U.S.: FBI Reports Marijuana Arrests Increased In 2014; First Increase Since 2009
By Steve Elliott
The annual number of arrests for marijuana offenses in the U.S. increased last year for the first time since 2009, according to the Uniform Crime Report released Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
There were 700,993 marijuana arrests in the U.S. in 2014, according to a new report from the FBI. That's one every 45 seconds.
Marijuana arrests comprised 44.9 percent of all drug arrests, and drug crimes are the largest category of offenses people were arrested for, according to the FBI. Fully 88.4 percent of marijuana arrests were for possession alone.
In comparison, there were 693,482 marijuana arrests in the U.S. in 2013. Data on marijuana arrests for years prior to 2013 is at http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Marijuana#Total.
"It's unacceptable that police still put this many people in handcuffs for something that a growing majority of Americans think should be legal," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. "A record number of states are expected to vote on legalizing marijuana next year, so we hope and expect to see these numbers significantly dropping soon.
"There’s just no good reason that so much police time and taxpayer money is spent punishing people for marijuana when so many murders, rapes and robberies go unsolved," Angell said.
“These numbers refute the myth that nobody actually gets arrested for using marijuana," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "It’s hard to imagine why more people were arrested for marijuana possession when fewer people than ever believe it should be a crime.
"Law enforcement officials should not be wasting their time and resources arresting and prosecuting adults for using marijuana," Tvert said. "While law enforcement was busy making nearly three quarters of a million marijuana arrests, more than 35 percent of murders went unsolved, the clearance rate for rape was less than 40 percent, and for robbery and property crimes, it was below 30 percent.
“Could you imagine if hundreds of thousands of adults were arrested last year simply for possessing alcohol? That would be crazy," Tvert said. "It’s even crazier that hundreds of thousands of adults were arrested for possessing a less harmful substance.
“As long as we have these silly laws on the books, law enforcement resources will be wasted on enforcing them," Tvert said. "It’s time for state officials to step up and end the outdated policy of marijuana prohibition.”
The full report is available at https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the....
The new numbers above are based on calculations from these two tables:
And alarming data on unsolved violent crimes are at https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the...