REEFER MADNESS: 858,408 Arrested In 2009

ALTERNET: Police prosecuted 858,408 persons for marijuana violations in 2009, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The arrest total is the second highest ever reported by the FBI, and marks a 1.3 percent increase in the number of arrests reported in 2008 (847,864). According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (approximately 52 percent) of all drug arrests reported in the United States. A decade ago, marijuana arrests comprised just 44 percent of all drug arrests. Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 88 percent (758,593 Americans) were charged with possession only. MORE

RELATED: 0.7 percent. The amount by which drug use in the US rose in 2009. The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that marijuana, at 16.7 million users, was the most commonly used illicit drug in 2009. MORE

RELATED: 60 percent. The amount of Mexican drug cartels’ revenue that comes from marijuana. Kerlikowske, in a press conference today, called a “small part” of drug cartels’ revenue after being confronted by a questioner from Students for Sensible Drug Policy. The high numbers often cited in the press, he said, are old. Legalizing marijuana would mean a minor dent in their business and would do nothing to alleviate violence along the Mexico-US border. The Huffington Post has since found recent Senate testimony by DEA and FBI officials, citing 60 percent as the correct figure. MORE

RELATED: 10 percent. That’s how far behind Proposition 19 is from where it needs to be in the polls in order to pass. Ethan Nadelmann, head of the Drug Policy Alliance, speaking at a conference on cannabis law reform, said as much. “You need about 60 percent approval rating for a ballot measure going into an election,” he told the group. “Prop 19 is polling at about 50 percent,” he said. “That percentage is likely to go down as we get closer to the election.” MORE

RELATED: The Paul Stein who taught physics at an elite Philadelphia magnet school was known as an excellent teacher and a friendly presence in the hallways.After his arrest last week on allegations that he tried to sell a pound of marijuana to an undercover officer in Cheltenham, a new view of him began to emerge, to the amazement of his students. […] On Twitter, where students started a tongue-in-cheek “FreeStein” feed, the mood was a bit more irreverent, with promises to wear “Free Stein!” T-shirts to alumni day. “It was just weed,” one post read. “He was an awesome science teacher,” said another. MORE

RELATED: Police in New Hampshire say a Keene elementary school teacher has been charged with manufacturing drugs after he was caught on a hidden surveillance camera tending marijuana plants in the woods. Fifty-year-old Darrel Beymer of Harrisville was arrested Sept. 10 and is to be arraigned next month. A police affidavit says a Harrisville public works employee alerted them that a man parked his car near the town gravel pits and walked into the woods. Police found two marijuana plants and partially hidden tools there. MORE

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