One of England’s important political parties, the Liberal Democrats, just announced that one million hours are annually wasted policing the country’s ban on weed.
The Liberal Dems gathered this data from official sources, reported the Independent. Research showed that a total of 87,247 police caseloads were opened in 2015—that amount cost taxpayers an estimated $2,500 per case.
This is a lot of police power and money for a country of 53 million people where cannabis is “freely available and widely used,” according to the Liberal Dems, who say they will legalize cannabis if they are elected in the upcoming elections scheduled for June 8.
Currently in England, cannabis is a Class B drug—meaning that, in theory, anyone who possesses it can be given five years in prison and any dealer can be given 14 years. However, in practice, extreme penalties for possession are rarely enforced.
Let’s compare that to the United States.
Here in the U.S., we spend more than $51 billion annually in the War on Drugs, which can only mean billions of hours, cases, lawyers fees, arrests, bail payments, etc.
And this is not to mention the ruined lives of prisoners sentenced for minor pot violations.
The number of arrests in 2015 for drug law violations was nearly 1.5 million. Of that number, 84 percent was for possession only, according to data collected by the Drug Policy Alliance.
The number of people arrested just for weed alone in 2015 was 643,121 and nearly 90 percent for possession!
So, while it is true that a lot of hours are wasted by the British Bobbies across the pond, there is no country like our own when it comes to wasting resources on arresting people for possessing a plant.
We break all world records when it comes to tossing people in prison for non-violent, victimless crimes: the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. At the moment, one in every 111 adults are sitting in a federal, state or local prison.
If our current government takes it upon themselves to restart the War on Drugs, those numbers will rise.
We can only hope Attorney General Jeff Sessions will either see the absurdity in waging a war on pot or that he ends up going the way of many Trump’s cabinet members and associates—out the door.