As more states legalize marijuana, it stands to reason that marijuana possession arrests should decrease.
However, this assumption flies in the face of a Human Rights Watch report that found increasing numbers of people are being arrested for possession of pot.
The report looked at violent crimes compared to non-violent ones like marijuana possession.
It found the overall crime rate of the United States has fallen over the last 20 years, and there was a corresponding drop in violent crime arrests from 1995 to 2015. However, violent crime started to spike again in 2015.
Drug possession arrests failed to mirror the violent crime decline. Indeed these offenses rose 13 percent. Police made 574,641 arrests in 2015 for small quantities of pot – the amounts associated with personal use.
Over the same period, 505,681 people were arrested for violent crimes like murder, serious assault, and rape.
The report questioned the war against drugs that target users. It pointed out the authorities have pursued “tough on crime” narcotics policies for decades.
There’s now a growing recognition that targeting recreational drug users has not worked and there should be a reclassification of marijuana use.
On Nov. 8, a further four states voted to legalize the use, sale, and consumption of marijuana reported Business Insider. They were California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts. Marijuana is now legal along the entire west coast of the United States as well as in Colorado.
Texas has not legalized the use of marijuana, not even for medical use.
The Human Rights Watch report pointed out an arrest is made for drug possession for personal use every 25 seconds in the United States, leading to at least 137,000 people being jailed after these drug arrests every single day.
Drug crimes are prosecuted as aggressively in Texas as ever. The state has a very different attitude to pot than on the west coast.
As a former assistant district attorney in Tarrant County, Gary Medlin is familiar with drug charges and the penalties you can face. Call the Medlin Law Firm if you are arrested on a drug offense at (682) 204-4066.