Federal cases for drug-related crimes have been falling since 2013. Over the past five years, federal criminal cases involving marijuana have witnessed the biggest decline, according to data released by the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) on June 5, 2018. Since fiscal year 2013, cannabis-related criminal cases recorded a decline of 45.8 percent.
As per the USSC data, the number of federal cases for marijuana-related crimes dropped by 25 percent during 2016-2017. In fact, marijuana offenders recorded the lowest average imprisonment or shorter sentences at 29 months. However, meth- and cocaine-related offenses reported an increase of 8.5 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively in the fiscal year 2017.
Potential factors for decline in marijuana-related cases
According to media reports, the substantial decline in marijuana-related cases across the U.S. can be attributed to several factors, with the most important being the “Cole memo” that directed U.S. attorneys not to charge people complying with state marijuana laws. However, in January 2018, the Cole memo was revoked by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Another reason that prompted sharp decline in pot-related cases could be marijuana legalization in several U.S. states. According to Paul Armentano, deputy director at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the decline in marijuana-related cases represented a shifting trend in federal priorities among the nation’s drug enforcement agencies and border agents. Armentano pointed out that the declining trend may also be attributed to legalization of the drug in several states that have subsequently shifted the efforts of international smugglers away from marijuana trafficking.
Nationality and race in drug-related cases
As per the USSC report, though the nationality and race of drug offenders varied depending on the type of substance, most of the drug offenders were U.S. citizens. Though only 51.3 percent of marijuana offenders were U.S. citizens, crack cocaine accounted for the maximum with 97.8 percent being U.S. nationals. When it came to race/ethnicity of drug offenders, almost 50 percent were Hispanics, with Whites responsible for 22.4 percent of drug-related offenses. In marijuana-related cases, Hispanics took the biggest share with 74.4 percent involvement.
Marijuana addiction treatment
A highly addictive drug, marijuana use can have significant detrimental effects. Research shows that pot use over a period can cause short-term memory loss and may damage the respiratory tract. However, the drug is widely used across the U.S. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 24 million Americans aged 12 or older in 2016 were current marijuana users. The NSDUH data also shows that approximately 4 million people in the same age group had a marijuana use disorder in the past year.
Marijuana addiction is a serious problem that requires professional support. A comprehensive marijuana addiction treatment often begins with a professionally managed detox, usually followed by behavioral therapies and aftercare programs. While detox helps the body get rid of the drug, therapy gives patients the ability to avoid triggers and relapse. Irrespective of the treatment options provided, a rehab center needs to focus on both the physical and emotional effects of marijuana withdrawal.
A leading addiction treatment provider in California, Sovereign Health’s marijuana addiction rehab center offers its patients a holistic treatment, combining traditional clinical therapies with scientific modalities. For more information on addiction treatment programs at our California facilities or to locate our world-class marijuana addiction rehab centers, call our 24/7 helpline or chat live online with a member of our counseling team.