Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Marijuana Arrests Set New Record

Marijuana Policy Project

More Americans Arrested on Marijuana Charges in 2004 than for All Violent Crimes Combined

WASHINGTON, D.C.—According to figures released today by the FBI, marijuana arrests set a new record in 2004, totaling 771,605. Eighty-nine percent of these arrests were for marijuana possession, not sale or manufacture.

In contrast, arrests for all violent crimes combined totalled 590,258—a decline from 2003.

"It's important to remember that each of these statistics represents a human being, and in many cases, a preventable tragedy," said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "One of those marijuana arrests in 2004 was Jonathan Magbie, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient who died in the Washington, D.C., city jail while serving a 10-day sentence for marijuana possession. Had Congress not blocked the district's medical marijuana law from taking effect, Jonathan Magbie would almost certainly be alive today.

"Over the weekend, Melissa Etheridge became the latest celebrity to acknowledge using medical marijuana, using it to treat the nausea and pain she experienced while undergoing cancer chemotherapy. Etheridge is a hero to many, and for good reason. But for every Melissa Etheridge or Montel Williams, there are hundreds of thousands more Americans whom most of us will never hear of—ordinary Americans who live in fear, suffer and, yes, sometimes die because of our irrational marijuana laws. It is time for Congress to end this cruel war on the sick and enact marijuana laws based on science and common sense."

With more than 18,000 members and 120,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana—both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment. For more information, please visit www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.


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