Marijuana Arrests Drop in 2015 to Lowest Level Since 1996

Marijuana Arrests Drop in 2015 to Lowest Level Since 1996

Marijuana Arrests Drop in 2015 to Lowest Level Since 1996, Remain Higher than Violent Crime Arrests

While the outdated claim that marijuana is a dangerous and highly addictive gateway drug has been largely discredited by decades of research, cannabis is still classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic by the federal government and people still face arrest and prosecution for possession and sale of marijuana, even when a violent crime has not been committed.

According to a recent analysis published by the Washington Post [], the number of marijuana possession arrests declined 7% in 2015 to 575,000, the lowest level since 1996 according to new FBI unified crime statistics.

This is a 35% decline in marijuana arrests since 2007, when arrests reached a peak of 800,000. In general, this indicates police are putting less effort into enforcing federal and, in some cases, state laws.

Still, a joint report called “Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States” issued by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch found the 575,000 marijuana arrests last year were for low-level personal use was almost 14% more than the 506,000 arrests for all violent crimes in 2015. That includes serious assault, rape, and murder arrests.

The report also highlights an issue in which the system coerces guilty pleas from people charged with drug crimes, even if they are not guilty. Over 99% of people convicted for drug possession in 2009 pleaded guilty in the 75 largest counties in the United States and most in at least two states were poor enough to qualify for a court-appointed attorney yet had a bail amount of almost $40,000 on average.

This problem also exists in California. While medical marijuana has been legal in California for 20 years, more than 500,000 people have been arrested for marijuana in the last decade.

If you have been arrested for marijuana possession, cultivation, or sales, there are many defenses that can be explored to reduce the risk of conviction. Contact Soliman Law Group for a free consultation with an experienced marijuana defense attorney in West Los Angeles to discuss your case.