Marijuana arrests are at their lowest numbers since 1996

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Colorado isn’t the only state easing off of marijuana crimes.

Just about 574,615 people were arrested for simple marijuana possession in 2015, according to FBI data parsed by Wonkblog.

That’s the lowest number we’ve since since 1996, down about 25 percent from its high in 2007. The change is even more dramatic when you account for population growth.

The legalization of marijuana in Colorado played only a small part of that. Marijuana arrests decreased by about 45 percent after legalization, but that only accounts for about 5,000 arrests. (Also worth noting: Arrests of black and Latino children increased sharply.)

Overall, marijuana made up a much smaller percentage of drug crime in the West than any other region, representing about 17 percent of drug charges compared to the national average of about 39 percent, the data shows.

Arrests for cocaine and heroin have meanwhile increased, Wonkblog reports.

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