Refuting Joe Klein, Mark Kleiman puts the best possible face on not legalizing pot- and admits that 800,000 arrests for marijuana each year is not implausible- but goes on to say that only 30,000 people are in jail for marijuana.
Let's accept that for a minute and ask- why were the other 770,000 people arrested? At over $1000 for each booking and mugging, that's $770 million in arrest costs alone for people not dangerous enough to warrant jailing. And that's before we get to any of the other costs to society of forcing a person to answer 'yes' to "Have you ever been arrested?" for the rest of their life.
Face it, this debate is over. The only remaining question is when we'll gather the courage to do the right thing.