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Pot accounts for 40% of drug arrests despite support for legality

| Feb 7, 2020 | Drug Charges

Marijuana represents the largest category of drug arrests according to data from the FBI. Out of roughly 663,000 drug arrests nationwide in 2018, 40% of them involved people accused of possessing, manufacturing or selling marijuana. Public attitudes toward the substance in Minnesota have evolved over the years as larger segments of the national population approve of it for medical or recreational use.

The Pew Research Center measured a 15% increase in public support for marijuana legalization between 2014 and 2019. As of 2019, two-thirds of surveyed adults approved of various forms of legalization whereas only 52% of adults expressed approval five years before.

Recent years have seen 11 states and the District of Columbia legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational adult use. As a result, about 29% of the U.S. adult population lives in an area where recreational marijuana is legal under certain circumstances. Legality, however, does not always prevent people from getting arrested for marijuana offenses. Possessing amounts over the legal limit could entice police to make an arrest. Federal authorities, like agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, operate under federal law that still sees the substance as illegal, and they can arrest individuals for marijuana offenses.

A person charged with drug offenses could face long-term consequences if convicted. The representation of an attorney might help a person understand charges and potential penalties before entering a plea. When a person is confronted by criminal prosecution, legal representation may provide unbiased answers about rights so that someone can make an informed decision. An attorney might find an opportunity to negotiate a plea deal that drops some charges and only imposes light penalties. In some cases, an attorney may be able to get charges dismissed if an unlawful search and seizure took place.

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