National Arrests for Cannabis-Related Offenses 1996-2016


  • Despite the majority of states allowing medical cannabis use, cannabis leads drug-related prosecutions in the U.S by a significant margin.
  • Over 650,000 people were arrested for cannabis-related offenses in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. This was virtually unchanged from 2015, but down 24% from a peak of 873,000 arrests in 2007.
  • The 2016 arrest rate was on par with the lowest number of cannabis arrests since 1997.
  • Cannabis accounted for 42% of all drug related arrests in 2016, with cannabis possession offenses specifically accounting for 37% of all arrests. Heroin, cocaine and their derivatives, by comparison, accounted for 26% of arrests nationally.

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