The county historically has been understaffed, which means there was limited manpower to handle large crime caseloads, said Ravalli County Sheriff Perry Johnson.
When there are major crimes - like murders that demand much time to investigate - other crimes may slip through the cracks, he
said. Johnson recently assigned one detective to specialize in narcotics cases, because other officers don't always have the time needed to pursue the time-consuming cases.
They are also cooperating with state and other county officials to tackle marijuana and other drug violations.
"We respond to a lot of calls that we would never be there if it wasn't for those substance abuse problems," said Johnson
, who explained that property crimes and domestic assaults on their own are often "symptoms" of addiction or substance abuse.
"We see how invasive the drug problems are with families," he
The NORML study also compared nationwide arrest rates.A smoker is three times more likely to be arrested in Alaska and New York, for example, than if he
smoked in Pennsylvania, North Dakota or Hawaii.