It’s been a math-heavy week in the world of marijuana. There have been two major federal reports, a big speech with a surprising conclusion, and a showdown between a federal official and a student–all about marijuana-related statistics. Here’s a cheat sheet of the highlights:
- 0.7 percent. The amount by which drug use in the US rose in 2009. The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that marijuana, at 16.7 million users, was the most commonly used illicit drug in 2009. National Drug Control Police Director Gil Kerlikowske, in an interview with CBS radio, attributed this fact partially to “mixed messages” kids get about marijuana. ”I cannot think of a day that I have not seen an article equating marijuana with medicine,” he said.
- 1.3 percent. The amount by which arrests for marijuana-related crimes rose in 2009. On Monday, the FBI released their annual report on crime statistics. This year’s showed that there were 858,408 arrests for marijuana-related crimes (mostly possession) in 2009, one of the highest numbers in recent history.
- 60 percent. The amount of Mexican drug cartels’ revenue that comes from marijuana. Kerlikowske, in a press conference today, called marijuana a “small part” of drug cartels’ revenue after being confronted by a questioner from Students for Sensible Drug Policy. The high numbers often cited in the press, he said, are old. Legalizing marijuana would mean a minor dent in their business and would do nothing to alleviate violence along the Mexico-US border. The Huffington Post has since found recent Senate testimony by DEA and FBI officials, citing 60 percent as the correct figure.
- 10 percent. That’s how far behind Proposition 19 is from where it needs to be in the polls in order to pass. Ethan Nadelmann, head of the Drug Policy Alliance, speaking at a conference on cannabis law reform, said as much. “You need about 60 percent approval rating for a ballot measure going into an election,” he told the group. “Prop 19 is polling at about 50 percent,” he said. “That percentage is likely to go down as we get closer to the election.”
- 213 percent. The price of high-quality marijuana in Arkansas compared to the price of similar marijuana in British Columbia–where enforcement is more lax–per the anonymous crowd-sourcing site “Price of Weed.” Some fear that if legalized, prices for an ounce of marijuana could fall as low as $38, cutting into projected tax revenues, and increasing marijuana use.
What did we miss? Let us know in the comments.