Nearly all federal cannabis charges – 98.8% – brought last year were for drug trafficking as federal charges for cannabis comprised just about 4% of all federal drug offenders, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission 2022 Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics.
The majority of federal drug cases last year were methamphetamine related (48.5%), followed by powder cocaine (17.3%); fentanyl (12.6%); heroin (8.1%); crack cocaine (5.6%); and “other” drugs, which include Oxycodone/Oxycontin (301 cases); MDMA/ecstasy/MDA (72 cases), and synthetic cannabinoids (59 cases.)
In all, federal law enforcement officials brought 806 cannabis-related federal charges, of which 796 were for drug trafficking, while seven were for possession in “protected locations,” which includes courts, and one charge related to continuing a criminal enterprise.
The majority of the federal drug trafficking charges for cannabis were for between 100,000 and 399,999 grams – 137 cases in all. Another 38 charges were for trafficking between 1 million and 3 million grams, while 16 charges were for between 5,000 and 9,999 grams.
A decade ago, federal law enforcement officials charged nearly 7,000 people for violating federal cannabis laws, which was more than any other drug violation charged at the federal level.
The average sentence imposed on those convicted of breaking federal cannabis laws was 33 months, by far the lowest sentence, on average, for someone convicted of breaking federal drug laws.
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