Without getting into the wisdom of the criminalization of drugs, especially marijuana, can someone explain to me why we imprison drug users? Rehabilitation? Punishment?
Some statistics: approximately 12.8 million Americans use marijuana. In 1998, over 600,000 people were arrested for possession. Tens of thousands of people in currently in jail on marijuana possession charges. (Hard statistics for the latter are not available, but most estimates agree on numbers between 20,000-40,000 people.) These are only people possessing small enough quantities to count as personal use, not anyone who could possibly be a dealer.
Keeping people in jail is expensive. We currently have over 2 million people in jail. I personally would like to see us only lock up people when we have to, when it might do some good. In some cases, drug penalties are far more severe than the penalties for rape or murder.
If we want to enforce victimless crimes, why not stick with fines, community service, etc?