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New Jersey may be closer than ever to having legal weed, but people in the Garden State are more likely to be arrested for marijuana than almost anywhere else in the country.
A recently published analysis of marijuana arrest data shows that in 2016 New Jersey was third in the nation in total marijuana arrests — after Texas and New York — and second only to Wyoming in marijuana arrest rate.
In 2016, 35,700 people were arrested in New Jersey for either marijuana possession or distribution, according to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program.
Jon Gettman, criminal justice professor at Shenandoah University in Virginia, analyzed the FBI’s arrest data to get the state-by-state number of marijuana arrests.
Gettman said New Jersey’s high marijuana arrest rate is likely to do with increased police activity in the state.
“When you have greater police activity in a certain neighborhood…you’re going to have more marijuana arrests,” he said.
According to the latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Jersey is one of the states with most police officers per capita. Gettman said when there are more police making more stops, there are going to be more marijuana possession arrests.
See below for how New Jersey’s marijuana arrest data compares to other states.