Marijuana opponents always act like no one gets busted for marijuana these days. It is true that the number of people sitting in federal prison for marijuana only offenses is less than it has been in the past, but people are still being arrested and sentenced to federal prison for marijuana possession. According to new data out from the feds, approximately 122 people were sentenced in federal court for simple marijuana possession in 2016. Per The Washington Post:
The number of people sentenced for federal marijuana-related crimes dropped for the fifth year in a row, according to data released this week by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
A total of 3,534 offenders received sentences for federal marijuana crimes in 2016. The overwhelming majority of these cases — 3,398 of them — involved trafficking marijuana. Another 122 individuals received federal sentences for simple possession of marijuana, although some of these offenders may have pleaded down from a more serious offense.
As noted in the article, the circumstances surrounding the federal sentencing as far as plea bargains is unknown. But still, 122 people is 122 people too many going to federal prison for possessing a plant that has been proven to be significantly safer than alcohol. Overall marijuana arrests were down by almost half from when Obama took office compared to when he left office. Obama dropped the ball on a lot of things in regards to cannabis policy, but seeing the overall arrest number go down is encouraging, albeit not enough. We can only hold our breath and hope for the best during the next four years. Hopefully arrests don’t spike, but we will have to wait and see.