New Data: One Marijuana Arrest Every 45 Seconds in U.S.

There’s more than one marijuana arrest in the U.S. every minute, on average, according to new federal report released Monday.

In 2014 there were 700,993 marijuana arrests in the U.S., according to the FBI data. That’s one cannabis bust every 45 seconds.

The new numbers also show that marijuana arrests comprised 44.9 percent of the 1,561,231 drug arrests that took place last year, and that drug crimes are the largest category of offenses people were arrested for. Of all marijuana arrests, 88.4 percent were for possession alone.

Cannabis arrests are slightly up from 2013 despite the fact that American attitudes continue to become more supportive of legalization, according to polls.

“These numbers refute the myth that nobody actually gets arrested for using marijuana,” Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a press release. “It’s hard to imagine why more people were arrested for marijuana possession when fewer people than ever believe it should be a crime.”

Meanwhile, the FBI reported that more than a third of murders and nearly 40 percent of rapes went unsolved in 2014.

Law enforcement officials should not be wasting their time and resources arresting and prosecuting adults for using marijuana,” Tvert said. “While law enforcement was busy making nearly three quarters of a million marijuana arrests, more than 35% of murders went unsolved, the clearance rate for rape was less than 40%, and for robbery and property crimes, it was below 30%.”

Click here to see a chart of marijuana and drug arrest data since 1980.

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