The Associated Press reports, “A state district judge in Albuquerque has ruled this week that the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center should not penalize medical marijuana patients under its custody or supervision for using the drug.”
It is unclear whether other New Mexico jurisdictions will concur with the ruling, but it will inevitably be litigated nationally.
First, try to let’s understand the scope of our criminal justice problems.
‘The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,833 state prisons, 110 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,134 local jails, 218 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories.’
See Prison Policy
The US has less than 5% of the world’s population, but almost 25% of the world’s prisoners. We have arrested over 22 million Americans for simple possession of marijuana in the last 50 years. During that time the US prison population grew from 200,000 to over 2,300,000, mostly because of the Drug War.
And last year we arrested another 500,000 people last year just for having less than an ounce of marijuana. That number is greater than for all violent crimes combined.
Last year, in Washington, DC, a population of 720,000, 187 people were murdered. The last victim was only one year old. Amsterdam, population 1,149,000, had 20 violent deaths.