Marijuana Arrests Climb Near Record Highs Nationwide

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A curious trend that emerged in Seattle last month is apparently part of a nationwide pattern.

Law-enforcement officers are making arrests for marijuana-related crimes at near-record rates.

According to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reporting totals, police made 853,838 arrests for marijuana-related offenses in 2010--that's about one every 45 seconds. More than 88 percent of those arrests were for simple possession.

Now in America if someone is arrested for a drug offense (as 1,638,846 people were last year), there's a better chance that it's for marijuana than for any other drug.

NORML broke down the numbers in a handy chart.

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In Seattle, where a city ordinance makes marijuana-law enforcement the lowest priority for police officers, the Seattle Police Department has still written more marijuana citations than in the previous two years combined. That's despite a city attorney who prosecutes almost none of the citations.

Nationwide, too, a lull in pot arrests should have occurred with President Obama and his appointed Attorney General Eric Holder promising to lay off federal meddling in states' cannabis laws.

One need only ask the medical-marijuana dispensary owners in eastern Washington how that's going.

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