Despite the fact that marijuana has been legalized in a growing number of states, new data released by the FBI shows that the number of cannabis-related arrests has increased nationwide.
According to new numbers released by the FBI on Monday, there were 663,367 marijuana-related arrests in 2017 — an uptick from 653,249 arrests in 2016. That's an arrest every 48 seconds, Forbes reports.
The numbers come from local police agencies who shared their crime data with the federal government, compiled as part of the FBI's Uniform Crime Report system. The vast majority of the arrests — 608,775, or almost 92 percent — were for possession alone. The number for marijuana-related arrests surpassed those for aggravated assault, burglary, arson, fraud, disorderly conduct, or sex offenses, among others.
Marijuana use and possession is now legal for adults over 21 in 11 states and the District of Columbia. This includes Michigan, where voters passed Proposition 1 in 2018. Illinois has also moved to legalize marijuana in the past year. Both states legalized marijuana after the window of time the FBI was looking at.
“Prohibition is a failed and racist policy that should be relegated to the dust bin of history,” NORML executive director Erik Altieri said in a statement. “An overwhelming majority of Americans from all political persuasions want to see it brought to an end. Instead of continuing the disastrous practices of the past, it is time lawmakers at all levels begin to honor the will of their constituents and support a sensible marijuana policy focused on legalization and regulation.”
The majority of the Democratic 2020 presidential candidates — including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Andrew Yang — have said they support federal legalization, according to Leafly.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, regarded by many as the Democratic frontrunner, as well as incumbent Republican President Donald Trump, do not support federal legalization.
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