Law enforcement agencies in Nebraska and across the U.S. are making more marijuana busts, according to a report by the FBI. The arrests are increasing even though multiple states have legalized pot in recent years.
According to the report, there were 659,700 marijuana-related arrests in 2017, compared to 653,249 the year before. That calculates to approximately one pot bust every 48 seconds. Of the marijuana arrests made in 2017, 599,282 were for possession. In comparison, there were 587,516 marijuana possession busts in 2016. Arrests for pot manufacturing and dealing dropped from 65,734 in 2016 to 60,418 in 2017. Overall, pot busts accounted for 40.4 percent of all U.S. drug arrests in 2017.
The jump in arrests comes as marijuana is being legalized in more states, with California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada all lifting bans on the drug in 2016. The increase is disturbing to marijuana advocates, who point out that pot has not been linked to any overdose deaths. A spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project said that it is “foolish” for law enforcement officers to waste time and resources on a safe drug when opioid overdoses claim the lives of 100 Americans per day.
As the FBI report demonstrates, marijuana possession can still lead to serious consequences, including incarceration and fines. Individuals arrested on drug possession charges might be able to avoid conviction by contacting a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. After reviewing the case, the attorney might determine that police violated a defendant’s rights during the search and seizure, which could cause the charges to be dropped.
Source: Forbes, “Marijuana Arrests Are Increasing Despite Legalization, New FBI Data Shows“, Tom Angell, Sept. 24, 2018