ACLU offers take on county’s pot costs

The Washington chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union made waves this week by releasing county-specific price tags for the cost of enforcing marijuana laws.

Their interactive map shows Snohomish County’s costs between 2000 and 2010 at $14.4 million. During the same time, it says the statewide costs were $211.5 million.

The estimates mainly involve police and court costs, plus jail and supervision for offenders.

Snohomish County’s place in the lineup is, as expected, in line with population size.

The map looks neat, but don’t get too excited.

A 12-page methodology report says the study relied largely on self-reported crime data from police departments for adult-only arrests, and a lot of categories were unavailable or left out due to incomplete information. The unique nature of crime-data-collection techniques often makes “apples-to-apples” comparisons difficult at best, a fact crime reporters are well familiar with.

(And kudos to them for supplying the methodology – an honest approach sure to add to an already lively debate.)

See the project:

ACLU: “What Is Your County Spending On Marijuana Law Enforcement?”

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