Marijuana, Science, and Public Policy

Marijuana Arrests in the United States (2007)
A Special Report in the November, 2009 edition of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform

This report provides an overview to a vast amount of data reported in the Marijuana Policy Almanac, available at http://www.drugscience.org/States/US/US_home.htm. This almanac provides the largest collection of detailed data about marijuana arrests in the United States ever released to the public. It contains detailed data at the national, state, county, and local agency level about marijuana arrests and related topics, such as marijuana use, criminal justice costs, and clearance rates for serious crimes. The Marijuana Policy Almanac also contains individual summary reports for each state, and rankings of states by penalties for marijuana possession, marijuana arrest rates, and the number of marijuana users.

These data shed some light on the growing national and regional debate over whether marijuana prohibition is a policy that effectively delivers benefits that justify its human or fiscal cost.

Specific findings include the following:

1) Nationally, there is little apparent relationship between increasing marijuana arrests and rates of use.

2) There are wide disparities between states in both marijuana arrest rates and the severity of penalties. These differences bear little relationship to rates of use, while the penalty structure actually serves as a price support for the illicit market.

3) Young people and African-Americans are disproportionately affected by marijuana arrests.

4) The costs of arresting marijuana users are substantial, and raise serious questions about the cost effectiveness of marijuana prohibition.

Marijuana Arrests in Massachusetts
A Special Report in the October, 2008 issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform

This report reviews data on marijuana arrests in Massachusetts at the state, countly, and local levels. Also examined are data on marijuana and other drug use, marijuana-related drug treatment admissions referred by the criminal justice system, criminal justice system costs, and clearance levels for serious crimes in Massachusetts. The appendix of the report provides detailed data on marijuana arrests by local police agencies in Massachusetts. In 2006 there were 9,124 arrests for marijuana-related offenses in Massachusetts. Of these, or 86% were for possession (7,857), the rest were for sales (1,267). Marijuana arrests have been increasing over the last several years, for example arrests averaged 8,986 during the preceding three years. Marijuana arrests in the United States increased 3% annually from 1994 to 2005. In Massachusetts marijuana arrests decreased by 3.5% per year during this same period.

Marijuana Use in the United States
Marijuana Treatment Admissions in the United States

Special Reports in the September, 2008 issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform

The Bush Administration has failed to reduce or control marijuana use in the United States. Marginal changes in marijuana and other drug use have been distorted to support false claims that incremental progress in reducing marijuana and other drug use has been achieved. Marijuana use is fundamentally the same as when the Bush Administration took office and illicit drug use overall has increased. Drug use data do not support Bush Administration claims that its policies have had a significant impact on illicit drug use in the United States.

Lost Taxes and Other Costs of Marijuana Laws
A Special Report in the October, 2007 issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform

Government reports from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Library of Congress, and other sources indicate that the supply of marijuana in the United States is 14,349 metric tons, or 31.1 million pounds. Various price indexes from public and private sources produce a retail price of $7.87/gr or $3,570/lb, setting the overall retail value of the illicit marijuana market at $113 billion. Government reports indicate that the nation's marijuana laws cost taxpayers $41.8 billion annually.The Office of Management and Budget reports that local, state, and the federal government receipts represent 28.7% of the gross domestic product as tax revenue. The diversion of $113 billion from the taxable economy into the illicit economy deprives taxpayers of $31.1 billion annually. Marijuana arrests cost taxpayers $10.7 billion annually. Read the full report of the tremendous annual cost of marijuana prohibition in the lcurrent issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform

In the March, 2007 Issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform

Read about political strategies for the end of prohibition in the latest issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform. Topics include Cannabis Policy Reform in the United States, Lesson Learned from Proposition 2 in Alaska, and Medical Cannabis and the Public Policy Process. Also,this issue contains reports on three interesting legal cases involving cannabis reform. Read about the legal argument in favor of the sacramental use of cannabis, success in persuading an administrative law judge to endorse efforts to secure a legal source for cannabis for medical research, and attempts to get the federal government to recognize the accepted medical use of cannabis based on the Data Quality Act. A landmark 1986 column by Arnold Trebach provides an important historical perspective on the fight for medical cannabis, and additional history about hemp cultivation in the United States following World War II is the subject of the final article in the third issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform.

