The number of arrests in the United States for simple marijuana possession landed at a nearly two-decade low last year, according to new statistics released by the FBI.
There were 574,641 arrests for marijuana possession in 2015 – the lowest number since 1996. That’s a seven percent year-over-year drop and a roughly 25 percent drop from the peak of close to 800,000 arrests in 2007.
The data also suggests that, in aggregate, police officers are spending less time enforcing marijuana laws compared to other drugs. For example, marijuana sales and possession accounted for 52 percent of all drug arrests in 2010. By 2015, that number had fallen to 43 percent.
That said, the marijuana possession arrest rate still works out to be more than one arrest every minute.
A 2013 ACLU report estimated that the total cost of marijuana possession enforcement to U.S. taxpayers was $3.6 billion. The report also found that white consumers and black consumers use marijuana at similar rates, but black consumers were four times more likely to be arrested for it.