the marijuana arrest rate since The average arrest rate from 1990 to 1994 was 149. Marijuana arrests, and the arrest rate, have increased considerably over the last two decades. Interestingly, and quite important to note, marijuana use has also increased markedly in the last 20 years. In 2012 the NSDUH estimated that there were 31.8 million Americans who used marijuana at least on an annual basis and 18 million who used marijuana monthly. The annual figures include 3.5 million users between the ages of 12 and 17, 10.7 million between the ages of 18 and 25, and 16.1 million age 26 and older. The changes in these three age groups over time are visible in Figure 1. Page 7

9 Figure 1. Annual Marijuana Use Population Estimates, by Age ( ) Note: The increase in the number of annual marijuana uses in 2002 is due to a change in survey methodology. NSDUH is a lengthy survey. In order to improve data collection, in 2002 respondents began to be paid to complete the survey. Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse Teenage marijuana use has been and remains an issue of national concern, and one about which there is a widely shared consensus about the need to reduce the use of marijuana by minors and their access to it. As noted with Figure 1 a change in survey methodology resulted in an increase in using population increases reflected in the 2002 survey data. That year there were 3.9 million annual age 12 to 17 marijuana users. Since then the number of age 12 to 17 year old users has generally declined, with an estimate of 3.6 million in 2011 and 3.4 million in While the use of marijuana in the 12 to 17 age group has remained relatively unchanged, the use of marijuana among those over the age of 17 has been increasing steadily from the 2002, from 25.9 million that year to 31.8 million in Considering both of these long terms trends reveals an important fact about marijuana arrests. The United States has doubled marijuana arrests in the last two decades without achieving any reduction in marijuana use. These trends are readily visible in Figure 2. Page 8

10 Figure 2. Annual US Marijuana Use and Arrest Rate ( ) Note: The increase in the number of annual marijuana uses in 2002 is due to a change in survey methodology. NSDUH is a lengthy survey. In order to improve data collection, in 2002 respondents began to be paid to complete the survey. Sources: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse; Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States; (Population data for calculation of arrest rates obtained from the Census Bureau) Marijuana arrests do not place in isolation from other criminal justice system activity. They consume resources. An arresting officer must detail a suspect, take them into custody, transport them to jail, and file reports. Other custodial processing requires time and resources, as does the retaining the individual prior to the posting of bail (if applicable). Prosecutors must process each case, as do the Courts, and Correctional officials must implement the outcome of the judicial process. States and local jurisdictions have implemented various policies to reduce the costs associated with this process, but the act of a marijuana arrest requires the expenditure of criminal justice resources. The concept of the decriminalization of marijuana was a popular innovation in the 1970s and has received renewed interest in recent years, as evidenced by recent legislation in Massachusetts, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Historically, and in practice, many policies described as decriminalization have been mischaracterized. It might be a more accurate description to refer these policies as deinstitutionalized approaches to marijuana law enforcement. The key innovation has been the substitution of a court summons for a custodial arrest for possession of small amounts of marijuana and disposition of the case by way of a payment of a fine. In many states with this policy the offense is still addressed by statutes of criminal law and the offense is still classified as an arrest for reporting purposes. Page 9

