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Graphic: Rate of US Marijuana Arrests Remains High as Overall Crime Drops


Though overall arrests are in decline, a whopping 41% of drug-related arrests in the country are for marijuana possession.

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As overall arrests in the US decline sharply, the rate of drug-related arrests remains high. And while low-level marijuana arrests are down in the US—from 658,000 in 2012 to 609,000 in 2013, according to new data released by the FBI—they still make up about 5.4% of overall arrests, and account for an astonishing 41% of all drug-related arrests. As you can see from the interactive chart below, the percentage of overall drug arrests is actually on the rise. And the percentage of marijuana arrests remains steady.

The map below shows how marijuana arrest rates vary state-to-state. New York, which announced this week it would be putting an end to low-level marijuana arrests, currently has one of the highest arrest rates in the country, with 12.7%—or one in every eight arrests—for marijuana possession. But in nearby Massachusetts, the rate is much lower; fewer than one percent of total arrests are for low-level pot possession.

But policies are changing, which should make these charts look very different before long. In addition to NY’s planned shift, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, DC voted last week to legalize marijuana.