Non-violent Cannabis Cultivators still being Arrested
Despite marijuana being legal in Oregon and Washington State, law enforcement continues to make arrests of cultivators that do not have a state license to cultivate marijuana. At least 89 illegal cannabis farms were forcibly shut down by law enforcement in the last year. Northwest Public Radio reported that the Washington State Patrol also seized more than $2 million worth of marijuana plants in the raids, confiscating at least 24,000 plants.
Police resources continue to be wasted on marijuana raids. At least 100 people were arrested in marijuana busts in Washington state for the past year. Although busts in Oregon have dropped significantly since marijuana was legalized in 2014, police have still seized more than 500 plants being cultivated for several patients in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.
The FBI has reported that more people were arrested in 2016 for weed possession than for ALL crimes deemed violent by the FBI put together, including murder and rape. With rapes and murders still occurring, many wonder if perhaps society would be better served if police resources were spent on these crimes. Out of every 20-people arrested, one is for marijuana possession. Possession of marijuana is one of the most frequent crimes that people are arrested for in the country, and at least 5 percent of all arrests in 2016 were for weed possession.
More people in the medical field are supporting decriminalizing marijuana so that they can better treat patients, and polls show that 60 percent of the country is for legalization on the federal level. The executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance Maria McFarland Sánchez Moreno agrees, providing a statement saying that “Criminalizing drug use has devastated families across the US, particularly in communities of color, and for no good reason.” For now, law enforcement is not bothering legal businesses in either state, however, illegal grows will continue to be targeted.