Enforcing marijuana laws in the U.S. costs law enforcement about $3.6 billion annually. There are about 820,000 marijuana-related arrests every year.
The ACLU says that there were 8.2 million marijuana arrests in the country between 2001 and 2010, Business Insider reported. Breaking down the $3.6 billion spent annually on enforcing marijuana laws, it comes down to each arrest in that time period costing $4,390, or $73,170 per felony conviction.
Approximately 6% of the 8.2 million marijuana-related arrests over that 10-year period resulted in a felony conviction.
Most people are arrested for marijuana possession (90%) and have no previous criminal history.
Amol Sinha of ACLU was quoted as saying, “Automatic expungement has to be an inextricable, central part of any legalization proposal the Legislature considers. Forcing people to bear the consequences of a criminal conviction for an offense that’s no longer considered a crime simply prolongs the injustices of the failed, discriminatory drug war.”