Even though there has been a dramatic shift in public opinion about whether marijuana should be legal, it remains one of the most common reasons that Americans are arrested. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2012 is a stark reminder that there is still significant work to do before marijuana prohibition is truly ended.
The report estimates that there were roughly 750,000 marijuana arrests last year and 87 percent of them where just for possession. That is over 650,000 arrested simply for possessing marijuana, a plant a majority of Americans now think shouldn’t even be illegal. Almost half of all drug arrests in the country were for marijuana.
This means that one out of every 20 arrest in this country were for marijuana possession. To put these numbers into context there were only 520,000 arrests for all violent crimes last year.
The number of marijuana arrests is down only marginally since last year but this simply mirrors the overall drop in arrest of all types since 2011.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans a year continue to be arrested for using marijuana.