VA Pot Arrests at 20 Year High

No further ado, baby, here’s your weed NEWS for the week:

Virginia

According to a report from the VA State Police, arrests for marijuana possession are at the highest level they’ve been in twenty years. Nearly 29,000 in 2018! AG Mark Herring has renewed his call for decriminalization & legalization of cannabis in the uproar.

WaPo’s article on it has some very interesting facts to consider, while Virginia Mercury’s piece has a helpful graph and map of arrest rates. PROTIP! You can zoom in on the map.

  • Marijuana account for nearly 60% of all drug arrests in VA
  • More than half were for people 24 years old or younger
  • while a high, 2018 numbers are only 3.5% higher than 2017
  • highest arrest rates are in Colonial Heights, Emporia, Rockbridge County, Buena Vista and Martinsville
  • Arrest is not the same as conviction- many cases are plead out or sent through a diversion plan. A study from the Virginia Crime Commission found that only 31 people were in jail in July 2017 solely for a conviction of possessing marijuana

So, let me get this right. VA is arresting 29,000 per year- or roughly but only 31 go to prison for it? Some get other charges tacked on, sure, but 31? From a budgetary perspective alone, that’s lunacy. Why would you even bother arresting these people, mostly very young adults, for a nonviolent crime they won’t be prosecuted for? Could the state possibly be making enough off of court fees and so on to even balance out the cost of enforcement to the taxpayer?

Let’s put it another way. Virginia, how much are you willing to spend to support systemic racism? Cuz 60% of all drug arrests over the entire state has gotta take up significant man hours. What if we cut it back to, like, 30% racism and spend the rest on a pizza party for the office? Is that a good compromise?

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Washington, DC

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Maryland

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