U.S. eases off on prosecuting cannabis cases as regulations and attitudes evolve

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U.S. federal cases involving marijuana fell by over 25 percent last year, according to an annual report issued by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts this week.

The decline appears to be evidence that the U.S. is easing off on pursing crimes related to marijuana as more states regulate the drug themselves. This follows the decline of 19 percent that Chief Justice Roberts revealed in last year’s report, reports Marijuana Moment.

The report noted that while there was a small increase in the prosecution of drug crimes overall, “defendants accused of crimes associated with marijuana decreased 28 percent,” he wrote.

While comparable numbers for Canada are hard to come by, all available evidence points to business as usual across the country. The Calgary Police Service (CPS) said it hasn’t seen a visible increase in crime or disorder since legalization over a year ago.

The opioid crisis has, no doubt, also played a factor in the U.S., forcing police departments across the country to divert valuable time and resources to a far graver threat to public safety. / Photo: Taynk/Getty Images

“I don’t think we can dispute the numbers… it’s status quo,” Staff Sgt. Kyle Grant of CPS’s Strategic Enforcement Unit told the Winnipeg Free Press. “A lot of people out there are being responsible with it,” Grant said.

The same would seem to be true in the U.S. where more and more people and businesses have been able to turn to legal channels for their cannabis needs.

The opioid crisis has, no doubt, also played a factor in the U.S., forcing police departments across the country to divert valuable time and resources to a far graver threat to public safety.

The declining numbers also reflect a change in attitudes toward the drug.

“The continued decrease in federal criminal charges is correlated both to the increasing number of states that have legalized marijuana possession, manufacturing and distribution, and the evolutionary nature of federal agents recognizing the increasing political liability associated with enforcing prohibition,” said Justin Strekal, political director of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).

“Given this trajectory, it is time that Congress act to deschedule cannabis and end the failed war on marijuana,” the group noted. “Now is the time to direct law enforcement to prosecute individuals who actually harm our society, not otherwise law-abiding pot smokers.”

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