Law enforcement agencies around the U.S. made 700,993 arrests for marijuana offenses, an increase from the total of 693,482 the previous year, says Marijuana Majority, a group advocating legalization of the drug. The data were included in the FBI’s annual report of crime in the United States, issued yesterday. Marijuana arrests comprised 44.9 percent of drug arrests, and drug crimes are the largest category of offenses for which people were arrested. More than 88 percent of marijuana arrests were for possession.
The group’s Tom Angell said, “It’s unacceptable that police still put this many people in handcuffs for something that a growing majority of Americans think should be legal. 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.”