Pot Prisoners Cost Americans $1 Billion a Year

  Pot Prisoners Cost Americans $1 Billion a Year

Posted by CN Staff on February 10, 2007 at 07:16:35 PT
By Paul Armentano, AlterNet 
Source: AlterNet 

USA -- American taxpayers are now spending more than a billion dollars per year to incarcerate its citizens for pot. That's according to statistics recently released by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics.According to the new BJS report, "Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004," 12.7 percent of state inmates and 12.4 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for drug violations are serving time for marijuana offenses.
Combining these percentages with separate U.S. Department of Justice statistics on the total number of state and federal drug prisoners suggests that 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 and/or local jails for pot-related offenses.Multiplying these totals by U.S. DOJ prison expenditure data reveals that taxpayers are spending more than $1 billion annually to imprison pot offenders.The new report is noteworthy because it undermines the common claim from law enforcement officers and bureaucrats, specifically White House drug czar John Walters, that few, if any, Americans are incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. In reality, nearly 1 out of 8 U.S. drug prisoners are locked up for pot.Of course, several hundred thousand more Americans are arrested each year for violating marijuana laws, costing taxpayers another $8 billion dollars annually in criminal justice costs.According to the most recent figures available from the FBI, police arrested an estimated 786,545 people on marijuana charges in 2005 -- more than twice the number of Americans arrested just 12 years ago. Among those arrested, about 88 percent -- some 696,074 Americans -- were charged with possession only. The remaining 90,471 individuals were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses, even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use.These totals are the highest ever recorded by the FBI, and make up 42.6 percent of all drug arrests in the United States. Nevertheless, self-reported pot use by adults, as well as the ready availability of marijuana on the black market, remains virtually unchanged.Marijuana isn't a harmless substance, and those who argue for a change in the drug's legal status do not claim it to be. However, pot's relative risks to the user and society are arguably fewer than those of alcohol and tobacco, and they do not warrant the expenses associated with targeting, arresting and prosecuting hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.According to federal statistics, about 94 million Americans -- that's 40 percent of the U.S. population age 12 or older -- self-identify as having used cannabis at some point in their lives, and relatively few acknowledge having suffered significant deleterious health effects due to their use. America's public policies should reflect this reality, not deny it. It makes no sense to continue to treat nearly half of all Americans as criminals.This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner. Paul Armentano is the senior policy analyst for the NORML Foundation in Washington, DC. (, 888-67-NORML). Source: AlterNet (US)Author:  Paul Armentano, AlterNetPublished: February 10, 2007Copyright: 2007 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: Article & Web Site:NORML Billion Dollars a Year for Pot? -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #26 posted by Hope on February 11, 2007 at 05:03:41 PT

Texas Lte. to Mr. White
Well, Sir or Madam... whoever wrote that response to Stan White's true letter. I don't believe YOU can unjustify what The Word says and what Stan White points out.Actually, I don't care if you believe, Sir or Madam, or not. Mr. White pointed out a piece of scripture to you pertaining to the plants Jehovah God created. All of them. Stan White told you what it said. That's what it says...and cannabists ARE "justified" as well as "sanctified" along with their cannabis if they give thanks to God for it... "... by the word of God and prayer". All plants. That is what that passage in Genesis actually says, according to virtually all translations...and none of the versions I have seen of those words are notated to say that "there was more with this verse...but we couldn't make out what it you can just add whatever you think to the verse." Is that your "ticket"?You "stumble" by your "do not not not touch"...follow the "traditions of men" as you seek to judge another for using what he is thankful to his maker for.Yes you stumble...and you add words of your own to the scripture. That's not a good idea. You are about understanding you and equivocationand adding spin to the truth . Read what it says. Believe it.Why would you do that? Oh yes...I think I know..."The wisdom of man" opposed to the "wisdom of God".

