Marijuana Arrests Down 99.2% This Year in Washington D.C. Compared to Last Year

By Johnny Green, TheWeedBlog.com

dcIt wasn’t that long ago that thousands of people were arrested for marijuana annually in Washington D.C.. 2,346 people were arrested for marijuana in Washington D.C. in 2011. Washington D.C. voters approved marijuana legalization during the 2014 Election. As a result, marijuana arrests in D.C. are down. Way down. As of November 6th (the most current data available), there have only been 7 arrests for marijuana in D.C.. Per the Washington City Paper:

Last week, on Nov. 4, the District marked the first anniversary of the passage of Initiative 71, a ballot measure that effectively legalized weed, at least in the form of possessing, growing, and using (but not selling) tiny amounts of it in one’s home.

In that line, data provided by the Metropolitan Police Department shows that marijuana arrests have dropped to historic lows. MPD has only issued seven arrests for possession of marijuana this year, as of Nov. 6—down 99.2 percent from 2014’s 895 total arrests. Even last year, though, police arrested just seven people from Jul. 7 to Dec. 31, likely an indication of a change in MPD strategy after decriminalization first took effect. Here’s a by-the-numbers breakdown of MPD arrests for pot possession from 2010 through last week:

2010: 2161

2011: 2346

2012: 1553

2013: 1215

2014: 895

2015: 7 (as of Nov. 6)

According to the ACLU, the average arrest for marijuana costs $750, and that doesn’t include any court proceedings or jail, just the arrest. I have seen numbers that are even higher than that, so D.C. could have been higher or lower, but taking the average, that means that D.C. payed roughly $1,759,500 in 2011 to arrest people for marijuana. This year that number would be $5,250. And I would be curious to know why there were even seven arrests in a city that legalized marijuana. There’s potentially even more money to be saved, because no one should be arrested for a plant that is 114 times safer than alcohol.

This is just one city (albeit a large one) in America. Imagine if every city in America was doing this? And that’s just the savings for arrests. Add to that the savings from detainment/incarceration, and court proceedings. Then add to that the tax revenue and other benefits that would be brought to each city from a taxed and regulated industry. All of that would add up to a benefit package that no city in America should deny.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.


  1. Orval

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    How do I get started

  3. Scott Rellim

    I will probably cry when the feds finally give up on this stupid, senseless prohibition policy… this “drug war” which is really just a war on the people.

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