Weed arrests still outnumber violent crime arrests (but there's some good news)
There's been tons of great news around the topic of legalization lately -- state after state in the US, and even other countries, have been legalizing marijuana more quickly than ever in the past few years. So it's a little surprising to hear that despite the ongoing efforts to legalize marijuana, arrests for the drug have actually risen in the same time period. According to a new report from the FBI, marijuana-related arrests were up an increase of 12 percent in 2016 from the same period in 2016.
That's pretty wild! That puts the number of arrests for marijuana at half of all drug arrests, and drug arrests in general are far above any other type of crime, including burglary, DUIs, or any other criminal act. Most drug arrests are for possession, which means you're more likely to get arrested while walking around with a personal supply of weed than to, you know, break into someone's house.
Not that you should do either -- the whole point of legislation is to ensure that people who are using weed aren't hurting anyone else and don't deserve to get harassed or arrested by the cops. Especially when a lot of weed's history is predicated on racism and xenophobia, it's sad that in 2017, there's still so much law enforcement activity around this drug.
There is some good news. In some states, reports HuffPo, there are laws entering the books that allow those arrested for marijuana crimes to start wiping those crimes off of their records. It's hard to erase things completely, but states like California are implementing laws that allow the convicted to either hide past convictions or have them reduced to a misdemeanor or just an infraction. A conviction can completely ruin a life, and when someone is arrested for possessing an amount of weed that becomes legal in the state, it makes sense that they should get a break. Even with all of the good news around legalization lately, it's disheartening to realize that people are still getting punished for actions that were essentially harmless (and arrests that were motivated by racism in the first place). Hopefully as the laws continue to change, we can come closer to making things as just and fair as possible.