Since marijuana became lawful in California for medicinal purposes, small-scale possession has been largely decriminalized in most local communities. This is especially true now that marijuana has legalized recreational use of the drug as of this year with Prop. 64. However, cannabis possession remains unlawful as far as federal law is concerned and California’s new law doesn’t legalize every cannabis crime. As Orange County marijuana criminal defense attorneys know, reported arrests are still falling fast. The Orange County Register indicated that from 2016 to 2017, those in California facing jail or prison, serious fines and permanent criminal records dropped by nearly 8,000, according to information from the California Attorney General’s Office. However, a recent report printed by the Philadelphia Inquirer (republished by PoliceOne.com), marijuana arrests may be inflated in Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics.
Let’s note firstly that Pennsylvania legalized medicinal marijuana in April 2016, and the drug is only available for those suffering from certain medical conditions. Unlike California, and numerous other states, it is not available for recreational sale, possession or use. Even with medicinal use being legal, the Philadelphia area has reported that marijuana arrests in the area have markedly increased in recent years. And yet, the spike being reported by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. The analysis reveals marijuana arrests as reflected in federal data may be inflated by as much as 70 percent.
Why the disparity? As our Orange County marijuana criminal defense attorneys understand it, it’s a result of local police agencies reporting every single situation in which people are caught with pot in – even if they aren’t ultimately arrested for that offense. Continue reading