How many people are in jail for weed?
In this article, you’ll learn:
Let’s dig in.
Let’s talk more about how many people are in jail for weed.
This data got pulled from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
They divided drug convictions into two categories:
Trafficking-related charges made up 70% of marijuana convictions.
Possession of marijuana made up 27% of marijuana convictions.
But, how many of these people with marijuana charges are part of the prison population?
Let’s look at more data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
These are how many people are in federal prison for marijuana charges.
36% of simple possession of marijuana charges led to serving time in federal prison.
Recall that 545,600 people were arrested for marijuana in 2019.
Of those, 92% (500,395) were arrested for marijuana possession only.
For that same year, marijuana arrests were 9% greater than violent crime arrests.
The number of people who were arrested for violent crimes in 2019 was 495,871.
But arrests don’t answer how many people are in jail for weed.
These are the percentage of people arrested for marijuana possession.
The percentages are marijuana possession arrests vs arrests for possession of:
The marijuana arrests by region are:
Here’s how marijuana convictions stacked up against other drug arrests across America.
In the Northeast:
In the Midwest:
In the South:
In the West:
Let’s look at marijuana legalization by the state to see how that correlates to that data.
Most of the states in the West are recreational marijuana states.
Where they have legalized the use of marijuana recreationally.
In that region, decriminalization shows in the number of marijuana arrests.
Because of decriminalization, marijuana arrests only make up 14.9% of drug convictions.
And Illinois gave pardons to all marijuana-related charges when they legalized it.
These pardons expunged criminal records for weed-related drug convictions.
But in the other regions, cannabis-related charges make up 40%-50% of drug convictions.
We can see the states where medical marijuana is legal.
But recreational marijuana is not legal.
Some states have increased their decriminalization of marijuana offenses.
They have made simple possession of marijuana a civil crime.
These drug convictions are the equivalent of a traffic ticket in:
Other states have completely reigned back law enforcement for the use of marijuana.
Meaning the elimination of incarceration for the first offense of simple possession of marijuana.
This has happened in:
Possession of marijuana is legal for those with medical marijuana privileges.
As long as they don’t have more than the allowed amount of cannabis.
But, those with medical marijuana cannot:
Per the Federal Government, this is still illegal.
At the federal level, simple possession of marijuana gets treated as a civil offense.
These “simple possession” charges are for amounts under an ounce.
Prosecutors have the ability to charge offenders under the “personal use” statute.
“Personal use” is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine for a first offense.
But there are reasons a first-time weed conviction might end up serving time.
Usually, this is if the marijuana offenses were committed:
Let’s look at marijuana convictions by race.
This data gets pulled by the United States Sentencing Commission.
The marijuana convictions by race are:
This is a great example of how many people are in jail for weed.
Looking at data from the Department of Justice, we can see how many people are in jail for weed.
And we get the exact prison population for those in our criminal justice system.
On average, the prison population for marijuana-related charges is 2,164,885.
Democrats are attempting to expand the number of prisons for the war on drugs.
Biden and the senate met opposition from non-profit organizations like:
The executive directors of these groups met the senate in Washington, DC.
They presented gaps in data that the Bureau of Justice Statistics had.