[THS] Pot Use, Arrests Rising In California
vignes at wanadoo.fr
Fri Nov 6 15:27:18 CET 2009
Pubdate: Fri, 6 Nov 2009
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Page: C - 4
Copyright: 2009 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Referenced: The report http://www.drugscience.org/States/CA/CA_home.htm
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?115 (Marijuana - California)
REPORT: POT USE, ARRESTS RISING IN CALIFORNIA
Marijuana arrests in California are increasing faster than the
nationwide rate, and African Americans are being booked for
pot-related crimes much more often than whites, a new report says.
But despite the rise in arrests and in the seizure of marijuana
plants, use of pot in California has increased slightly, said the
report, part of a nationwide study released Thursday by a Virginia researcher.
In both California and the United States as a whole, "we keep
arresting more and more people, but it's not having a deterrent
effect," said Jon Gettman, an adjunct assistant professor of criminal
justice at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.
Nationally, Gettman said, marijuana arrests have doubled since
1991,but marijuana use is unchanged.
Gettman is a former director of the National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws. He said he favors the legalization of marijuana.
Gettman's report came a day after state officials announced that the
state-federal Campaign Against Marijuana Planting had seized a record
4.4 million pot plants in California this year, up from 2.9 million in 2008.
Gettman's study is based on state and FBI arrest records and other
government data from 2003 through 2007. It said California officers
arrested 61,375 people on marijuana charges in 2003 and 74,024 in
2007, an average increase of more than 5 percent per year. Eighty
percent of the arrests in 2007 were for marijuana possession, the report said.
Nationwide, the annual increase during the same period was just under
4 percent, the report said, although California's marijuana arrest
rate, compared to its population, remained among the nation's lowest.
The report also found a large racial discrepancy in arrests.
African Americans were about 20 percent more likely than whites to
use marijuana in 2007, but the arrest rate for blacks on marijuana
charges was nearly 270 percent of whites' arrest rate, the report said.
Gettman said he found similar disparities nationwide and in most
major cities, including San Francisco.
"I don't believe it's racially motivated," he said. Among the
possible contributing factors, he said, are "more intensive
patrolling" by police in minority neighborhoods, and the presence of
marijuana when people are arrested for other crimes.
Overall, the report said, marijuana use increased in California by
0.73 percent a year in the four-year period, while nationwide use
declined by 0.21 percent a year.
By geographic zone, the state's northernmost counties, which include
the prime marijuana-growing areas of Humboldt and Mendocino counties,
ranked 12th out of 350 regions in the nation in pot use by their
residents. A region consisting of San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo
counties ranked 15th.
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