11 California recently changed their marijuana laws from this sort of deinstitutionalization approach to a literal decriminalization policy by making marijuana possession a civil rather than a criminal offense. Massachusetts, Maryland, and the District of Columbia have also recently adopted the true decriminalization approach of making marijuana possession a civil offense, sanctioned by a citation and a fine (just like a parking ticket.) Both these approaches to reforming marijuana law enforcement are a response to the fiscal and social costs of criminalizing marijuana use. Recent attention to racial disparities in arrest rates for marijuana possession has been a significant factor in the passage of marijuana decriminalization in both Maryland and the District of Columbia. Many other states, over the last several decades, have addressed the cost of enforcing marijuana laws through sentencing reform or by way of prosecutorial or judicial discretion. The result is that many marijuana possession cases are resolved through plea bargains that result in probation and/or payment of a fine. Many plea bargains also result in mandatory drug treatment for the offender, whether medically justified or not. According to the Treatment Episodes Data Set, also maintained by SAMHSA, nationally 51.6% of all treatment program admissions where marijuana use is the primary issue are referrals from the criminal justice system. The significance of these various trends is two-fold. Marijuana law enforcement is expensive for both the government and the individual. Government has historically preferred to mitigate these costs through legal or policy innovations that retain the perceived and symbolic deterrent value of marijuana s illegality. Marijuana users have preferred to mitigate the costs of potential arrest through greater use of personal discretion to avoid situations where they are at risk of arrest. In addition, the public in general and marijuana users in particular have become increasingly active and effective in changing, and in some states such as Colorado and Washington, eliminating penalties for marijuana possession and replacing them with a legal, regulatory approach to public policy interests. However, absent such changes in local and federal law, there is little evidence that any state can sustain, financially or politically, the costs of further significant increases in marijuana arrest rates. Marijuana use and enforcement trends in the states vary widely. The variance in these indicators is testament to the utter incoherence of marijuana prohibition as an instrument of national policy. In public administration coherence refers to the ability of each part of an institution to contribute to accomplishing the goals and objectives of the organization or association. The success of prohibition at the national level requires the enthusiastic embrace of this policy at the state and local level; this is the nature of criminal law enforcement in the United States. The ongoing dissolution of prohibition is evident in the increasing disparities in marijuana law enforcement in the United States and the accompanying patterns of marijuana availability and use. Page 10

12 Part 2. Marijuana Use in the States Marijuana use has consistently been greater in the United States in New England, Colorado, and in the Western coastal states. While the prevalence of annual marijuana in the United States is the period of 2010/2011 was 11.6% of the population age 12 and older in the top 15 states annual use was at a prevalence of 13.5% or greater. See Table 1 below. Vermont had the greatest amount of annual marijuana use (19.0%) followed by Alaska (18.8%), the District of Columbia (18.7%), Rhode Island (18.7%) and Oregon (16.9%). All of the other New England states are in the top 15: Massachusetts (15.3%) Maine (14.0%, New Hampshire (13.7%) and Connecticut (13.4%). Colorado (16.8%) and Montana (16.3%) are ranked 6 th and 7 th respectively. In the other far Western states annual marijuana use in Oregon is at 16.9%, followed by 15.5% in Washington and 14.2% in California. The top 15 also include Nevada (13.7%) and Michigan (13.6%). All of these states have adopted significant reform in marijuana laws with respect to medical and/or recreational marijuana use. Table 1. Top 15 States Annual Marijuana Use ( ) Age Years Old Age Years Old Age 26 and Older Age 12 and Older United States 14.1% 30.5% 8.0% 11.6% Vermont 23.2% 47.3% 13.5% 19.0% Alaska 17.6% 39.3% 15.0% 18.8% District of Columbia 18.9% 38.1% 14.3% 18.7% Rhode Island 17.1% 45.1% 13.8% 18.7% Oregon 18.2% 40.5% 12.9% 16.9% Colorado 19.8% 42.9% 11.9% 16.8% Montana 21.5% 37.6% 12.0% 16.3% Washington 17.9% 40.7% 11.1% 15.5% Massachusetts 19.8% 43.9% 9.8% 15.3% California 16.8% 32.6% 10.3% 14.2% Maine 13.7% 38.2% 10.6% 14.0% Nevada 17.4% 31.3% 10.5% 13.7% New Hampshire 20.2% 42.4% 8.3% 13.7% Michigan 14.3% 33.7% 10.0% 13.6% Connecticut 17.6% 36.6% 9.1% 13.4% Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health: 2-Year R-DAS (2010 to 2011). Analysis ran on (01:35 PM EDT) using SDA 3.5: Tables. The appendix contains tables with prevalence and population estimates for both annual and monthly marijuana use for each state for the period of 2010/2011 (See Tables A3 and A4.) A review of the overall prevalence of annual use for the two year periods from 2002/2003 to 2010/2011 is provided in Table A5. A review of the population estimates for these same periods is contained in Table A6, which also contains the biannual rate of change over this ten year span. (The rates of change in marijuana use over this span for all states except Florida are also provided in Table 7, which is presented in discussed in Part 3 below.) Page 11

