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FBI report suggests troubling marijuana arrest statistics

Despite the growing acceptance of marijuana use, authorities are just as determined as ever to arrest, charge and convict people of unlawful use or possession. And according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, police are arresting a person for a marijuana-related offense once every 48 seconds in the U.S. That means that someone's freedom, future and career are put in jeopardy every single minute.

States across the country are starting to loosen up rigid laws that prohibit the use, possession and sale of marijuana. This is due, in part, to the increased number of people who argue that it should be legalized and regulated just like alcohol. In stark contrast to this movement, law enforcement has continued to forge ahead in their aggressive prosecution of those accused of a drug crime involving marijuana. And according to the recent report, they are doing so at near-record levels.

A group called 420RADIO News analyzed the report and determined that over 87 percent of the 658,231 arrests that involved marijuana in 2012 were for possession. Hundreds of thousands of people have been arrested in one year simply for the possession of pot. In fact, more people have been arrested for this crime than for violent crimes including robbery, aggravated assault, murder, forcible rape and non-negligent manslaughter.

Making the issue more upsetting is the bias of those arrested. A sociology professor at City University of New York states that a disproportionate number of people in New York who are arrested for a drug crime are black or Latino men, even though white males use marijuana at much higher rates.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no sign that this dynamic will be changing in the immediate future. Police and prosecutors will continue to aggressively pursue convictions and sentences for drug offenders while a large number of people argue that it is a waste of time, money and resources.

This is a good reminder that charges of marijuana possession should continue to be taken very seriously. Being convicted of a drug crime in New York could damage a person's criminal record and reputation, not to mention the fact that they could be facing fines, deportation and even jail time. People who are facing charges may want to speak with an attorney to try and limit their exposure to these harsh punishments.

Source: Mint Press News, "FBI Reports Marijuana Arrests Are At Near-Record Levels," Katie Rucke, Sept. 18, 2013

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