May 17, 2015

Philadelphia May Have Already Saved Over $1 Million From Marijuana Decriminalization

May 17, 2015
philly norml marijuana pennsylvania philadelphia
philly norml marijuana pennsylvania philadelphia
(image via Philly NORML)

Late last year the Philadelphia City Council voted to decriminalize simple marijuana possession. What was once a possession crime became a $25 ticket. While there is still some work to be done, it sounds like the reform is having quite a positive effect, at least from a financial perspective. Per Philly.Com:

For decades, Philly police put anyone caught with anything from a roach up to 30 grams into handcuffs and a holding cell. The city’s new decrim policy gives officers the option of issuing a Code Violation Notice: $25 for possession and $100 for smoking in public. The result has meant fewer interactions between cannabis consumers and police.

It’s also saving tens of thousands of hours of police time — and a big chunk of tax dollars. The RAND Corporation this year released a that calculated a single custodial arrest costs $1,266.

Using the RAND numbers, Philly may have already saved more than $1 million under the new policy from January to March this year compared to 2013. RAND estimated that the cost of issuing citations is a mere $20.

Name one city in America that couldn’t use an extra $1 million dollars for its budget. And the benefits are not just monetary. Every situation that used to result in an arrest and cost over $1,000 also took a lot of police time. Now those cops can spend their time going after real criminals, instead of investigating and arresting someone for a joint. How many more rapists were caught as a result? Or other violent criminals? I hope more cities in America look at these numbers and decide to take a more sensible approach to marijuana laws, and in optimal cases, end marijuana prohibition altogether.


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