New data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday shows that arrests for marijuana offenses declined for the first time in four years in 2019, but still exceeded the number of arrests for all violent crimes combined. The data, as recorded by the national Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, is contained in the FBI’s 2019 “Crime in the United States” report.
The report shows that 545,602 arrests for marijuana-related offenses were made by law enforcement officers in 2019. That total exceeds the 495,871 arrests for violent crimes by 9%, according to a release from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Among the arrests for cannabis-related offenses, more than nine out of 10 (92%) were arrests for marijuana possession only. Arrests for marijuana offenses were least likely to occur in the West, where many states have legalized cannabis, and most prevalent in the Northeast.
Erik Altieri, the executive director of NORML, said in a press release on Thursday that the time has come for law enforcement to refocus its priorities, noting that opinion polls show that a majority of Americans are in favor of laws ending the prohibition of cannabis.
“Police across America make a