13 In the United States annual marijuana use has been increasing at a biannual rate of 3.9% since the 2002/2003 period. Marijuana use has been increasing at the greatest bi-annual rate in Idaho (13.20%), Arizona (11.5%), Delaware (11%), Tennessee (9.5%), Nevada (8.4%), New Jersey (8.4%), the District of Columbia (7.9%), California (7.3%), North Carolina (7.2%), Alaska (6.9%), South Carolina (6.9%), Texas (6.7%), Mississippi (6.3%), Washington (6.2%) and Connecticut (5.8%). One of the key indicators in understanding marijuana use over the last several decades has been survey results regarding the perception of risk associated with the regular use of marijuana. There has consistently been a strong negative correlation between the prevalence of high levels of great risk perception and the prevalence of marijuana use. Many policy makers have thus believed that the key to reducing marijuana use in the United States is to convince the public that such use is harmful. The extent to which this policy aim reconciles with scientific evidence, public knowledge, and individual experience is beyond the scope of this report; however the persistence of marijuana use and trends in marijuana usage suggest that this approach has had about as much success as the use of arrests to deter marijuana use. In the 2010/2011 NSDUH data the perception of great risk associated with using marijuana 1 or 2 times per week was held by 45.0% of those age 12 to 17, 26.3% of those age 18 to 25, and 45.2% of those 26 and older. For all three groups combined the perception of great risk was held by 42.7% of the populations. In other words, 57.3% of those 12 and older do not associate great risk with the use of marijuana 1 to 2 times per week. The data for all three groups, and all three combined, for this indicator is presented in Table A7. All states follow the same pattern in which risk perception is highest among the 12 to 17 age group and lowest among those age 18 to 25. Total risk perception ranges from a low of 27.6% in Alaska to a high of 56.4% in Utah. The five states with the highest risk perception are Utah (56.4%), Mississippi (53.5%), Alabama (49.4%), Louisiana (49.2%) and West Virginia (48.8%). The five areas with the lowest levels of risk perception are Maine (32%), the District of Columbia (31.1%), Oregon (30.3%), Colorado (29.6%), and Alaska (27.6%). Thus, in only 2 states do a majority of those age 12 and older believe that the use of marijuana 1 to 2 times a week presents a great risk. On the other hand, in 15 states 60% of more believe that such use does not present a great risk. The perception that marijuana is easy or fairly easy to get is held by 57.4% of those age 12 or older in the United States (see Table A8). The indicator of marijuana s availability is lowest among those age 12 and older (48.3%) and highest among those age 18 to 25 (75.4%). Availability has a high positive correlation with marijuana use. Marijuana is most available to the 12 to 17 age group in Connecticut (59.2%), Montana (55.2%), Colorado (54.7%), Nevada (54.6%, the District of Columbia (54.5%) and New Hampshire (54.5%). It is least available in North Dakota (41.1%), Iowa (40.8%), Kansas (40.3%), Utah (39.4%) and Arkansas (38.7%). Marijuana is easy or fairly easy to 50% or more of those age 12 to 17 in 22 states, and to 40% and more in every area except Utah and Arkansas. Page 12

14 For the 18 to 25 age group the availability indicator ranges from a low of 61.4% in Utah to a high of 85.7% in New Hampshire. It is at about 80% or higher in 12 state level areas and between 70% and 80% in 34 states. For the entire population age 12 and older marijuana is easy or fairly easy to get for 50% or more or the population. The range is from 50.4% in Florida to 69.5% in Vermont. After more than 19 million arrests since 1981 marijuana is widely used, not perceived as a great risk by a majority of the population, and widely available. Page 13

