In Minnesota, marijuana arrests account for more than 60% of all drug arrests1. In terms of overall severity of maximum sentences for marijuana possession, Minnesota ranks number 13 in the nation (based on penalties for a first offrense.)2 In 2006, marijuana arrests cost Minnesotans $137.45 million.3 We can imagine that, this year, marijuana arrests will cost Minnesotans well over $150 million!
Even more alarming and concerning is in 2007, blacks in Minnesota were arrested at 1,053 per 100,000 while whites were arrested at 110 per 100,000.4 The arrest rate for blacks in Minnesota is more than 9 times than whites, despite marijuana use by blacks being only 20% more prevalent than use by whites.
This is all being driven by the US Drug War. The U.S. prison population is six to ten times as high as most Western European nations. The United States now has the highest rate of incarceration per 100,000 people (more than any other country in the world!) In 2007, more than 872,720 people were arrested in this country for marijuana-related offenses alone.5
Marijuana prohibition causes more problems than it solves and it ruins thousands more lives than it supposedly tries to save. The NORML Legal Committee provides legal support and assistance to victims of the current marijuana laws. NORML also monitors developments in state and federal law, and files appellate and amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs in cases which may affect the interpretation of existing marijuana laws, or which will, hopefully, change them.
References 1. Marijuana in Minnesota http://www.drugscience.org/States/MN/MN.pdf 2. ibid 3. ibid 4. ibid 5. ibid