California NORML Press Release - Feb. 27, 2006

Upswing In Marijuana Prisoners In California
Reversal of Post-Prop 215 Trend

The number of marijuana prisoners in California increased 11% in 2005, reversing a decline dating from the passage of Prop. 215. As of Dec 31, 2005, the Department of Corrections reported 1,429 prisoners for marijuana and hashish offenses, up from 1,289 in 2004.

The number of prisoners began to decline following passage of Prop. 215 after posting an all-time peak of 1,905 in 1997. However, it has remained far above the modern low of 98 posted in 1980.

"It appears that Prop. 215 produced a modest decline in marijuana prisoners, but this trend has petered out," commented California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer. "More dramatic reforms will be needed to realize the full benefits of decriminalization." Currently fewer than 10% of California's marijuana users are legal medical users under Prop. 215.

California NORML advocates completely decriminalizing personal adult use marijuana offenses and moving toward a system of legally taxed and regulated distribution. This policy was approved by 65% of Oakland voters in the city's Measure Z initiative in 2004, and will be on the ballot in Santa Cruz and other California cities this year.

California NORML estimates that marijuana enforcement currently costs the state's taxpayers about $160 million per year, whereas an adult use "tax and regulate" system could yield the state up to $1.5 - $2.5 billion in revenues.

Source: CA Dept of Corrections

CA NORML 2261 Market St. #278A San Francisco CA 94114