Public support for liberalizing marijuana laws is at an all-time high, and as of the November election, 18 states have legalized the drug, either for medical or recreational purposes. Law enforcement, however, seems unmoved by the legalization movement. According to a new FBI report, police arrested more people for marijuana possession than for violent crime in 2011.
The Huffington Post reports:
In 2011, marijuana possession arrests totaled 663,032 — more than arrests for all violent crimes combined. Possession arrests have nearly doubled since 1980, according to an FBI report, while teen marijuana use recently reached a 30-year high.
President Obama and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, have stressed on numerous occasions that the federal government would not waste resources on prosecuting marijuana users who comply with their state laws. Yet Obama’s Justice Department continue to crack down on medical marijuana distributors at a rate far higher than his predecessors.
Drug possession convictions comprise almost half of the nation’s exploding prison population. These arrests are dramatically skewed against people of color; 31 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession are black, even though African Americans make up just 14 percent of marijuana users.