The Latest Data on the Federal War on Drugs
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The Latest Data on the Federal War on Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on March 14, 2017 at 13:36:29 PT
By Christopher Ingraham 
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. -- The number of people sentenced for federal marijuana-related crimes dropped for the fifth year in a row, according to data released this week by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.A total of 3,534 offenders received sentences for federal marijuana crimes in 2016. The overwhelming majority of these cases  3,398 of them  involved trafficking marijuana. Another 122 individuals received federal sentences for simple possession of marijuana, although some of these offenders may have pleaded down from a more serious offense.
The commission's statistics show that more than 97 percent of people charged with a federal crime plead guilty, rather than go to trial.Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. The data show a sharp drop in the number of federal marijuana sentences the following year, down from 6,992 to 4,942.The sale and use of marijuana for any purpose, recreational, medical or otherwise, remains a crime at the federal level even in states where it's legal. But in 2013 the Justice Department issued guidance giving federal prosecutors leeway to ignore certain marijuana offenses, provided such behavior was otherwise in compliance with an applicable state law.These federal numbers don't include sentencing under state and local law, where the overwhelming majority of drug enforcement takes place. In 2015, for instance, more than a half-million people were arrested by state or local authorities for simple marijuana possession, according to FBI statistics. By contrast, only about 3,500 people received federal sentences for marijuana crimes of any sort that year.Federal sentences for heroin have more than doubled over the past 10 years, according to the USSC, in part reflecting the current opioid epidemic. While 1,382 people received federal heroin sentences in 2007, over 2,800 were sentenced for heroin crimes last year.But the overall number of federal heroin sentences is still low relative to most other drugs. That's because heroin is a lot easier to smuggle: On a per-gram basis, heroin is about 26 times more valuable than marijuana, according to federal statistics from 2012. That means that small, easy to conceal heroin shipments can still be highly lucrative. (According to some estimates, the entirety of heroin consumed in a year in the United States could fit within one or two standard shipping containers.)Heroin is a lot harder to detect, seize and charge people with than a cheaper, bulkier product like marijuana, but it's also more dangerous. About 13,000 people overdose on heroin each year, while zero overdose on marijuana.Much of what we see in the chart above is a function of the decisions made by individual U.S. attorneys. President Trump recently fired all the remaining holdovers from the Obama administration, meaning that a new batch of prosecutors  who may have different ideas about what marijuana sentences have to do with the pursuit of justice  will soon be taking their place.Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Christopher Ingraham Published: March 14, 2017Copyright: 2017 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL: Justice Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on March 15, 2017 at 12:51:05 PT
The minority should not infringe on the majority.
Sessions triples down on marijuana as dangerous drug, not opioid crisis solution"I've heard people say we could solve our heroin problem with marijuana," Sessions said. "How stupid is that? Give me a break!" Denver Post-0-Among the ignorant misgivings the s guy says and believes; one I'd like to point out is that the concept is not whether cannabis can SOLVE any hard drug problems but in fact it is believed cannabis, in different manners, can HELP lower hard drug problems. And along with the plant helping, keep in mind cannabis prohibition itself increases hard drug addiction rates and RE-legalizing the plant by itself would lower those problems.-0-It's disappointing that someone who only has the support of a very low minority of the American population is in a position to force the majority into antiquated southern forms of policy.
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on March 14, 2017 at 18:48:06 PT
Marijuana Crimes?
It's a God given plant!How much longer is this sort of insanity going to prevail?
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