Even with marijuana legalization expanding to more and more states, the number of cannabis-related arrests was still on the rise in 2014.
According to recently released FBI data, there were 700,993 marijuana arrests throughout the United States in 2014. That number averages out to one arrest every 45 seconds.
Drug crimes made up the largest category of offenses that people were arrested for in 2014, with marijuana arrests making up 44.9 percent of all drug-related arrests. Nearly 90 percent of all those arrests were for minor possession alone.
Comparing 2014 to the previous year, there were 693,482 marijuana arrests in 2013. With an increase of over 7,000 more arrests than the year before, it seems as if national cannabis reform is struggling to positively impact law enforcements perception of marijuana.
Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority and activist for marijuana policy reform, spoke on the recently released statistics,
“It’s unacceptable that police still put this many people in handcuffs for something that a growing majority of Americans think should be legal. A record number of states are expected to vote on legalizing marijuana next year, so we hope and expect to see these numbers significantly dropping soon. There’s just no good reason that so much police time and taxpayer money is spent punishing people for marijuana when so many murders, rapes and robberies go unsolved.”
As states continue to work towards reform, whether it comes in the form of decriminalization or complete recreational legalization, it will be interesting to see whether these arrest numbers decrease next year or continue to rise.