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Marijuana arrests drop under Biden / Harris administration

It remains to be seen whether the Democratic Congress will provide legalization of marijuana this month … or even this year … a benefit of having the Biden / Harris administration has been a drop in the number of marijuana arrests in national and, more critically, federal.

Federal officials have charged fewer people with marijuana-related crimes in 2021 compared to previous years, another serious one according to data compiled by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in its 2021 Annual Report.

While other federal drug arrests have been relatively low, just under 1,000 people have been charged with federal violations of marijuana law in 2021. They make up less than six percent of those charged with violating federal drug laws. that year.

A decade of de-escalation of the Drug War

By contrast, a decade ago, federal officials charged nearly 7,000 people in 2012 with marijuana offenses. That was greater than the number of people charged with any other drug violation. In 2016, that total fell to less than 3,500 people under President Obama. The total has continued to fall sharply since then.

Commenting on the latest federal figures, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Although Congress has failed to change federal cannabis laws, clearly the attitudes and priorities of federal prosecutors have changed over the years. “Now it’s time for federal lawmakers to codify these priority changes by announcing marijuana.”

NORML Political Director Morgan Fox added: “Despite this declining trend in federal marijuana trials, America’s obsolete federal laws still have a significant and unnecessary impact on people’s lives. Congress has the opportunity Legislators must continue to build the momentum to end our failed marijuana ban policies and help those who have been unjustly harmed by them.We urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to cast a ground-breaking vote on the issue. ‘Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expulsion Act immediately, and I sincerely hope that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer adheres to its April planned introduction of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.

Overall, 31 percent of all federal criminals in 2021 will be charged with drug offenses, up from about 26 percent in 2020. Just under half of all people charged with federal drug offenses in 2021 will be prosecuted for methamphetamine trafficking.

The 2021 Federal Sentence Statistics Sourcebook is available online.

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