Support Local Journalism. Donate to Detroit Metro Times.

Marijuana arrests increase nationwide despite legalization in more states, FBI says 

  • Faboi/

Despite the fact that marijuana has been legalized in a growing number of states, new data released by the FBI shows that the number of cannabis-related arrests has increased nationwide.

According to new numbers released by the FBI on Monday, there were 663,367 marijuana-related arrests in 2017 — an uptick from 653,249 arrests in 2016. That's an arrest every 48 seconds, Forbes reports.

The numbers come from local police agencies who shared their crime data with the federal government, compiled as part of the FBI's Uniform Crime Report system. The vast majority of the arrests — 608,775, or almost 92 percent — were for possession alone. The number for marijuana-related arrests surpassed those for aggravated assault, burglary, arson, fraud, disorderly conduct, or sex offenses, among others.

Marijuana use and possession is now legal for adults over 21 in 11 states and the District of Columbia. This includes Michigan, where voters passed Proposition 1 in 2018. Illinois has also moved to legalize marijuana in the past year. Both states legalized marijuana after the window of time the FBI was looking at.

“Prohibition is a failed and racist policy that should be relegated to the dust bin of history,” NORML executive director Erik Altieri said in a statement. “An overwhelming majority of Americans from all political persuasions want to see it brought to an end. Instead of continuing the disastrous practices of the past, it is time lawmakers at all levels begin to honor the will of their constituents and support a sensible marijuana policy focused on legalization and regulation.”

The majority of the Democratic 2020 presidential candidates — including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Andrew Yang — have said they support federal legalization, according to Leafly.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, regarded by many as the Democratic frontrunner, as well as incumbent Republican President Donald Trump, do not support federal legalization.

It's a new era for marijuana in Michigan. Sign up for our weekly weed newsletter, delivered every Tuesday at 4:20 p.m.

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Metro Times has been keeping Detroit informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources. A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Metro Times. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 1, 2020


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit