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Cannabis Arrests Up 21% As America Heads Towards Legalization

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Although more and more states are loosening cannabis laws, local authorities continue to arrest Americans for simple cannabis possession violations at an alarming rate. According to new data from the FBI, the total amount of Americans arrested for violating cannabis-related laws increased for the third consecutive year.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report reveals that police made 663,367 arrests for cannabis-related violations in 2018, NORML reported, which is 21% higher than the total amount of Americans arrested for violent crimes (521,103). Approximately 90% (608,776) of those arrests were only for simple marijuana possession.

“Police across America make a marijuana-related arrest every 48 seconds,” NORML said. “At a time when the overwhelming majority of Americans want cannabis to be legal and regulated, it is an outrage that many police departments across the country continue to waste tax dollars and limited law enforcement resources on arresting otherwise law-abiding citizens for simple marijuana possession.”

The FBI’s data does mark the start of a trend in declining arrests that began after 2007 when local authorities made a record 872,721 total cannabis-related arrests in the U.S.

Approximately 53% of the cannabis-related arrests occurred in northeastern states.

Support for marijuana legalization in the U.S. is at 66%, according to a recent Gallup poll.