(DailyCaller) Police are arresting more people for marijuana use and possession than for all violent crimes combined.
There were over 574,640 arrests for marijuana possession in 2015, according to a report released on Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“By comparison, there were 505,681 arrests for violent crimes. This means that police made almost 14 percent more arrests for simple marijuana possession than for all violent crimes combined,” the report states. The FBI defines violent crime as murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
A large portion of the incarcerated are awaiting trial and have not been convicted. They often cannot afford to post bail, especially due to a litany of court-imposed fines and fees.
Proponents of more harsh penalties for drug possession, including marijuana, contend that being aggressive is necessary to dissuade people from obtaining or using the substances.
“Anyone who says that incarceration has no effect on public safety should then explain the record crime declines of the 90s and early 2000s when we started to lock away dangerous career criminals for longer periods of time. Think of the people who are alive today because we got smart on crime by getting tougher,” Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. argues in an op-ed for the Hill.
But data indicates that marijuana use among the populace has not changed.
“Since 2002, marijuana use in the United States has increased among persons aged ≥18 years [the majority of the population], but not among those aged 12–17 years,” a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report reads.
Image from Brian Duffy