Though the Trump administration makes it harder to track marijuana arrests, Tom Angell crunched the numbers over at Forbes to learn marijuana arrests are actually on the rise. Now, these figures should be regarded as estimates as not all law enforcement agencies deliver detailed reports to the FBI. The annual statistics do however illustrate that overall marijuana possession arrests are down from their peak in the mid-1990s, though really that should be expected.
Marijuana possession still accounts for over 5 percent of all arrests. That means there were more marijuana possession arrests last year than for aggravated assault, rape, murder, and robbery combined. The Washington Post estimates that there is more than one marijuana possession arrest every minute.
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“Criminalizing drug use has devastated families across the US, particularly in communities of color, and for no good reason,” Maria McFarland Sánchez Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. “Far from helping people who are struggling with addiction, the threat of arrest often keeps them from accessing health services and increases the risk of overdose or other harms.”
None of this appears to be changing anytime soon. Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared to double down on his battle against the cannabis industry. He reminded everyone that marijuana remains federally illegal, despite state-approved marijuana rights. This staunch War on Drugs is how we got to such watershed figures in the 1990s, though Sessions’ efforts appear to be neutralized in Washington.