From the San Francisco Chronicle article “Report: Pot use, arrests rising in California”:
Marijuana arrests in California are increasing faster than the nationwide rate, and African Americans are being booked for pot-related crimes much more often than whites, a new report says.
But despite the rise in arrests and in the seizure of marijuana plants, use of pot in California has increased slightly, said the report, part of a nationwide study released Thursday by a Virginia researcher.
Isn’t arresting folks for marijuana possession supposed to discourage use?
In both California and the United States as a whole, "we keep arresting more and more people, but it’s not having a deterrent effect," said Jon Gettman, an adjunct assistant professor of criminal justice at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.
Clearly no deterrent effect. But let’s use some drug warrior logic here. Gateway theory proponents like to argue that since most heroin users started their controlled substance journey with marijuana, that marijuana leads (inevitably?) to harder drugs. After all, according to them, correlation proves causation.
But wait a minute, new wrinkle. So an increase of arrests precedes an increase in usage? If they’re going to be consistent, the drug warriors need to start arguing that the arrests are causing higher use rates.