As Californians keep gathering petition signatures for marijuana legalization ballot measures and a state lawmaker rewrites his legalization bill, marijuana reform advocates today are touting a new report that finds no relationship between marijuana arrest and use rates – a sign that the “war on drugs” has failed as far as cannabis is concerned, they say.
In fact, the report by Jon Gettman, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Criminal Justice at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA, finds the current system of criminal penalties encourages uses to buy a little bit at a time, acting as a price support for the illegal market.
Perhaps most disturbingly, the report finds that although the rate of marijuana use is only about 25 percent higher for African-Americans than for whites, African-Americans are three times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as whites.
“These figures paint a devastating portrait of a failed policy that burns through tax dollars while doing nothing but harm,” Marijuana Policy Project executive director Rob Kampia said in a news release. “Most Americans agree that marijuana prohibition doesn’t work, even if most politicians aren’t yet ready to publicly agree with their constituents.”
It should be noted that the Marijuana Policy Project Foundation funded the report, and that Gettman’s curriculum vitae indicates he’s more of a pro-cannabis activist than an independent, objective academic. That said, the data is what it is.