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Comment #25 posted by Toker00 on February 11, 2007 at 04:26:52 PT

Loretta Nall and windypundit's review of
Never Get Busted. Windypundit's review is in the comments.
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Comment #24 posted by The GCW on February 11, 2007 at 01:18:56 PT

US TX: LTE: No Justification For Pot
LTE #1US TX: PUB LTE: Conflict of Interest? a comment to letter #1US TX: LTE: No Justification For Pot Fri, 09 Feb 2007Source: Lufkin Daily News (TX)NO JUSTIFICATION FOR POT In reference to Mr. White's letter of Feb. 2, wherein he is seeking to prove that God approves the use of marijuana because he made seed of all plants ( Gen. 1:11-12 ); and it was good. His logic seems to indicate that he has been puffing too much "weed," or "grass" as he would put it. In the first place I find no mention of marijuana in Gen. 1:11-12. "Marijuana" is "prepared from cannabis, the hemp weed." This plant is used to make rope and other products. God also made the seed of belladonna, a plant with beautiful flowers, but if ingested is poisonous and will result in death. He made the seed of the hemlock plant, which is a poisonous plant of the carrot family. God made the seed of the opium poppy, which produces opium from the juice of the unripe seed capsules. Morphine is also produced from this plant. All of these plants serve a purpose if used right, but if used wrongly are harmful. God also made seed corn, rye and barley. These are all good food products when processed for food, but when used to produce whiskey, beer, etc. can be harmful, but only because man has changed its intended use. No, Mr. White I don't think you can find justification for marijuana ( Maryjane ) in Gen. 1:11-12. 
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Comment #23 posted by Toker00 on February 10, 2007 at 16:53:44 PT

Help regain our liberty! Change the MCA!
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Comment #22 posted by Toker00 on February 10, 2007 at 15:47:17 PT

Storm Crow
That is too damn cool. The other day I got the last letter I mailed him back with a return to sender stamped on it. I will re-send it to this address. Look forward to hearing him here, if he comes. I'm sure he will. : )Thanks.Toke.
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Comment #21 posted by Storm Crow on February 10, 2007 at 15:26:21 PT

Remeber Randy Brush?
CN had a news article about him on the 25th or so. Tonya posted this over at today. It's pretty good news! There's even a photo of him and Tonya. Tonya	
Randy is Free (well almost)
I have photos I am trying to resize... So be patient ... But Randy sends his love.... and he looked AMAZING.... WE met with the Governors Legislative Director. That went well..We discussed the need to prevent inceration of the other Randys in Ohio and world wide for using medical cannabis to stop the pain.
Result was
If a medical cannabis bill comes before Ohios Governor it will be passed I am almost confident....
Randy and I both did interviews with the NPR so as soon as its posted I will get it to you.
We were met by a few supporters and Jim Cowen VP NONORML picked him up at the prison.
I traveled normally a hour and 20 min drive in 2 hrs and 1/2. Wed the 7th of Feb 2007 The roads were hazardous. I did this alone.
It was def the most dificult yet most exciting day. Dificult because of weather (We had just had 5 inches of snow), my poor health and my disabilities. I wasnt going to let Randy down so I got my chair in the van dont know how I did but I did. I kept thinking Martin Luther King wouldnt have let a little snow stop him.
Van was covered in snow and because of ice and cold the windsheild cracked all the way across while I was driving. so it was challenging..ok back to Randy
Here is Randys new address. He will be in this halfway house im told for 120 days at which point he will will be off probation and all..
Randy would love to hear from you.
After 30 days he will get online and speak to you himself.
His address is as followsRandy Brush (TC)
PO box 27470
Cleveland Ohio 44127
PeaceTonya Davis
plus many other great activists have videos there.
******  Wayne, Toker00, Had enough, Hope, goneposthole and Doc James- If you'd like to send Brenda a letter expressing your views of her character and actions, I have her address. PM me (Storm Crow) at International Cannagraphic, or I won't post it all over the net, but if you want it, you can have it for the asking. (Please be civil- Randy's kids or the cops might see them.) 
  Incidentally, goneposthole, you are quite right about the level of toking teachers! And among teacher's aides it's even higher! 

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Comment #20 posted by goneposthole on February 10, 2007 at 11:17:26 PT

random drug testing
If the DEA would randomly drug test school teachers, they would be taken aback at the results.Students need to organize a union to protect their rights.American citizens need to organize a union to protect them from the US government.The US government forces the taxslaves to serve the US gov.The US government must be mocked. It doesn't have your freedom in mind. In fact, freedom is not on the agenda whatsoever. Just controlling you is what is on the insane 'mind' of the US gov.Don't use those pharmaceutical drugs that kill, smoke cannabis. The best things in life are free.
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Comment #19 posted by paul armentano on February 10, 2007 at 10:44:25 PT

