FBI Report More People Have Been Arrested For Marijuana Than Violent Crime This Year
The growing support for marijuana legalization in the United States and around the world was revealed in a recent FBI report. Last year, more people were arrested for cannabis than for all violent crimes combined. In total, 545,602 people were arrested for marijuana-related offenses in 2019, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
By comparison, 495,871 people were arrested for violent crimes, according to data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
Most drug arrests took place in the Northeast of the US, while marijuana arrests are much less common in the Western US, where cannabis is largely legal. Even more interesting is the fact that more than half of those arrested for cannabis were arrested for their marijuana use. To date, marijuana has been decriminalized in 28 states, and 11 states have legalized it for recreational use, while a number of others allow it for medical use, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
At a time when an overwhelming majority of Americans want cannabis to be legal and regulated, it is outrageous that many police departments across the country continue to waste their time and resources arresting citizens who do not comply with the law but simply possess marijuana, "said Michael Botticelli, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement about the FBI data. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a coalition of law enforcement agencies, police in America make one marijuana arrest every 58 seconds.
The issue of the nationwide decriminalization of weed has also been raised in the US House of Representatives and Senate in recent months. Democratic Senators Kamala Harris of California and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have promised that their government would decriminalize marijuana use and allow entry of people convicted of minor marijuana offenses. Harris is also the leading supporter of a bill in Congress aimed at removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.
Although polls indicate that a majority of Americans support the legalization of cannabis, decriminalization is in the spotlight given recent tensions over racial injustice in the US. Blacks are more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana, though both groups report similar amounts of cannabis.