Drug War Facts

Here are some Drug War facts taken from MPP & Safer.org – share these with your Representative, family, & friends. 

  • There have been almost 9.5 million cannabis arrests in the United States since 1995, including 872,720 arrests in 2007 – more than for all violent crimes combined, and an all-time record.
  • One person is arrested for cannabis every 36 seconds. About 89% of all cannabis arrests are for possession – not manufacture or distribution
  • Cultivation of even 1 cannabis plant is a federal felony.  A person must serve a 5 yr mandatory minimum sentence if federally convicted of cultivating 100 cannabis plants. This is longer than the average sentences for auto theft & manslaughter!
  • Federal government figures indicate there are more than 41,000 Americans in state or federal prison on cannabis charges right now, not including those in county jails. That’s more than the number imprisoned on all charges combined in 8 individual European Union countries.
  • According to estimates by Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron, replacing cannabis prohibition with a system of taxation & regulation would save between $10 & $14 billion a yr in reduced government spending & increased tax revenues.
  • Because of cannabis prohibition, America’s largest cash crop is often grown by unregulated criminals, in environmentally damaging locations such as national parks & wilderness areas.  Such problems are virtually unknown with legal, regulated crops such as tobacco or wine grapes.
  • The arbitrary criminalization of tens of millions of Americans who consume cannabis results in a large scale lack of respect for the law and the entire criminal justice system.
  • The federal government is actively blocking research into cannabis’s use as a medicine. In fact, several researchers have filed lawsuits against the federal government, charging it with obstruction for failing to act on an application for approval to grow high-potency, research-grade marijuana at a university facility in Massachusetts. The researchers who filed suit are barred from obtaining research-grade marijuana from other countries, and the poor quality of the federal government’s marijuana makes it unfeasible to use in research; thus, without the ability to grow it for themselves, they are unable to conduct research into marijuana’s medical use.
  • A few of cannabis’s medical uses –  cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or HIV, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C, and multiple sclerosis have found relief by using cannabis. It is also used to treat cachexia, anorexia, and wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain or nausea; seizure disorders (such as epilepsy); arthritis; migraines; and agitation of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Many people die from alcohol use. Nobody dies from cannabis use. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that more than 37,000 annual U.S. deaths are attributed to alcohol use alone (i.e. this figure does not include accidental deaths). On the other hand, the CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the use of cannabis. 
  • Alcohol use damages the brain. Cannabis use does notDespite the myths we’ve heard throughout our lives about cannabis killing brain cells, it turns out that a growing number of studies seem to indicate that cannabis actually has neuroprotective properties. This means that it works to protect brain cells from harm. 
  • If you are concerned about cannabis being associated with lung cancer, you may be interested in the results of the largest case-controlled study ever conducted to investigate the respiratory effects of cannabis smoking and cigarette smoking. Released in 2006, the study, conducted by Dr. Donald Tashkin at the University of California at Los Angeles, found that cannabis smoking was not associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Surprisingly, the researchers found that people who smoked cannabis actually had lower incidences of cancer compared to non-users of the drug.