Monday, April 15, 2024

Despite Legalization, Cannabis Arrests On the Rise

While the Trump administration has made data regarding cannabis and other drug arrests more difficult to obtain, Forbes is reporting that marijuana arrests are on the rise, regardless of legalization.

Arrests are still on the rise and that cannabis is the “drug” people are most arrested and incarcerated for, leaving hard narcotics in the dust.

The annual publication that releases the data is the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. For the past 10 years a table appeared showing the percentage of arrests for manufacturing and possession respectively.

The publication was released on Monday and these helpful breakdowns were no more. Its removal was part of a large scaling back of information made available to the public in the report.

Luckily, Stephen G. Fischer Jr. of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division could provide sufficient numbers to Forbes for a breakdown.

Cannabis arrests are still on the rise. Here’s a run through of the data:

Marijuana possession arrests account for 37.36 percent of all U.S. drug arrests reported in 2016. Sales and manufacturing accounted for another 4.18 percent.

Together, they make up 41.54 percent of 1,572,579 drug arrests last year, which makes 653,249 cannabis arrests in 2016, averaging one pot bust every 48 seconds.

The same calculation reveals that in 2015 there were 643,121 cannabis arrests. So yes, pot arrests are going up, even as legalization spreads across the U.S.


There was one caveat regarding the data; the numbers being reported on account for 75 percent of the total amount of reported drug arrests. That means that the estimations could be changed by police departments that made very many or very few cannabis arrests, yet didn’t provide breakdowns.

The caveat applies to the former tables as well, however, so it is the most efficient and really the only way to track the fluctuations of marijuana arrests in our country from year to year.


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