Visualizing The Ongoing Drug War

As cannabis becomes legalized state by state and as hemp products containing CBD became federally legal in 2018, most Americans do not realize that the drug war continues. It continues to devastate our communities, particularly minorities.

2018 actually saw a record number of arrests for marijuana. With more than 660,000 arrests, the war against cannabis and black and brown people that use cannabis continues to escalate.

That's such a crazy large number of people, I wanted to help you visualize exactly how many people that is.

Number of Arrests

Below is how many people are arrested, right now. We've sped up the animation so each second passing represents a minute passing in the real world. Each person here represents a real person in the United States, getting their life upended, over a plant less harmful than nicotine or alcohol.

These arrests show the racial divde extremely clearly. A black person is almost 4 times as likely to be arrested for a drug offense than a white person. It only gets worse from there as black and brown people statistically face harsher punishments and longer sentences. Understanding the racial and class basis for the drug war is absolutely vital in stopping it. Black and white people smoke cannabis at the same rates (slightly higher for white people), yet these discrimination persists.
Below you can see the total number of Americans that smoke weed on a daily basis in real time.

Number of Cannabis Users

Can you see the difference? It's crazy. And this is real time. That many Americans are smoking weed without hurting anyone yet we all still face the risk of police brutality and imprisonment.

This sucks, what can I do?

Many organizations are working hard to eliminate the war on drugs. Not only does the war on drugs harm individuals, it hurts our entire community. Consider donating to these organizations if you want to help. Norml The Drug Policy Alliance Families for Sensible Drug Policy If you thought this visualization was helpful, share it and educate others.

There is hope and ending the drug war once and for all will greatly benefit all of our communities. The US Federal Government spends almost $30 Billion a year on fighting this drug war. We can save more than $41 Billion by ending it from savings on law enforcement and incarerations costs. We should be using this money to heal our communities instead of destroying them. We need to heal not police. Take a look below. Each box represents $1,000 saved in real time.

Money Saved by Ending the Drug War

Why did I make this?

I'm tired of seeing people think that the drug war is over and won. It's not. We've come a long way but we're not nearly there yet. We haven't even begun to talk about how taxes from the Cannabis and Hemp Flower industries are being used to fund police. There's so much left to do. We're not at the finish line yet.