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America Arrests Record Numbers Of Pot Smokers

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Saturday, October 30, 2004
New data published by the FBI this week has revealed that 755,186 people were arrested for marijuana offences in the US in 2003, with 88% (660,000) busted for simple possession.

The record number of arrests represented a doubling of pot related arrests since 1994 and came soon after the Republican administration urged prosecutors to be particularly merciless with offenders.

"Marijuana and violence are linked," they declared in a memo in 2002, "no drug matches the threat posed by marijuana."

More recently, President Bush ordered police to switch resources from targeting heroin and cocaine to cannabis, suggesting pot arrest figures could skyrocket even further if the Republicans remain in power for four more years. Independent candidate Ralph Nader also highlighted the drugs issue this week in an open letter to George W, urging him to pardon 30,000 non-violent drug offenders at the end of his first term.

"As someone who has acknowledged having a substance abuse problem you understand the importance of treatment for addiction. I'm sure you also recognize that if you had been incarcerated for cocaine use you probably would not have gone on to have the career you have had," said Mr Nader.

"Therefore, you should be especially sensitive to the need for correcting the injustice of incarceration for non-violent drug offences," he urged.