The Risk of Arrest for Cannabis Consumers Is Shrinking
After rising for three years in a row, marijuana arrests in the United States fell by 18 percent in 2019. Police made about 545,600 such arrests in 2019, according to the FBI, compared to about 663,400 in 2018.
As usual, the vast majority of those arrests—92 percent—were for possession rather than manufacture or sale. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws reported that “much of the national decline resulted from a drop-off in marijuana arrests in Texas,” where the total fell by more than 50,000.
Nationwide, marijuana arrests peaked at nearly 873,000 in 2007; the 2019 number was 37 percent lower. While the odds that any given cannabis consumer will be arrested have always been low, they are getting lower. Possession arrests in 2007 represented about 3 percent of marijuana users that year, judging from survey data. That risk in 2019, when the
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