More Than 653,000 People Were Arrested for Cannabis In 2016

No one should ever be arrested for cannabis. After all, cannabis has been found to be 114 time safer than alcohol. A cannabis arrest has the potential to ruin someone’s life. Long after the monetary and/or incarceration penalties have been completed by someone arrested for cannabis, the stigma remains. Those arrested for cannabis have to carry around the ‘cannabis scarlet letter’ which makes it hard to find a job, a place to live, and in some cases even prevents parents from being able to coach their kids’ sports teams.

Unfortunately cannabis arrests are far too common in America. With adult-use legalization and medical cannabis reform victories spreading across the country, one would think that the number of cannabis arrests would be significantly dropping in America. Sadly, that is not the case according to recently released arrest statistics. Below is more information about cannabis arrests numbers, via the Marijuana Policy Project. These numbers should serve as motivation for all of us to work harder to free the plant:

An estimated 653,249 arrests were made nationwide for marijuana in 2016, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Crime In the United States (CIUS) report. This means one person was arrested for marijuana approximately every 48 seconds on average in the United States.

The full report is available here: (Note: Marijuana-specific data was not published online but is available upon request.)

“Arresting and citing over half a million people a year for a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol is a travesty,” said Morgan Fox, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Despite a steady shift in public opinion away from marijuana prohibition, and the growing number of states that are regulating marijuana like alcohol, marijuana consumers continue to be treated like criminals throughout the country. This is a shameful waste of resources and can create lifelong consequences for the people arrested.”

There are currently eight states that regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol for adults, four of which voted to do so in November 2016. Marijuana possession is also legal for adults in the District of Columbia. Twenty-three states and D.C. considered legislation in 2017 to regulate marijuana, including in Vermont where the legislature approved such a measure before the governor vetoed it.

“Regulating marijuana for adults creates jobs, generates tax revenue, protects consumers, and takes money away from criminals,” Fox continued. “It is time for the federal government and the rest of the states to stop ruining peoples’ lives and enact sensible marijuana policies.”