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Report indicates startling drug charge statistics

With the New Jersey senate race bringing about increased dialogue about the ongoing drug war, the FBI released a report detailing its arrest statistics from the last year. Among the report’s findings is the fact that in 2012, more people were arrested for marijuana-related crimes than violent crimes in the United States. In fact, a new drug charge-related arrest takes place about once per minute in the U.S. for people allegedly using, cultivating, or selling marijuana.

Digging deeper into the report leads to darker news for marijuana users. Seven out of every eight arrests for drug abuse were for drug possession. While other drugs were certainly prevalent among those charges of state drug crimes and federal drug crimes, marijuana accounted for nearly half of the total. 

Popular opinion on drugs seems to be changing, as more states have taken steps to de-criminalize and even legalize certain drugs. That does not seem to be slowing down federal and state governments, though, as law enforcement officials are arresting users and distributors in numbers that represent an all-time high.

Those charged with drug crimes do have some options, depending upon the severity of the charges. Many in New Jersey have an opportunity to attend special rehabilitation programs in hopes of having their records expunged. The penalties for drug possession and cultivation can be stiff, though, for people who are not fast-tracked into one of these programs. Defense attorneys provide clients with a voice in court, and with a crackdown taking place in New Jersey and elsewhere, it appears that more people will need that type of legal assistance. 

Source: MintPress News, “FBI Reports Marijuana Arrests Are At Near-Record Levels,” Katie Rucke, Sept. 18, 2013

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