Federal pot arrests have plummeted while states legalize cannabis, crime stats show

Marijuana apprehensions had the steepest drop of all drug-related arrests between 2010 and 2020.

click to enlarge DEA agents work on a case. - LAUREN JORGENSEN
Lauren Jorgensen
DEA agents work on a case.
Federal cannabis arrests have dropped over a 10-year stretch as more states legalize weed, Marijuana Moment reports, citing federal crime statistics.

The Drug Enforcement Administration made 2,576 marijuana arrests in fiscal year 2020, a dramatic drop from 2010, when the agency racked up 8,215 pot busts, according to Justice Department data analyzed by the news site.

That's an average drop of 11% per year.

While the Justice Department notes that the pandemic led to a recent decline in arrests, much of the drop in cannabis busts stems from discretionary decisions by federal authorities as more states legalize the plant for recreational and medical use.

Roughly 16% of all federal busts in 2020 were drug-related, according to the Justice Department. Most of those were for hard drugs such as meth and heroin, Marijuana Moment reports, while marijuana apprehensions had the steepest drop of all drug-related arrests.

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