FOM, et al... I also have an article today here...
Folks may wish to read the full article at the url below or you may wish to post it on C-News.Best,
Paul House Requests Increased Funding for Failed Student Drug-Testing, Discredited Anti-Pot Adsby Paul ArmentanoIn a move that should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, the Bush administration's FY 08 budget requests significant increases in federal funding to randomly drug-test student athletes and pay for discredited public service announcements urging teens to avoid marijuana.
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Comment #18 posted by Toker00 on February 10, 2007 at 10:17:24 PT

Okay, I'm done. Hey Dankhank, Had Enough and 
BGreen! You guys ok?
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Comment #17 posted by Toker00 on February 10, 2007 at 10:10:46 PT

One more and I'll be done. For now.
Dear MoveOn member,Since Thursday afternoon, 370,018 of us have called on Congress to stop President Bush's budget cuts and save NPR and PBS. 370,000 of us in just 36 hours!Can you help make it half a million signatures? Here's what the petition says: "Congress must save NPR and PBS once and for all. Congress should guarantee permanent funding and independence from partisan meddling." Just click here to add your name: id= 9861-6910519-c_6gsr.Czw3Znat_EDWDLw&t= 1Every additional signer will mean more pressure on Congress to block this cut and make sure this kind of partisan meddling never happens again. President Bush cannot be allowed to slash strong journalism and shows like "Sesame Street."We've won this fight before. Together, we can make sure we never have to confront this issue again.Thanks,–Noah, Joan, Carrie, Marika and the Civic Action Team
 Saturday, February 10th, 2007Toke.
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Comment #16 posted by Toker00 on February 10, 2007 at 10:03:05 PT

And then this...
Hi (You),Access to affordable drugs should not be a privilege only the rich are allowed. Generic drugs, including HIV medicines, are benefiting millions of people in India and in developing countries around the world.But now, giant drug company Novartis is challenging India's patent law and trying to prevent less expensive drugs from competing with their profits. The next court hearing is in six days!Tell the CEO of Novartis to withdraw this lawsuit >> news reports say that AIDS will soon be the third leading cause of death around the world. In poor countries, nearly 7 million people living with HIV and AIDS urgently need medicines, and half of those rely on less expensive generic medicines made in India. Novartis wants to make it tougher for poor people to get access to these generic drugs.Novartis' demands violate existing world trade rules that declare that developing countries can produce and import less expensive versions of medicines in the interests of public health. The only benefit would be even more profits for Novartis itself - and they are already rich!Millions of people depend on less expensive, life-saving medicines. There is already pressure on Novartis to drop their lawsuit. Please contact Novartis' CEO today and tell him you are one of many who oppose this lawsuit!From
With gratitude,Robyn E.
Care2 and
ThePetitionSite TeamToke. 
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Comment #15 posted by Toker00 on February 10, 2007 at 09:55:14 PT

Meanwhile, back at the Farmacy...
Medical Cannabis Week.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on February 10, 2007 at 09:51:58 PT

Yes! Power To The People!
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Comment #13 posted by Toker00 on February 10, 2007 at 09:45:38 PT

Hey, FoM.
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Comment #12 posted by Toker00 on February 10, 2007 at 09:41:00 PT