Medical Marijuana

The Cannabis Rescheduling Petition provides the detailed scientific and legal argument why US law requires the federal government to provide regulated access to marijuana for medical purposes. The Bulletin of Cannabis Reform provides a critical focus on both US marijuana laws and the efforts to reform them. Both the Rescheduling Petition and the Bulletin are part of the DrugScience.org effort to increase informed participation in the public policy process by advocates of marijuana law reform.

Marijuana Production in the United States (2006)
A Special Report in December 2006 issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform

The most recent and compelling report on US marijuana production reveals that not only is cannabis now the largest cash crop in the United States, but also that according to US Government data domestic marijuana cultivation has grown ten-fold over the last 25 years. This new report on marijuana production was recently published in the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform and distributed to the national media by the Marijuana Policy Project. In 2006 domestic marijuana cultivation was worth $35.8 billion, more than corn and wheat combined. Over 56 million marijuana plants were cultivated outdoors with a value of $31.7 billion and 11.7 million plants were cultivated indoors at a value of $4.1 billion.

In the First Issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform

The premier issue of the Bulletin features a poignant tribute to Bob Randall, the first patient to receive legal cannabis from the United States in modern times, by Alice O’Leary, co-founder of the groundbreaking Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (ACT). This inspiring story should be of interest to every medical cannabis patient in the United States. BCR is also proud to publish an excerpt from the new book by Arnold Trebach, founder of the Drug Policy Foundation, Fatal Distraction, the War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terrorism. Additional features include a detailed analysis of the Roll Call vote in the House of Representatives on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical cannabis amendment, including detailed maps of voting by Congressional Districts. This issue also includes the BCR Guide to State Legislative and Congressional Districts and Maps, a comprehensive source on local districting information for voters, students, and political organizers.

Elsewhere on the Web

Recent Research on Medical Marijuana: Emerging Clinical Applications For Cannabis & Cannabinoids
A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature, 2000 — 2006. This new report by NORML's Paul Armentano is an excellent update of scientific research on marijuana's medical value.

The Cannabis Rescheduling Petition

This petition seeks to provide medical access to cannabis under current US law. The 2002 Cannabis Rescheduling Petition contains a detailed summary of the scientific and medical findings in the late 1990s that support the medical use of cannabis(marijuana) in the United States. The 2002 petition was written by Jon Gettman, Franjo Grotenherman, and Gero Leson and filed with the Drug Enforcement Administration on October 9, 2002 by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis.

The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis

The Coalition was formed for the purpose of filing the Cannabis Rescheduling Petition and representing the interests of medical cannabis patients in related federal administrative and judicial proceedings. The sponsor of the rescheduling petition. The member organizations of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis are also excellent sources for more information about the medical marijuana issue

The Bulletin of Cannabis Reform

The premier issue of the Bulletin features a poignant tribute to Bob Randall, the first patient to receive legal cannabis from the United States in modern times, by Alice O’Leary, co-founder of the groundbreaking Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (ACT). This inspiring story should be of interest to every medical cannabis patient in the United States. BCR is also proud to publish an excerpt from the new book by Arnold Trebach, founder of the Drug Policy Foundation, Fatal Distraction, the War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terrorism. Additional features include a detailed analysis of the Roll Call vote in the House of Representatives on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical cannabis amendment, including detailed maps of voting by Congressional Districts. This issue also includes the BCR Guide to State Legislative and Congressional Districts and Maps, a comprehensive source on local districting information for voters, students, and political organizers.

Reference Materials for the Medical Cannabis Issue

Our library contains supporting documents for both the 2002 Cannabis Rescheduling Petition and earlier rescheduling efforts. These documents summarize a great deal of scientific material about
cannabis from the 1980s and 1990s.

 
 
 
  
 
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