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Decriminalization? This Statistic About Simple Possession Arrests Will Startle You


For anyone reading the cultural tea leaves, the trend is clear: When it comes to the long-running "War on Drugs," the people want pot off the battlefield. Where, once, marijuana was considered a major gateway drug, the scourge of playgrounds and classrooms everywhere, and demonized beyond all rational thought, it's now being accepted as less harmful than alcohol.

Indeed, over time, the stigma associated with weed has faded, and with its possible medicinal benefits and psychotropic applications constantly being touted, we are seeing massive support for legalization. States like Colorado and Oregon have already turned their citizens' desire to light up into a full-blown cottage industry, collecting taxes on the sale and along with other administrative and bureaucratic fees, are filling their drained government coffers with millions in recreational-use revenue.

But there is another reason the tide is turning against criminalization. Statistically, simple marijuana possession is the most indicted crime in the US. Put another way, more people are arrested for having a joint or a bud in a baggy, than were arrested for any other major crime in the country. More than murder. More than burglary. More than all other offenses...combined. Yes, you read that right. Combined.

In 2016, 587,700 people were busted for marijuana. Now, this is not some made up statistic. It's part of the FBI's annual report of crime in the US. When you consider that in said calendar year, pot was already legal in some parts of the country, it's a staggering figure. There were more arrests in 2016 than in 2015, and even more unsettling is how disproportionally affected people of color are/were. Indeed, African Americans are six times more likely to go to jail for simple possession than their Caucasian counterparts. They are also anywhere from 3.73 to 10 times more likely to be brought up on charges initially.

The impact of what many experts consider to be an injustice level of mass incarceration is obvious - one race targeted more than others; more people with criminal records; more difficulty finding employment, housing, and other pubilc amenities; the loss of many civil and legal rights; more stress and work for police; long lines in courtrooms, and overstuffed prisons loaded with people who more than likely don't belong there. Remember, this is happening during a time when cannabis is seeing a surge of support, even with a current Attorney General who seems determined to turn the clock back on all the progress we've seen so far.

Hopefully, things will change in 2018. Until then, you should be aware of the penalties for simple possession in your state and remember - until the law changes, there's a real threat that a single slip in judgment can cost you everything.

Attorney, Brian Lee Nash has nearly a decade of experience working with a wide range of clients. He brings a vast amount of knowledge, drive, and determination to every case he works with.

If you have been arrested for possession or some other manner of drug-related crime or offense, please contact Nash Law, PLLC today at 615-628-7555.

This article was written by the author on behalf of Nash Law, PLLC.