Marijuana Arrests on The Rise Despite Legalization

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According to a report released on Monday by the FBI, the number of arrests due to drugs has increased since previous years. With the change in how the annual law enforcement numbers are being reported, it is hard for one to figure out whether marijuana or another type of drug was responsible for these arrests.

The annual publication that is constructed with data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) has included a table depicting the percentage of arrests with categories in sales and manufacturing or possession for the past 10 years. The table also specifies which type of substance the arrest was due to by placing the drug in a category.

The data released on Monday did not include the informational table as it has in the past. Instead information that has been made publicly available is being cut back. According to Stephen F. Fischer Jr., chief of multimedia productions for the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, “The UCR Program streamlined the 2016 edition by reducing the number of tables from 81 to 29”.
Fischer revealed to Forbes the FBI’s internal drug breakdown numbers. In 2016, marijuana possession arrests accounted for over 37% of reported drugs arrests. Marijuana sales and manufacturing arrests contributed another 4% to the total arrests involving marijuana in the U.S which in total accounts for over 41% of the total arrests for drug abuse violations.
In 2016, there were over 1.5 million arrests due to drug abuse violations. That would equate to over 650,000 people arrested for marijuana last year which averages out to an arrest almost every 48 seconds for marijuana possession, sales, or manufacturing. In 2015, there were over 640,000 arrests due to marijuana according to the same data.

It is hard to comprehend while more and more states are legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes how arrests are on the rise.

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