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Marijuana possession tops list of federal arrests

As public sentiment continues to change regarding the possession of marijuana, arrests continue to make headlines. These days, it is not the large busts that are reported in the news, it is the number of low-level arrests and how they compare to other crimes.

According to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report, law enforcement arrested 750,000 people on various charges involving marijuana. Those arrested included growers, sellers and consumers. Moreover, an analysis by 420Radio News found that marijuana arrests accounted for nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States.

These numbers may come as a surprise as many states are decriminalizing marijuana possession, and two states (Washington and Colorado) have legalized the recreational use of the drug.

The report also showed that many of the marijuana arrests came from Midwestern states. Southern states and the West Coast had markedly fewer arrests. Also, marijuana arrests outpaced the number of arrests for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault combined. Further, NYU professor Harry Levine noted that minorities (specifically young Black and Latino men) accounted for 90 percent of marijuana related arrests.

What's been called a "national scandal" can be seen as another reason for those accused in possession cases to have competent counsel. An experienced criminal defense attorney can raise a number of defenses that could lead to a case being dismissed, which may ultimately protect against a person losing his or her freedom.

If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with marijuana possession, a criminal defense attorney can help.

Source:, Despite growing acceptance of marijuana usage, pot arrests are booming as violent crimes go unsolved, September 18, 2013