FBI Data: Cannabis-Related Arrests in U.S. Increased in 2022

FBI data suggests that U.S. law enforcement officers made at least 227,108 arrests for cannabis violations in 2022, up from 219,489 cannabis arrests the previous year.

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Law enforcement officers in the U.S. made at least 227,108 arrests for cannabis violations in 2022, up from the 219,489 cannabis-related arrests the previous year, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data. Of the 2022 arrests, 92% were for possession only. 

The figures are likely underestimated, because for 2022 83% of agencies reported their arrest data, according to NORML. That figure is up from 63% of agencies in 2021 and represents 75% of the total U.S. population. In a statement, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said that “While there has clearly been a long-term decline in the total number of marijuana-related arrests nationwide, it is discouraging that there still remains significant gaps in the available information.” 

“At a time when voters and their elected officials nationwide are re-evaluating state and federal marijuana policies, it is inconceivable that government agencies are unable to produce more explicit data on the estimated costs and scope of marijuana prohibition in America. Nonetheless, even from this incomplete data set, it remains clear that marijuana seizures and prosecutions remain a primary driver of drug war enforcement in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to be arrested annually for these violations even though a majority of voters no longer believe that the responsible use of marijuana by adults should be a crime.” — Armentano in a statement 

In all, 30% of all reported drug-related arrests in the U.S. in 2022 were for cannabis. 

From 2019 to 2020 cannabis-related arrests had fallen 36% but in 2020 more than 350,000 people were arrested for cannabis in the U.S., according to FBI data.   

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