Sure crime rates are going down, but one of the most unsettling things around is our nation’s startlingly low clearance rate for violent crimes. In most cases (53 percent) no one is even arrested, let alone convicted. The clearance rate for property crimes is even more pitiful. And yet marijuana arrests shot up by 165 percent between 1991 and 2003 (from 287,850 to 755,000). This, according to a lengthy report by NORML (via Jacob Sullum). And the huge increase in arrests:

was not associated with an increase in marijuana’s price or a reduction in marijuana use, availability, potency, treatment admissions, or emergency room mentions.

The states with the highest per capita marijuana arrests were Nebraska, Louisiana, Wyoming, Kentucky, and Illinois. How much does it cost state and local governments to enforce their marijuana laws? About $7.6 billion per year or $10,400 per arrest. Perhaps that money could be better spent rounding up some more rapists and robbers.