15 Part 3. Marijuana Arrests in the States Arrests for marijuana account for 48.3% of all drug arrests in the United States. This figure was at 49.8% in 2008, increased yearly to a level of 54.7% in 2011 before dropping to the current level in The total number of drug arrests rose to over 1.5 million in 1996, rose to about 1.9 million in 2006 before declining in the last several years to its current level of 1,552,432. Marijuana s share of all drug arrests sharply declined in the early 1980s, from 67.4% in 1982 to 29.3% in 1898, displaced in part by the emergence of crack cocaine as a major focus of antidrug law enforcement. It then began to rise steadily to a level of 46.5% in 2000, declined over the following years to 42.6% in 2005, and then began to rise steadily to a peak of 54.7% in Data on marijuana arrests as a percentage of all arrests in the states for 2008 through 2012 is presented in Table A9. Marijuana arrests accounted for two-thirds of more of all drug arrests in five states: Nebraska (74.1%), New Hampshire (72%), Montana (70.3%), Wyoming (68.7%) and Wisconsin (67.1%) The smallest shares are for California (10.6%) and Massachusetts (19.7%); these are due to the change of marijuana possession offenses from criminal to civil infractions. In 2008, prior to this change, marijuana offenses were 47.6% of drug arrests in Massachusetts and 29.1% of drug arrests in California. Otherwise the states where marijuana arrests are the lowest percentage of all drug arrests are Utah (43.1%), Kentucky (41%), New Mexico (40.8%), Connecticut (36%) and Alabama (32.8%). The indicator is under 50% in 11 states for 2012, and over 60% in 14 states. Marijuana accounts for half of all drug arrests in the United States except for the two states that have, by 2012, made personal use possession offenses a civil infraction. While marijuana arrests provide a statistical indicator on anti-drug law enforcement activity it is also statistically valid to conclude that they divert resources away from law enforcement efforts targeted at other problems involving heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs. The number of marijuana arrests in each state from 2008 to 2012 is presented in Table A10 along with the annual rate of change for this period. Table A11 provides data on the number of arrests in each state as a percentage of the number of annual marijuana users. This data is previewed in Table 2 below, which lists the states with the top 15 highest arrest rates for marijuana offenses in the United States. Page 14

16 Table 2. Top 15 States Marijuana Arrest Rate per 100,000 Population (2012) Total Marijuana Arrests Marijuana Arrest Rate per 100,000 Population Pct of Annual Users Arrested United States 749, % District of Columbia 4, % New York 112, % Louisiana 20, % Illinois 55, % Nebraska 7, % Wyoming 2, % South Carolina 18, % Maryland 22, % Tennessee 23, % Mississippi 10, % Missouri 20, % South Dakota 2, % Wisconsin 18, % Delaware 2, % New Jersey 27, % Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Program; (Population data for calculation of arrest rates obtained from the Census Bureau) District of Columbia and Illinois data obtained from local Criminal Justice Agencies. Setting aside the issue of what percent of marijuana users are arrested for the moment, there is great variance in arrest rates for marijuana in the United States. The national arrest rate is 239. The five state-level jurisdictions with the highest arrest rates are the District of Columbia (729), New York (577), Louisiana (451), Illinois (447) and Nebraska (421). Other states with relatively high arrest rates (above 300) are Wyoming, South Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada, and Georgia. Once again the lowest levels are in California and Massachusetts. Aside from these states the lowest arrest rates are in Alaska (127), Hawaii (109), Washington (105), Connecticut (104) and Alabama (75). The variance in state-level arrest rates can be seen in Figure 3 below. Page 15

17 Figure 3. Marijuana Arrest Rate per 100,000 Population (2012) *District of Columbia (728.67) and Illinois (447.34) based on 2011 data Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Program; (Population data for calculation of arrest rates obtained from the Census Bureau) District of Columbia, Illinois, and Alabama data obtained from local Criminal Justice Agencies. State level data on all marijuana offenses, possession offenses, and sales offenses (and associated arrest rates) for the years 2008 to 2012 are provided in Tables A10 through A16. Juvenile arrests and rates for marijuana offenses are provided in Tables A17 and A18. Table 2 (above) and Table A11 report marijuana arrests as a percentage of the estimated population of annual marijuana users. Table 2 reports this percentage for 2010/2011 and Table A11 reports it for the same period along with 2008/2009. This percentage is comparable to a common indicator of law enforcement/crime activity known as a clearance rate. In addition to arrest data the UCR program also collects data for offense known and reported to police for 8 major crimes as well as data on what percentage of these reported offenses are cleared by arrest or otherwise solved for reporting purposes. This indicator is reported for murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Clearance rates are reported by most police agencies, most commonly in annual reports issued by the State Police or comparable agency. National and other data on clearance rates is reported annually by the FBI in their report on Crime in the United States. The national clearance rates (for all reporting agencies in the US) for 2012 are murder (62.5%), rape (40.1%), robbery (28.1%), aggravated assault (55.8%), burglary (12.7%) larceny-theft (22%), motor vehicle theft (11.9%), and arson (20.4%). Page 16

