Critics: Arrest focus wrongly on pot rather than on violent crime

On the one hand, you’ve got murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault and manslaughter. On the other hand, you’ve got marijuana possession.

Where do you think police departments across the United States are focusing most of their enforcement efforts?

The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2012 makes it quite clear that, despite a growing shift in more liberalized attitudes toward marijuana that is taking place in many states, police and prosecutors nationwide continue to be strongly focused on making pot arrests — even on simply possession charges.

One policy researcher calls that a “national scandal.”

Dan Riffle, who directs federal policy efforts at the national Marijuana Policy Project, calls it “irresponsible.”

The FBI report states that marijuana continues to be a major focus of law enforcers, with arrests for possession continuing to outpace those for violent crimes.

“Where are our priorities here?” asks Diane Goldstein, an ex-police official speaking for the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

What flatly concerns and greatly frustrates Goldstein, Riffle and many other advocates of a shift in criminal investigation and prosecution is that the vast resources being expended on marijuana arrests curb those available for pursuing violent offenders.

That is a skewed priority that drastically needs changing, they say.

Neil Franklin, LEAP’s executive director, states that public safety is greatly endangered by such a focus. And not only does that policy leave high numbers of violent criminals on the nation’s streets, he says; the hundreds of thousands of persons incarcerated annually on minor marijuana charges “may suffer a variety of adverse effects from their interaction with the justice system.”

Georgia law enforcement agencies continue to view marijuana possession harshly. A proven criminal defense attorney can answer questions and provide aggressive representation to any person facing criminal charges for pot possession or intent to distribute marijuana.

Source: Mintprress News, “FBI reports marijuana arrests are at near-record levels,” Katie Rucke, Sept. 18, 2013