#NORML #News
Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 18 Nov 2014 04:20:21 PST

Annual Total Of Marijuana Arrests Decline In 2013

Washington, DC: Police made an estimated 693,481 arrests for violations of marijuana laws in 2013 according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report. The total is some 56,000 fewer arrests than were reported in 2012 and continues a consistent decline since 2007, when police made a record 872,721 arrests for marijuana-related offenses.

According to the report, marijuana arrests in 2013 comprised just over 40 percent of the 1.5 million annual illicit drug arrests in the United States. In 2012, marijuana arrests comprised over 48 percent of the nation's annual drug arrests.

As in previous years, the vast majority of cannabis-specific arrests - 88 percent, or about 609,000 arrests - involved simple marijuana possession, not marijuana manufacturing or sales.

Recently enacted changes in law in Colorado and Washington resulted in approximately 16,000 fewer marijuana arrests in those states in 2013.

New York City: Officials Announce Plan To Halt Minor Marijuana Arrests

New York, NY: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton publicly announced plans on Monday to halt the police department's practice of arresting tens of thousands of minor marijuana offenders annually.

Under the newly proposed policy, set to take effect November 19, city police would issue first-time marijuana offenders a court summons, payable by a fine, in lieu of making a criminal arrest.

Though the Mayor and the Police Commissioner have made pledges in the past to reduce the city's marijuana arrest totals, which in recent years have averaged nearly 30,000 annually, they have previously failed to do so. Of those arrested for minor marijuana offenses in New York City, a disproportionate percentage (86 percent) are either Black or Latino. Nearly three out of four arrested possessed no prior criminal record.

Although New York state law classifies minor marijuana possession offenses as a non-criminal offense, separate penal law (NY State Penal Law 221.10) defines marijuana possession in a manner that is 'open to public view' as an arrestable offense.

Mayor de Blasio called the City's proposed depenalization policy "a smart policy that keeps New Yorkers safe, but it is also a more fair policy." Those critical of the proposed policy argue that depenalizing marijuana possession offenses to a ticket-like offense likely will not address the disproportionate racial makeup of those cited. They also note that those who fail to respond to a summons may still be arrested and criminally prosecuted.

Cannabis Holds Promise In GI Disorder Treatment

Aurora, CO: Cannabis holds promise as a comparatively safe and effective treatment for digestive disorders, according to a literature review published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Investigators at the University of Colorado, Aurora and at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical University in New Hampshire reviewed data in regard to the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for nausea and vomiting, appetite stimulation, abdominal pain, and inflammatory bowel disease. They reported: "It is increasingly clear that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in diverse biological pathways that affect gastrointestinal and hepatic physiology and pathology. ... Although there are no studies proving the long-term safety of marijuana use, its safety profile compares favorably to other illicit substances, to legal intoxicants like alcohol, possibly to opioids, and to some existing therapies for digestive disorders."

They concluded: "[M]arijuana ... appears to hold promise as a modifier of gastrointestinal symptoms. As medical marijuana use continues to grow in the United States, physicians must take the lead in understanding the risks and benefits in order to provide accurate information to patients."

Full text of the study, "Medical marijuana for digestive disorders: High time to prescribe?" appears in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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