18 Table 3. Top 15 States Marijuana Arrests as a Percentage of Annual Users (2012) Arrests Annual Percent Users Arrested United States 845,717 30,351, % Louisiana 19, , % New York 127,321 2,131, % Maryland 25, , % Nebraska 7, , % Wyoming 2,294 44, % Illinois* 58,789 1,200, % District of Columbia* 4, , % Missouri 21, , % South Dakota 2,267 51, % South Carolina 18, , % Tennessee 21, , % Georgia 30, , % Wisconsin 18, , % Mississippi 9, , % Texas 73,494 1,954, % Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health; Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Program; (Population data for calculation of arrest rates obtained from the Census Bureau) District of Columbia and Illinois data obtained from local Criminal Justice Agencies. National Survey on Drug Use and Health: 2-Year R-DAS (2010 to 2011). Analysis ran on (01:35 PM EDT) using SDA 3.5: Tables. Nationally, only 2.8% of marijuana users were arrested in 2010/2011. Examination of the percentage of marijuana users arrested provides perspective on the failure of marijuana arrests to deter marijuana use, even given the doubling of the arrest rate over the last two decades. Table A11 shows that in this period the arrest percentage of all users varied from 1% or less in Hawaii, Montana, Vermont, and Massachusetts to 5% or more in Wyoming, Nebraska, Maryland, New York, and Louisiana. The top 15 states with respect to this indicator are listed in Table 3. Marijuana arrests keep law enforcement officers busy, regardless of how the cases are disposed of by the Courts. But do they really have any impact on marijuana use? In terms of clearance rates the percentage of marijuana users who are arrested is not even close to the percentage of offenses cleared by arrest for the burglary and motor vehicle theft (about 12% for each). One significant difference is that for burglary and motor vehicle theft there are victims whose reports about the crime assist law enforcement efforts to identify and arrest the offender. It could be argued that a reallocation of resources from marijuana arrests to more serious crime might increase clearance rates, but funding is one of many factors that account for law enforcement s ability to clear a reported offense by arrest. Of greater importance is that law enforcement faces challenges to make arrests for serious crimes, when there is evidence, witnesses, and a victim. The relatively low percentage of arrests of marijuana users underscores the difficulty police have in making sufficient arrests to have a deterrent effect. The annual rate of change in marijuana arrests at the state level provides another revealing perspective on marijuana arrests in the United States. Between 2008 and 2010 there was an average of 853,000 marijuana arrests per year. In 2012 this figure had dropped to about Page 17

19 750,000. Yet nearly two-thirds of this decrease was due to the elimination of criminal penalties for personal marijuana possession in two states, California and Massachusetts. How did other trends in individual states affect the national figures? The average annual change in the national arrest rate for marijuana in the United States from 2008 to 2012 was -3.8%. Data on the annual average change in marijuana arrests and marijuana arrest rates is presented in Tables A10 and A14. The top 15 states for annual percentage increases in marijuana arrests are provided in Table 4 below. Changes in population might have an effect on the total number of arrests; arrest rates per 100,000 population will provide a more dependable measure of trends over time. The top 17 states for annual percentage increases in the arrest rate for marijuana offenses is provided in Table 5 below. Page 18

