Department of Justice: Stop Funding Racially Biased Marijuana Arrests
  • Petitioning Eric Holder

This petition will be delivered to:

Attorney General
Eric Holder
Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance
Denise E. O'Donnell

Department of Justice: Stop Funding Racially Biased Marijuana Arrests

    1. Petition by

      Neill Franklin with LEAP

A new report compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union confirms what I witnessed almost every day throughout my 34-year career as a police officer: Marijuana arrests are racially biased and a serious waste of precious law enforcement resources. But it is not too late to change this reality: the Department of Justice should stop rewarding police departments for racially biased marijuana arrests.

Police officers should be focused on solving and preventing violent crimes, not making marijuana possession arrests. But in 2011, police arrested more people for marijuana than for all violent crimes combined. This is predominantly because the federal government has created an incentive to focus on marijuana arrests by using those arrests to determine how they distribute hundreds of millions of dollars of funding. Furthermore, even though blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly the same rates, blacks are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana. These racial disparities in marijuana arrests exist in every region of the country.

The Department of Justice can put an end to racially biased marijuana arrests and wasteful misuse of law enforcement resources by stopping the inclusion of marijuana arrests as a performance criterion for state and local law enforcement agencies applying for federal funding. We are spending more than $3.5 billion a year on marijuana arrests with little impact on use or availability. For the ten year period ending in 2010, someone was arrested for marijuana every 37 seconds, yet the majority of violent crimes went unsolved. Clearly, we need to rethink our priorities.

I know firsthand that marijuana arrests are not solving the problems created by real crime, and that marijuana prohibition causes more harm than good. By rewarding police departments when they focus on marijuana arrests instead of stopping violent crime, we are actually making our streets less safe and filling our jails with nonviolent drug offenders.

Let’s end this ineffective policy and stop wasting our law enforcement resources. Join me in calling on the Department of Justice to stop rewarding police departments for racially biased marijuana arrests.

Thank you,
Major Neill Franklin (Retired), Maryland State Police
Executive Director
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 50,000 signatures



    Aug 15, 2013

    Tell the Justice Department to stop encouraging #marijuana arrests. Sign this petition from a pro-legalization cop:

    Marijuana Majority


    Aug 15, 2013

    DOJ: Stop Funding Racially Biased Marijuana Arrests



    Aug 01, 2013

    Please sign our petition asking the DoJ to deprioritize marijuana arrests:


    Reasons for signing

    • Barry Cain HOUSTON, TX
      • 4 days ago

      Everytime I travel I-10 to visit family in Alabama Louisiana law enforcement pulls me over every time with bogus claims to see if I'm smoking or transporting weed..the next time they stop me I'll sue the state. I've filed several complaints with the various police depts. setting up a lawsuit.

    • Francis Augustine TAMPA, FL
      • 5 days ago

      Drug use and possession should be decriminalized

    • Talmadge Bethel COLLEGE STATION, TX
      • 6 days ago

      This im important to me because it happened to myself, my family members and a few friends.

    • Olga Gutierrez VALLEJO, CA
      • 12 days ago

      I am a patient who uses cannabis

      for severe nerve damage for relief instead of using prescription drugs. They made me feel toxic

      • 12 days ago

      I've seen the research. The racial disparity in drug arrests, particularly non-violent drug arrests and marijuana-specific arrests, is awful. Please rethink arrest priorities and refocus funding into actually trying to reduce *serious* crime!


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