By John Vibes
With legal recreational and medical cannabis now available in so many different US states, it is easy to get the impression that the war on cannabis users is over.
However, cannabis users still represent a significant portion of the people who are filling jails and courthouses throughout the country.
According to the FBI’s recent Uniform Crime Report, more people were arrested for cannabis possession last year than for all violent crimes put together.
The data showed that 545,602 people were arrested in the US for cannabis-related crimes last year. Meanwhile, just 495,871 people were arrested for violent crimes.
Furthermore, the vast majority of the people who got arrested for cannabis were not accused of selling or trafficking the substance, but just for simple possession. 500,395 of the total cannabis arrests last year, or about 92%, were for possession, which is still more than the number of people who were arrested for violent crimes.
Erik Altieri, the Executive Director for cannabis advocacy group NORML, says that police across America are still making a cannabis-related arrest every 58 seconds.
At a time when the overwhelming majority of Americans want cannabis to be legal and regulated, it is an outrage that many police departments across the country continue to waste tax dollars and limited law enforcement resources on arresting otherwise law-abiding citizens for simple m***juana possession,” Altieri told Forbes.
Overall, cannabis arrests have been going down nationwide due to the spread of legalization. Last year, cannabis arrests were down by 18% when compared with 2018.
As suspected, the FBI’s data showed that people were less likely to get arrested for cannabis in states where it was legal or available for medical use, with eastern states seeing far more arrests.
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