20 Table 4. Top 15 States Annual Percentage Increases in Marijuana Arrests ( ) * 2011 data 2008 Marijuana Arrests 2012 Marijuana Arrests Average Annual Change United States 847, , % South Carolina 11,012 18, % District of Columbia 3,450 4,515* 9.4% South Dakota 1,989 2, % North Dakota 1,377 1, % Utah 4,535 5, % Montana 1,288 1, % Idaho 3,414 4, % Illinois 50,747 57,758* 4.4% Virginia 20,094 23, % New Jersey 24,781 27, % Oregon 9,438 10, % Tennessee 21,171 23, % New York 102, , % Wisconsin 17,421 18, % West Virginia 4,346 4, % Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Program; (Population data for calculation of arrest rates obtained from the Census Bureau) District of Columbia and Illinois data obtained from local Criminal Justice Agencies. Table 5. Top 17 States Annual Percentage Increases in Marijuana Arrest Rates ( ) 2008 Marijuana Arrest Rate 2012 Marijuana Arrests Rate Average Annual Change United States % South Carolina % District of Columbia* * 7.7% South Dakota % North Dakota % Utah % Illinois* * 4.3% Montana % Idaho % Virginia % New York % New Jersey % Oregon % Tennessee % Wisconsin % Vermont % Michigan % West Virginia % * 2011 data Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Program; (Population data for calculation of arrest rates obtained from the Census Bureau) District of Columbia and Illinois data obtained from local Criminal Justice Agencies. Page 19

21 The 17 states in Table 5 are all the states where the marijuana arrest rate rose by an average of 1% per year or more from 2008 to 2012 (except the District of Columbia and Illinois, where the increase was from 2008 to 2011.) Marijuana arrests also increased by.8% per year in Rhode Island and.1% per year in Louisiana. Of these 17 jurisdictions, 12 had an annual increase greater than 2% and 8 greater than 3% per year. They account for 28.8% of the population of the United States and 44.6% of the arrests for marijuana offenses. These states share various overlapping attributes. Four of these 17 have top ten rankings for marijuana as a percentage of all drug arrests (Montana #3, Wisconsin #5, New York #7, and North Dakota #8). Five of these 17 have arrest rates in the top ten (District of Columbia - #1, New York #2, Illinois #4, South Carolina #7, and Tennessee #9). Four of these 17 jurisdictions are in the top ten for annual marijuana use (Vermont #1, District of Columbia #3, Oregon #5, and Montana #7). Five of these 17 jurisdictions are in the top ten of Great Risk (Utah #1, West Virginia #5, South Dakota #6, Tennessee #8, North Dakota - #9). Finally, 5 of these 17 jurisdictions are in the top ten for availability (Vermont #1, Montana - #2, West Virginia #3, Oregon #4, and District of Columbia #6). These 17 states in which marijuana arrests have been steadily increasing from 2008 to 2012 are indicated by red and orange in the map provided by Figure 4 below, which displays the average annual changes in marijuana rates for the continental United States. Figure 4. Annual Change in Marijuana Arrest Rate per 100,000 Population ( ) *District of Columbia (9.4%) and Illinois (4.4%) based on 2008 to 2011 data Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Program; (Population data for calculation of arrest rates obtained from the Census Bureau); District of Columbia, Illinois, and Alabama data obtained from local Criminal Justice Agencies The top 15 states in which the arrest rate for marijuana decreased in this period are provided in Table 6. Page 20

22 Table 6. Top 15 States Annual Percentage Decreases in Marijuana Arrest Rates ( ) 2008 Marijuana Arrest Rate 2012 Marijuana Arrests Rate Average Annual Change United States 847, , % Massachusetts 10,260 2, % California 78,642 21, % Alabama 10,209 3, % Washington 16,577 7, % Connecticut 8,589 3, % Kentucky 12,584 8, % Oklahoma 12,548 9, % Ohio 22,634 18, % Arizona 20,367 16, % Alaska 1, % Arkansas 7,124 5, % Colorado 12,620 10, % Maryland 26,593 22, % Indiana 15,903 13, % Mississippi 11,817 10, % Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Program; (Population data for calculation of arrest rates obtained from the Census Bureau) Alabama data obtained from local Criminal Justice Agency. The leading states with a deceasing arrest rate are Massachusetts and California, as indicated above these states changed personal marijuana possession from a criminal to a civil offense. Five states (Connecticut, Washington, Alabama, California, and Massachusetts) have a reduction greater than 19% per year. The reduction in California and Massachusetts is due to the replacement of criminal penalties for possession with civil penalties. Washington passed a legalization initiative in 2012, at the end of the period under review. Ohio (a reduction of 5.2% per year) has one of the largest quantity allowances for their deinstitutionalization policy (100 grams). Colorado (a reduction of 5.8% per year) passed a legalization measure in Alaska (a reduction of 6.3% annually) has long allowed legal home possession and/or cultivation of marijuana under a right to privacy interpretation of their state constitution. Maryland, with an average reduction of 5.6% per year, passed a decriminalization bill in Fourteen states have an average annual reduction of 4% or more. These states account for 34.4% of the population of the United States and 19.5% of all marijuana arrests. Five of these states are in the top ten of annual marijuana use (Alaska #2, Colorado #6, Washington #8, Massachusetts #9, and California #10). Only 3 of these jurisdictions are in the bottom 15 of Perception of Great Risk (Alaska #51, Colorado #50, and Arizona #40). Only 4 are in the top 15 for marijuana availability (Colorado #5, Alaska #12, California #13, Kentucky #14). Leaving out California and Massachusetts, in the remaining 12 jurisdictions marijuana arrests are an average of 49% of all drug arrests, some of the lowest levels in all the states. Aside from Colorado at #14 and Alaska at #18, 3 states have rankings in the 20s Page 21

