Wednesday, October 27, 2004

MJ busts reach new record despite Texas' underreporting

It's been widely reported in the blogosphere that America set a new record for marijuana arrests in 2003, topping 755,000. NORML calculated that number accounts for 45% of all drug arrests, and that 88% of those were for possession only.

Well, it turns out that in Texas those numbers are dramatically underreported. The Dallas Morning News revealed earlier this month that Texas counties only report 60-69% of serious crimes to the Department of Public Safety database from which federal Uniform Crime Reports are compiled (link is an AP clip). In Dallas County, less than half of crimes made it into the state system.

Texas has the highest incarceration rate among all states, or for that matter in the world, and nationally, one in five new prisoners in the '90s were added in Texas. That means Texas accounted for a significant percentage of national increases in pot busts, too, except now we know the state almost certainly didn't report them all.

Even with Texas' underreporting, marijuana arrests nationwide nearly doubled in the last decade, reported NORML. Here's the breakdown:


2003 * 755,187
2002 * 697,082
2001 * 723,627
2000 * 734,498
1999 * 704,812
1998 * 682,885
1997 * 695,200
1996 * 641,642
1995 * 588,963
1994 * 499,122
1993 * 380,689

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