Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. states have legal cannabis, more than half have medical marijuana, and two thirds of Americans support legalization. But I guess nobody told the police that because weed arrests have gone up for the third year in a row.
According to an annual report from the FBI, law enforcement made an estimated 663,637 arrests related to cannabis in 2018. That’s up just slightly from last year’s 659,700, and represents one cannabis arrest per minute in the country.
What’s even suckier, more than 90% of these arrests were for simple possession. That percentage is also an increase over last year.
“What this tells us is that marijuana remains the lowest-hanging fruit for drug policing in the United States,” Sheila Vakhaira, PhD, deputy director for academic engagement at the Drug Policy Alliance, told Leafly.
“These numbers are incredibly disheartening. They’re not significantly different from previous years, despite the fact that we see states passing increasing and more progressive marijuana reforms, both as decriminalization and legalization.”
While cannabis arrests have risen for the last three years, they are not currently approaching the peak total of 872,721 in 2007. Starting in 2008, cannabis arrests began to decrease steadily until 2015, in the midst of the legalization wave, when the trend was reversed.Photo via Flickr user whitesun12