23 (Arizona, Maryland, and Oklahoma), and the remaining states in this category rank from 38 to 49 in the country.) Many of these states with decreasing marijuana arrest rates have something in common. Many have adopted of marijuana law reform innovations such as deinstitutionalization, decriminalization, or legalization. In addition, marijuana arrests have a lower priority with respect to other drug arrests, to the extent this is indicated by the overall percentage of all drug arrests accounted for by marijuana offenses. This review of annual changes in arrest rates demonstrates that marijuana arrests are subject to a number of local factors, including but not limited to the general issues of other drug arrests, annual marijuana use, risk perception, and availability. Statistically there are no correlations between arrest rates and or arrest rate trends and any of the other indicators reviewed in this report. This just reinforces the likelihood that no single group of factors explains trends for all states. Marijuana arrest rates are affected by local considerations, and as such are not reliable instruments of national policy. Table 7 summarizes trends in both arrest rates and annual use. It may be that marijuana arrests are increasing in many states due because of the increase in marijuana use. But there are just as many, actually more, states in which marijuana arrest rates are decreasing in face of increased use. In only 3 states are increasing arrest rates accompanied by decreasing usage trends, and in only 7 states are both decreasing arrest and usage rates found. Page 22

24 Table 7. Comparison of Arrest Rate and Annual Use Trends (Arrest Rates ; Annual Use 2002/2003 to 2010/2011)) Arrest Rate Increasing Annual Use Increasing South Carolina: Rate ( 11.60% ); Use ( 6.9% ) District Of Columbia*: Rate ( 7.70% ); Use ( 7.9% ) Utah: Rate ( 4.50% ); Use ( 0.4% ) Illinois*: Rate ( 4.30% ); Use ( 4.4% ) Montana: Rate ( 3.50% ); Use ( 5.1% ) Idaho: Rate ( 3.20% ); Use ( 13.2% ) Virginia: Rate ( 2.60% ); Use ( 4.3% ) New Jersey: Rate ( 2.40% ); Use ( 8.4% ) New York: Rate ( 2.40% ); Use ( 1.8% ) Oregon: Rate ( 2.10% ); Use ( 5.7% ) Tennessee: Rate ( 1.70% ); Use ( 9.5% ) Wisconsin: Rate ( 1.20% ); Use ( 0.2% ) Michigan: Rate ( 1.00% ); Use ( 1.5% ) Vermont: Rate ( 1.00% ); Use ( 5.4% ) West Virginia: Rate ( 1.00% ); Use ( 4.4% ) Rhode Island: Rate ( 0.80% ); Use ( 4.7% ) Annual Use Decreasing South Dakota: Rate ( 7.30% ); Use ( -2.5% ) North Dakota: Rate ( 5.50% ); Use ( -1.2% ) Louisiana: Rate ( 0.10% ); Use ( -2.2% ) Arrest Rate Decreasing Georgia: Rate ( -0.30% ); Use ( 1.3% ) New Mexico: Rate ( -0.30% ); Use ( 3.9% ) Wyoming: Rate ( -0.40% ); Use ( 0.3% ) Iowa: Rate ( -0.60% ); Use ( 1.6% ) Kansas: Rate ( -0.60% ); Use ( 1.6% ) Pennsylvania: Rate ( -0.90% ); Use ( 3.3% ) Texas: Rate ( -0.90% ); Use ( 6.7% ) Hawaii: Rate ( -1.10% ); Use ( 3.3% ) Nebraska: Rate ( -1.50% ); Use ( 0.4% ) Nevada: Rate ( -1.60% ); Use ( 8.4% ) Maine: Rate ( -1.80% ); Use ( 3.0% ) North Carolina: Rate ( -2.50% ); Use ( 7.2% ) Mississippi: Rate ( -3.60% ); Use ( 6.3% ) Delaware: Rate ( -3.90% ); Use ( 8.2% ) Arizona: Rate ( -5.00% ); Use ( 11.5% ) Indiana: Rate ( -5.10% ); Use ( 4.0% ) Ohio: Rate ( -5.20% ); Use ( 1.9% ) Colorado: Rate ( -5.80% ); Use ( 4.8% ) Alaska: Rate ( -6.30% ); Use ( 6.9% ) Oklahoma: Rate ( -7.50% ); Use ( 4.0% ) Connecticut: Rate ( % ); Use ( 5.8% ) Washington: Rate ( % ); Use ( 6.2% ) Alabama: Rate ( % ); Use ( 3.7% ) California: Rate ( % ); Use ( 7.3% ) Minnesota: Rate ( -0.50% ); Use ( -0.7% ) Missouri: