Marijuana Arrests Down After Decriminalization

Fewer arrests means less work for the courts.

[Clarification: The number of arrests in 2011 have been changed to differentiate between tickets and actual arrests.]

of , which allows police departments to issue fines rather than arrests, has been in effect since July 1. The courts are already dealing with less of a case load due to the new law.

According to the Connecticut Post, there were 4,774 marijuana arrests from July 1-Dec. 1, 2010 for possession of marijuana less than four ounces. With the new law, there have been 1,127 arrests in that same period in 2011. There were nearly 2,000 tickets issued

Under the old law, possession of less than four ounces or drug paraphernalia containing marijuana residue was a misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Possession of more than


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four ounces is a felony with more serious penalties.

According to the article, it’s possible officers are letting people off with a warning rather than issuing a ticket.

The decriminalization law, Public Act 11-71, reduced the penalty for possession of one-half ounce or less to a $150 fine, to a $200 to $500 fine for the second offense, and the higher fine plus referral to a drug awareness program for the third offense.

Anyone under age 21 also faces a 60-day driver’s license suspension. Penalties for possession of more than one-half ounce remain the same as before.

Fred Musante contributed to this report.

Mike Parent February 29, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Where the Armageddon all the Prohibitionist say will follow decriminalization and/or legalization? I can't wait to see what lie they put out to discredit the truth and prop up their failed policy. LEAP member, NYPD, ret.
Matthew Hemker March 01, 2012 at 01:41 AM
I'm all for legalization (hell, legalize everything)...so when i say what im about to say i dont want it to come out in the wrong context. Having said that I would question anyone saying that freeing up the court systems are in the best interest of the town/city/county/state/or federl courts? That statement is only good for the citizens that smoke cannabis. Since when did these types of people actually care whether or not a pot smoking hippie or gangsta gets their life ruined over a bag of weed. Bringing in money is what the police/courts are all about...Why would they all of the sudden just want to have a little less job security? Why would they (in the times where towns/counties are going bankrupt) want less income? I am not being a smartbutt but if Im not mistaken hasent the whole issue of legalization/decrim. been about all the fatcats getting their kickbacks in one way or another from cannibis being illegal? just wondering why this is a good thing for the courts/cities/governments ?
Alba March 01, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Less work for the courts in dealing with pot smokers means they can deal with real criminals faster and save TONS of money for the state. Typically, someone caught with marijuana would take up space in a cell, be given a court date, ask for a public defender and take up the court's time just to be handed a fine similar to the amount of the current $150 ticket (or no fine at all) and/or possibly get probation which then requires a probation officer. All of these things cost the state money. Now they just get the ticket and pay it costing the courts Nothing while bringing in the fine money. This is from an article I found in a quick Google search: The Superior Court incurred close to $1 million in costs in 2007, from 2,700 cases; 76 percent of those cases were for possession of marijuana less than a half-ounce. Probation officers also cost the state $1 million as a result of 1,090 cases that were sentenced to probation as a result of marijuana possession charges. (now imagine the state having that $2 million PLUS the $405K it could have earned from the minimum fine of $150 on each of those 2,700 people)
John for forbs March 01, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Well in georgia my one joint cost me around 7.000 after getting out of jail going to court and paying two years worth of probation fees and fines o yea urin test for two years not to mention the gas it took to drive an hour and a half two times a month to the probation office. so na I don't c why it would hert there pockets to legalize (Hugh) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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