The Washington Post reports that after decriminalization of marijuana became law in the District of Columbia on July 18, 2014, marijuana arrested dropped from 2,682 in the first half of the year, to only 226 in the second half. The first half totals indicate that if not for decriminalization, yearly totals for 2014 would have topped 5,200, a new MPD record.
The difference in the number of arrests between the first half of 2014 and the second half means that 2,456 people who would have been arrested for pot weren’t. That’s 2,456 people who didn’t get permanent criminal records, didn’t have to hire lawyers (ouch), and who won’t be discriminated against in jobs, schools and housing.
It also means more police on the street protecting people from real crime.
Every arrest takes on average 4 police hours to complete, when you calculate the time it takes to arrest, book, fingerprint, photograph, paper and transport the suspect.
The 2,456 fewer arrests saved MPD 9,824 police man-hours. Based on a 40 hour work week, decriminalization in 2014 is equivalent to adding 246 cops to the department. Extrapolated out over the course of a full year, decriminalization of marijuana is equivalent to putting over 500 new police officers on the beat.
2015 promises even better results. With legalization under ballot Initiative 71, the number of arrests and prosecutions are expected to drop even further, which home cultivation is an important step in choking off the underground, criminal marketplace. With continued work, DC may also be able to more forward with tax & regulate later in the year. Stay tuned.