The number of Americans arrested for cannabis-related crimes dropped significantly in 2020 according to data just released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) outlined by NORML for Yes Weekly. However, stats appearing in the agency’s annual Uniform Crime Report show that a staggering 350,150 people were arrested for cannabis last year, mostly in states where cannabis possession remains illegal. Although the number of arrests is high, the latest stats show a 36% drop in arrests between 2019 and 2020 — the lowest cannabis arrest numbers since the early 1990s, the report says.
“As more states move toward the sensible policy of legalizing and regulating cannabis, we are seeing a decline in the arrest of non-violent marijuana consumers nationwide.” — NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri to Yes
Of the over 350,000 Americans arrested for cannabis in 2020, 91% were detained for simple possession. The data shows a 50% drop in cannabis arrests from their peak in 2008 — when police made over 800,000 cannabis arrests — and 2020, according to the data outlined in the report.
“The fight for legalization is a fight for justice,” Altieri said. “While these numbers represent a historic decline in arrests, even one person being put into handcuffs for the simple possession of marijuana is too many.”
Nationwide in 2020, 30.3% of all drug arrests were cannabis-related. That percentage rose in the Northeast, where an estimated 50% of all drug arrests involved cannabis. Due to legalization efforts, the Western U.S. saw the least number of cannabis-related arrests.
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