Via the Reefer Madness Museum.
Reefer Madness Museum
V2-3Sears Roebuck & Co.At last, we’ve found proof that Sears’ Roebuck & Co.,
sold Medical Marihuana. According to their 1901
catalog [courtesy of the U.C. Santa Barbara University
Library], sears sold the following [note that the
first two were sold via house brands]: Sears, Roebuck & Co. [1901] 
Chicago ILL. U.S.A. 
Tinctures - No. 8R8936 - Cannabis Indica. U.S.P. 
No. 8R8328 Neuralgic, Kenyon 
Proprietary and Patent Medicines - Battle’s Bromidia 
Proprietary and Patent Medicines - Piso’s Consumption
Cure And while normally this would not be big news
[remember Cannabis medicines at one time were as
common as aspirin is today] what makes Sears so
different is what else they sold -- During the Reefer
Madness Era. According to their encyclopedia: MARIHUANA, the Mexican name for a narcotic drug
obtained from the leaves of the hemp plant CANNABIS
and generally used in cigarettes. Introduced from
Mexico about 1910, probably at New Orleans or in the
southwestern states, its use has spread at an alarming
rate in the United States Known by a variety of local
terms, . . . “The Weed,” it is considered by many
authorities to be the most potent drug in common use. 
 - Although the effect of marihuana is often
unpredictable, and may range from extreme elation to
profound melancholy, the result is almost invariably
accompanied by a loss of restraint and self-control,
with subsequent erratic behavior. Hallucinations of
sight and hearing are not uncommon, and delusions of
strength may lead to feats of endurance without sense
of fatigue. Although the long-run effects of the
continued use of the drug are disputed by medical
authorities, it is thought by some that chronic
addiction leads to a loss of mental ability, stupor,
and indolence, and that in such cases irreparable
damage is done to brain tissue and nerve centers, and
insanity may be the result. - Marijuana smoking did
not become a problem in the United States until about
25 years ago and has caused serious concern only in
the past 12 to 15 years. Its use has spread to all
sections of the country, being especially prevalent in
large cities. In 1937 it was estimated that there
were over 100,000 marijuana addicts in the United
States, the majority being of high school and college
age. An index of the great increase in the use of
marijuana since that year is the number of arrests for
violation of narcotic drug laws, which more than
doubled between 1937 and 1950. Yeah, right! To this day, Sears has consistently
refused to apologize for their statements. Maybe
proof that they were selling Cannabis on the side
might help out. If anyone wants to see [selected pages] from the Sears
catalog, feel free to ask. Antique Andy
Museum Curator
antique_andy Toke.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on February 10, 2007 at 09:38:50 PT

That was a very informative link. Thank goodness for the Internet and all the people who keep it working for the people.
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Comment #10 posted by Toker00 on February 10, 2007 at 09:25:55 PT

OT: The Heat is On!
Know where the '08 candidates stand on Global Warming? You will if you click this link:
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Comment #9 posted by goneposthole on February 10, 2007 at 09:08:02 PT

The Pogrom 
"We'll teach those 'cannabists' a dern good lesson, we'll put them in prison. We'll do it again and again and again and again." "That is how it is going to be done, and that's that."  Convicted child molestors can run free in neighborhoods. Murderers can appeal, maybe spend few years in prison.That's ok."If you want to use cannabis, we'll persecute you ."Ha Ha
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on February 10, 2007 at 09:05:08 PT

Thank you. I read the November Coalition link. I am so sick and tired of this happening to good people. I'm angry about it too.
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Comment #7 posted by ekim on February 10, 2007 at 09:00:54 PT

ck out interview
Tucker Carlson vs. Mark SouderAnd Carlson wins in a knockout.
Watch this video all the way through and see how Tucker continually sets up Souder and lets him hang himself. The end of it is classic!
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Comment #6 posted by ekim on February 10, 2007 at 08:50:30 PT

thank you dirtmover
Paul has done a great service in showing how much this is costing in dollars and human suffering. we can only hope the CA SC will rule for the good of the people-- and AG Jerry Brown will work to allow med cannabis defence in court.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on February 10, 2007 at 08:16:58 PT

I like your name. It teases the imagination.For me, my Dad was a dirtmover after he retired from professional rodeo. He was a genius with heavy equipment.I understand "dirt", too. I would love to have a smallish bulldozer. :0)My son also has "dirt"...he does all that stuff about drainage and sewers and contours and landscaping for housing developments and such...among other things related to drafting and design.DC Greenhouse is someone's hero. I'm sure of it. His courage and compassion shines like a beacon. God knows, we don't need anymore martyrs.I read somewhere recently the saying, "It's dangerous to be right, when the government is wrong."
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Comment #4 posted by dirtmover on February 10, 2007 at 08:12:22 PT

More about DC also attended "Weedstock", a gathering of about 70 Northern California activists, several years ago.
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Comment #3 posted by ekim on February 10, 2007 at 08:11:35 PT

can you tell us more about DC. Norml and Mpp have offices in DC.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 10, 2007 at 08:04:43 PT

Just a Note
I'm really not sure if anyone is interested but C-Span is covering Senator Obama's announcement for president right now.
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Comment #1 posted by dirtmover on February 10, 2007 at 08:04:22 PT

A few days ago, an activist known as DC Greenhouse was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison.This gentleman is not a violent criminal. He is outspoken on Medical Marijuana.The local police didn't like that, and called in the feds.There is much more to the story. DC is 60 years old. He was allegedly operating a dispensary.Nothing like persecution for trying to do what is right.
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