Does Decriminalization Work? Dramatic Decrease in California Marijuana Arrests Has Some Analysts Saying Yes

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Marijuana possession arrests in California plummeted by 86 percent following the passage of a law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug, according to recently-released data from the Criminal Justice Statistics Center. Arrests fell from 54,900 in 2010 to just 7,800 in 2011.
Mike Males, of the Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice, said the law may “prove much more effective in reducing simple marijuana arrests than Proposition 19, or Washington’s and Oregon’s marijuana legalization initiatives passed this year.” Nationwide, he said, the current trend toward legalization might cut total marijuana arrests by half.
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