New FBI Data: One Marijuana Arrest Every 45 seconds In 2014

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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One marijuana arrest occurred every 45 seconds during 2014, reaching 700,993 total arrests, according to recently released FBI data.

The data also showed that marijuana accounted for 44.9 of all drug arrests. Of the arrests for marijuana, 88.4 percent were for possession alone. Police arrested more people for drug crimes than any other category in 2014.

To put the numbers into perspective, in 2013, police only made 693,482 arrests for marijuana. The recent uptick does not indicate a steady increase over time. In 2012, for example, there were 749,825 marijuana arrests, and in 2011, 757,969. The rate listed in 2013 actually is the lowest since 1998, when police arrested 682,885 users.

Keith Humphreys, a psychiatrist from Stanford University, noted that although possession arrests for cannabis increased slightly in the early 2000s, from 2007 to 2012, the rate has declined by 42 percent.

“It’s unacceptable that police still put this many people in handcuffs for something that a growing majority of Americans think should be legal,” Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “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.”

While marijuana policy reform continues to sweep the country state-by-state, arrests still do take place. Marijuana is still a Schedule I substance based on federal law, though members of Congress have been trying to scale back the enforcement ability of the federal government. The process has proved to be slow and incremental. Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu and GOP Rep. Justin Amash recently introduced a bill to block federal funds from being sent from the Drug Enforcement Administration to local law enforcement for the purpose of cannabis suppression. (RELATED: New Bill Strikes At The Heart Of DEA’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Apparatus)

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