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MARIJUANA-RELATED ARRESTS OCCUR WITH SHOCKING FREQUENCY IN THE U.S.

Adam Lee Nemann
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Trial and Defense Attorney, Adjunct Professor of Law at Capital University, founder of Nemann Law Offices

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10/6/2015
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Approximately one marijuana-related arrest happens every 45 seconds in the U.S., according to federal data released this week.

The data included in the Uniform Crime Report, released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday, illustrates how, despite shifting attitudes, marijuana and petty, non-violent drug offenses are just as healthy as they were in years past.

The number of marijuana arrests in the U.S. in 2014 increased for the first time since 2009.

In 2014, there were 700,993 marijuana arrests, up from 693,482 in 2013, according to the report. Nearly 90 percent were for possession alone.

According to marijuana proponents, arrest statistics are drastically out of step with corresponding public opinion on the drug, and stand out starkly against the number of unsolved violent crimes.

"It's unacceptable that police still put this many people in handcuffs for something that a growing majority of Americans think should be legal," Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, a pro-marijuana policy non-profit, told ATTN: in a statement.

"A record number of states are expected to vote on legalizing marijuana next year, so we hope and expect to see these numbers significantly dropping soon."

"There's just no good reason that so much police time and taxpayer money is spent punishing people for marijuana when so many murders, rapes and robberies go unsolved," Angell said.

According to numbers included in the Uniform Crime Report, just under half of violent crimes were solved in 2014, including 64.5 percent of murders, 39.3 percent of rapes, 29.6 percent robberies, and 56.3 percent of aggravated assault cases. And while the metric is different, marijuana arrests remained at levels comparable to over 15 years ago, even while most Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to the Pew Research Center.

 

"These numbers refute the myth that nobody actually gets arrested for using marijuana," Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest marijuana policy outfit, wrote in a statement to ATTN:.

"It's hard to imagine why more people were arrested for marijuana possession when fewer people than every believe it should be a crime. Law enforcement officials should not be wasting their time and resources arresting and prosecuting adults for using marijuana."

Crime Jail

"Could you imagine if hundreds of thousands of adults were arrested last year simply for possessing alcohol? That would be crazy," Tvert added.

"It's even crazier that hundreds of thousands of adults were arrested for possessing a less harmful substance."



Category: Drug Offenses

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