News Release

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October 21, 1999

FBI Reports Marijuana Arrests Exceed Those For Violent Crime

        October 21, 1999, Washington, DC:  The Number of marijuana related arrests dropped slightly in 1998 to 682,885, from 1997's record high of 695,200, according to the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report released on Sunday.  Eighty-eight percent of those arrests were for possession.
        Forty-four percent of all drug arrests nationwide were for marijuana, and one out of every 25 criminal arrests in the U.S. were for marijuana possession.
        "The war on drugs is increasingly focused on seeking out and prosecuting otherwise law-abiding citizens who smoke marijuana," said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director.  "It represents a gross misapplication of law enforcement resources that should be spent on serious and violent crime."
        There were 6,985 more arrests for marijuana offenses last year than for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
        Last year was the first drop in marijuana arrests since President Clinton took office.  Marijuana arrests have risen 80 percent during the Clinton presidency, from a low of 380,399 in 1993.  A total of 3,470,545 Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges during the Clinton administration.
     For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500.  To view the Uniform Crime Report go to

NORML Foundation Releases Report Detailing European Marijuana Policies

        October 21, 1999, Washington, DC:  The NORML Foundation released a comprehensive report today describing and detailing the current marijuana laws in Europe.
        For the most part Europe is moving in an opposite direction from the United States on drug policy.  Whereas the U.S. relies heavily on interdiction, domestic suppression, anti-marijuana propaganda and severe criminal and civil penalties, Europe is moving toward a "harm reduction" model, which recognizes responsible marijuana use by adults as beyond the purview of government concern.
        "In effect, most, though not all, European countries view America's 'war on drugs', criminal justice-oriented approach as being both ineffective and counterproductive," said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.  "America is becoming an island unto itself regarding its wasteful and excessive drug war."
        The report covers 16 European countries with special focus on marijuana policies in the Netherlands, Denmark's Christiana "Experiment" and Switzerland.  Also, there are helpful charts and a country-by-country description of marijuana penalties.
        A chart of western European marijuana laws can be found at:  The report can be viewed at:
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.

NAPHP Report Calls Drug War A $150 Billion Failure

        October 21, 1999, Reston, VA:  The United States' war on drugs is a $150 billion failure that has failed to reduce the supply of illicit drugs, resulting in negative public health consequences, according to a report published by the National Association of Public Health Policy (NAPHP) in their latest issue of the Journal of Public Health Policy.
        The report states the $150 billion would be better spent on prevention, treatment, and research programs. NAPHP estimates 31 percent of Americans have used an illicit drug at least once, but only six percent can be considered drug abusers or addicts.
        "It is clear that most persons who take illicit drugs are experimental or socio-recreational users," according to the report.  "The typical drug user is scarcely distinguishable from the typical citizen, and most were introduced to illicit drugs by a close friend, not a pusher."
        "This government advocates a policy (the war on drugs) which treats all illicit use as abuse.  This is a major cause for the failure of the drug war and prohibitionist policies in general."
        For more information, please contact Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director at (202) 483-5500.