An estimated 693,481 arrests were made nationwide for marijuana-related offenses in 2013, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report. More than 87% of those arrests were for simple possession, meaning, on average, one person was arrested for marijuana possession approximately every 51 seconds across the U.S.
However, the 2013 marijuana-related arrest numbers are down from 2012. The Uniform Crime Report from last year showed that 749,842 marijuana arrests were made in 2012.
Marijuana policy reform groups are glad to see that the arrest rates associated with marijuana offenses have fallen since 2012, but continuing to arrest people for the simple possession of marijuana should be seen as unacceptable and a call for further reforms.
According to Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project:
“We’re pleased to see the drop, but arresting even one adult for using a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol is inexcusable.”
“Law enforcement officials should be spending their time and resources addressing serious crimes, not arresting and prosecuting adults for using marijuana. Every year, these statistics show hundreds of thousands of marijuana-related arrests are taking place and countless violent crimes are going unsolved. We have to wonder how many of those crimes could be solved – or prevented – if police weren’t wasting their time enforcing failed marijuana prohibition laws.”