Cops still make a marijuana arrest every 49 seconds

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Support for marijuana legalization might be at a national all-time high, but not a single minute passes in U.S. without a cop pinching someone for weed.

Crime data released by the FBI shows that police made 643,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2015, the lowest it's been in 20 years. That figure still translates to a pot bust every 49 seconds. And nearly nine out of ten of these arrests were for possession as opposed to sale or cultivation, the data shows.

SEE ALSO: Colorado To Use Millions In Marijuana Revenue To Fight School Bullying

These new numbers come just weeks before nine states will vote on expanding legal access to marijuana, including recreational pot use in California, Massachusetts, Arizona, Nevada, and Maine. Four states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska — as well as the District of Columbia have already legalized the drug for recreational use. Medical marijuana is now legal in 25 states as well as D.C.

Despite a growing legal and cultural tolerance, low-level marijuana offenses continued to climb throughout the early 2000s. Weed arrests reached a peak of 872,720 — or an arrest every 36 seconds — in 2007, according to compiled FBI crime statistics. And as recently as 2013, taxpayers spent more than $3.5 billion annually to enforce laws against marijuana possession, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

States that allow recreational marijuana for adults have seen marijuana arrests plummet, data shows. In Colorado, for example, there were 95 percent fewer pot busts in 2015 than there were before the state legalized the drug in 2012. Should voters in places like California, the nation's most populous state, approve recreational pot use in November, marijuana arrests in the U.S. will almost certainly continue to decline.

But for some advocates it's not happening fast enough.

"While the numbers are thankfully dropping over time, it's alarming and simply unacceptable that someone is harassed by the police just for marijuana every 49 seconds in this country," said Tom Angell of the group Marijuana Majority in an interview with the Huffington Post.

51 PHOTOS
Marijuana laws by state
See Gallery
Marijuana laws by state

Alabama

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Dennis Macdonald via Getty Images)

Alaska

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use 

(Photo: Zoonar/N.Okhitin via Getty Images)

Arizona

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: TaylorB90/Flickr)

Arkansas

No legalization of any kind 

(photo: yorkfoto)

California

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images)

Colorado

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use  

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Connecticut

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Delaware

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Florida

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Georgia

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Hawaii

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Idaho

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Illinois

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm)

Indiana

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Iowa

No legalization of any kind

(photo: yorkfoto)

Kansas

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Kentucky

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images)

Louisiana

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Maine

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

Maryland

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Massachusetts

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

Michigan

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

Minnesota

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: anthonylibrarian/Flickr)

Mississippi

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc via Getty Images)

Missouri

No legalization of any kind 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Montana

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: J.Stephen Conn/Flickr)

Nebraska

No legalization of any kind 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Nevada

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

New Hampshire

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

New Jersey

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

New Mexico

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

New York

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

North Carolina

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Getty Images)

North Dakota

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Ohio

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Oklahoma

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Oregon

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use  

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Pennsylvania

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Henryk Sadura)

Rhode Island 

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Shutterstock)

South Carolina

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Shutterstock)

South Dakota

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL/Flickr)

Tennessee

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Texas

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Utah

No legalization of any kind 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Vermont

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

Virginia

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Washington

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

West Virginia 

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: dk_photos via Getty Images )

Wisconsin

No legalization of any kind 

(photo: Kubrak78)

Wyoming

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Space Images via Getty Images)

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The post Cops Still Make A Marijuana Arrest Every 49 Seconds appeared first on Vocativ.


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