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DOJ Report Shows 61% Drop in Individuals Incarcerated for Cannabis-Related Offenses

MRBDOJ Report Shows 61% Drop in Individuals Incarcerated for Cannabis-Related Offenses

A report from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has revealed a 61% drop in the number of individuals incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses over a five-year period. This report, issued by the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, indicates a trend in the reduction of people imprisoned for drug offenses, with cannabis offenses experiencing the most significant decline. It is noted, however, that a substantial portion of federal incarcerations still stem from drug-related convictions, particularly due to the War on Drugs.

The report specifically covers the period from 2013 to 2018, providing data on individuals in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). By the end of 2018, approximately 47% of those incarcerated were sentenced for drug offenses. The decline in federal cannabis prisoners is notable, along with drops in those imprisoned for other drugs like crack cocaine and powder cocaine.

While advocates and members of the regulated cannabis industry applauded the report’s findings, they also emphasized that there is more work to be done. Many pointed out that a significant portion of cannabis-related incarcerations occur at the state level, and they called for retroactive relief for those currently imprisoned for cannabis offenses. The report’s findings were seen as evidence of progress toward ending cannabis prohibition, demonstrating the impact that state-level legalization can have on federal policies.

The disparity in sentencing between non-violent cannabis offenses and the growing legal cannabis industry has been a point of concern, particularly in terms of racial and social justice. Many advocates emphasize the importance of not only decriminalizing cannabis but also addressing the harm caused by previous policies and providing pathways for those previously incarcerated to benefit from the changing landscape of cannabis laws.

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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