Rate ( -2.20% ); Use ( -6.0% ) New Hampshire: Rate ( -2.50% ); Use ( -3.8% ) Arkansas: Rate ( -5.40% ); Use ( -0.8% ) Maryland: Rate ( -5.60% ); Use ( -2.2% ) Kentucky: Rate ( -8.70% ); Use ( -2.4% ) Massachusetts: Rate ( % ); Use ( -0.5% ) *2008 to 2011 data Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Program; (Population data for calculation of arrest rates obtained from the Census Bureau) Alabama, District of Columbia, Illinois data obtained from local Criminal Justice Agencies. National Survey on Drug Use and Health: 2-Year R-DAS (2010 to 2011). Analysis ran on (01:35 PM EDT) using SDA 3.5: Tables. Page 23

25 Conclusion Numbers provide certainty. Over the last two decades marijuana arrests and marijuana arrest rates have doubled, and at great expense to both the public and the individuals arrested. Discussions over the amount of the actual cost to both parties are of interest and importance, but their outcome does not change the basic facts presented in this report. Marijuana arrests have increased significantly, and in many states they continue to increase. The other important fact is that despite these arrests marijuana use has been increasing over the last decade. It may be that marijuana arrests are increasing because marijuana use is increasing. There may be, indeed, another explanation. Public support for ending marijuana prohibition has reached unprecedented levels. A majority of the public supports marijuana s legalization. The medical use of marijuana has been legalized in many states. The decriminalization of personal marijuana possession is also a gaining popularity with both the public and its political representatives. Measures to legalize marijuana have been enacted in two states, and are under consideration in several others. Law enforcement is often opposed to public policies which have the objective of reducing or ending arrests for marijuana offenses (most of which involve personal possession of relatively modest quantities.) Law enforcement officers and representatives often refer to the experience they have with marijuana users, and they justify their opposition to marijuana law reform with observations and opinions based on this experience. However, as other statistics prove, they have experience with only a minute percentage of marijuana users hardly a representative sample. In most cases the opinions of law enforcement officers are due deference and respect. However, when it comes to the issue of marijuana arrests, especially in light of the data on arrests and use, the issue of law enforcement s support for continuing and increasing marijuana arrests warrants scrutiny. With all due respect, don t police have anything better to do with their time and resources? This question may seem a bit flippant at first glance given national concern over drug abuse and related problems. However there are other public policy measures devoted to addressing these problems, and many of them have demonstrated effectiveness. Education and prevention programs have proven effective at reducing alcohol and tobacco use. Are police officers concerned that ending marijuana arrests will divert law enforcement funding to other social programs? The financial benefits law enforcement receives due to laws providing for the arrest of marijuana users need to be studied and debated. In light of their failure to curb the increase in marijuana use the costs and benefits of marijuana arrests, and who bears them, require greater study. Page 24

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