FBI Report Shows Continued Marijuana Arrests — Over a Quarter Million in 2022

Oct 27, 2023

arrests, crime, FBI, Uniform Crime Report

FBI Report Shows Continued Marijuana Arrests — Over a Quarter Million in 2022

At a time when the cannabis policy reform movement has more momentum and victories than ever, the legal cannabis industry is booming with billions of dollars in sales, and public support for cannabis legalization and decriminalization are at an all-time high, millions of Americans are still living under harsh policies of prohibition. 

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, law enforcement officials made at least 227,108 arrests* for marijuana-related violations in 2022. 92% of these arrests were for marijuana possession alone — not for sale or manufacturing. 

Here’s a further look at some of the key 2022 cannabis arrest statistics in the report:

  • 245,149 arrests for marijuana possession
  • 31% of all drug possession arrests were for marijuana
  • 27% of all drug-related arrests were for marijuana offenses
  • 22,699 arrests for marijuana sales or manufacturing offenses
  • Black Americans accounted for over 27% of all drug-related arrests despite comprising just 13.6% of the national population according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Thirty-one states and Washington, D.C. have enacted laws to stop jailing their residents for possession of small amounts of cannabis. In 23 of those states, cannabis is legal for adults 21 and older, while eight have “decriminalized” simple possession. And yet, law enforcement officials continue to waste resources on arresting and prosecuting hundreds of thousands of marijuana consumers each year, while many violent and property crimes go unsolved.

This report is a stark reminder of just how prevalent cannabis prohibition and criminalization remains nationwide. It is particularly disturbing to note that the total arrests for cannabis violations actually increased from 2021 to 2022 according to the FBI’s online database.

We know that cannabis users are not criminals, and it’s up to us to take urgent action to address this ongoing injustice. You can help continue to dismantle the failed policies of cannabis prohibition by chipping in to support MPP’s advocacy efforts.

*It is important to note that the data found through the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer represents reported crime and is not an exhaustive report — as some agencies do not report. Thus, in some instances, the number of cannabis possession arrests in a state are largely underreported.