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Marijuana Possession Arrests Drop to Lowest Level Since 1996

Marijuana Possession Arrests USA

The number of national simple marijuana possession arrests has decreased in 2015, reaching an all-time low since 1996.

The FBI released these new statistics, which showed the total number of marijuana arrests in 2015 at 574,641, reports The Washington Post. The pinnacle of marijuana arrests was in 2007 when arrests almost surpassed 800,000.

The numbers reported represent a 25 percent drop in marijuana arrests since 2007. The FBI speculates that law enforcement officers are paying more attention to dangerous drug offenders and serious crimes. Marijuana arrests in 2015 were 12 percent fewer than in 2010, including marijuana sales and possession charges.

Marijuana Arrests Chart

Regardless of fewer arrests taking place, the arrest rate still works out to more than one arrest every minute in 2015. Drug Policy Alliance says that marijuana-related arrests are “the engine driving the U.S. war on drugs” and “the huge number of arrests every year usurps scarce law enforcement, criminal justice, and treatment resources at enormous cost to taxpayers.”

This November, five states – ArizonaCaliforniaMaineMassachusetts, and Nevada – will vote on whether to legalize marijuana for adult-use. Four other states – Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota – will be voting on legalizing medical marijuana.