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Marijuana offenses account for 40% of all drug arrests

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2020 | Drug charges

Despite the actions of more states to legalize or decriminalize marijuana possession, police officers still arrest more people over pot than any other drug.

The FBI reports officers made 663,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2018 across the nation, amounting to four out of every 10 arrests involving drugs, and 92% involved marijuana possession.

FBI statistics for 2018 drug arrests

Police officers made 1.65 million drug arrests in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2018, for which the freshest data is available. The FBI divided arrests into four categories:

  • Marijuana: 40%
  • Other nonnarcotic drugs: 29%
  • Heroin, cocaine or derivatives: 25%
  • Synthetic or manufactured drugs: 6%

Marijuana arrest patterns differ by region

While the FBI does not keep state-by-state data, the agency tracks marijuana arrests on a regional basis. The data shows the percentage of total drug arrests involving marijuana per region:

  • Northeast: 53%
  • Midwest: 50%
  • South: 49%
  • West: 15%

Efforts to decriminalize marijuana increase in Georgia

Possession of marijuana remains a crime in the Peach State. If you are convicted of having less than an ounce, you face a misdemeanor possession charge with a fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail. However, several counties and cities have decriminalized possession of less than an ounce, including:

  • Atlanta
  • Chamblee
  • Clarkston
  • Fairburn
  • Forest Park
  • Fulton County
  • Kingsland
  • Macon-Bibb County
  • Savannah
  • South Fulton
  • Statesboro

Marijuana usage rates climb

A national study found that college students’ use of marijuana in 2018 reached its highest level in more than three decades. Twenty-five percent of those surveyed reported using pot in the last 30 days, and 43% said they used marijuana in the past year.

In Georgia, marijuana is still considered a controlled substance, and serious consequences can result if you are arrested. An experienced criminal defense attorney will protect your rights and work to minimize penalties or have charges against you dropped.