Although Congress has failed to amend federal cannabis laws, clearly the attitudes and priorities of federal prosecutors have shifted in the era of state-level marijuana legalization.
Federal cases involving marijuana dropped to less than 1,000 in 2021, with 996 people charged for trafficking, NORML reported.
According to an analysis from the federal U.S. Sentencing Commission (USCC), they accounted for less than 6% of those charged with violating federal drug laws over the last year.
On the other hand, methamphetamine was the most common narcotic type involved in federal drug cases, accounting for 48%, followed by powder cocaine and heroin.
And it seems the trend is gaining steam as more states legalize marijuana and federal officials apparently place less emphasis on going after people over cannabis.
In 2012, with more than 7,000 federal marijuana cases reported, cannabis topped the list. In 2020, USCC documented only 1,118 cannabis cases after their numbers dropped by more than a quarter in 2019.
“Although Congress has failed to amend federal cannabis laws, clearly the attitudes and priorities of federal prosecutors have shifted in the era of state-level marijuana legalization,” NORML deputy director Paul Armentano said. “Now it’s time for federal lawmakers to codify these changes in priorities by descheduling marijuana.”
Morgan Fox, NORML’s political director emphasized that “America’s outdated federal laws are still having a significant and unnecessary impact on people’s lives.
“We urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold a floor vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expunge Act immediately, and sincerely hope that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sticks to his planned April introduction of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act,” Fox said.