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Marijuana arrests on the rise despite increased legalization

In Texas, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance and generally not recognized as having value for medical reasons. However, a growing number of states allow this substance to be used for recreational and/or medicinal purposes. Despite a growing national trend toward allowing cannabis to be legally purchased, grown and used under certain circumstances, the number of marijuana-related arrests is on the rise. According to a report by the FBI, there is now one marijuana arrest nearly every 50 seconds in the United States.

The data referenced in the report suggests that the most common drug charge related to marijuana is for possession, not growing or selling it. In 2017, roughly 40 percent of the nearly 1.7 million drug arrests in the U.S. were for marijuana. Overall, drug arrests were up from the previous year according to the FBI report. It's estimated that drug busts occur almost every 20 seconds nationwide, and approximately 20 percent of the population now lives in states where marijuana is legalized. Many states have some type of legal protection in place for individuals who use medical cannabis or the extract produced from it.

A spokesperson for a group that supports marijuana policy reform believes it's unproductive for authorities to focus on this type of enforcement when the opioid epidemic is linked to hundreds of deaths every day. A representative from the non-profit group National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws contends that the increase in arrests contradicts increased public support for, and acceptance of, cannabis use.

When a drug arrest occurs, regardless of what substances are involved, an attorney may be able to take steps to reduce charges or have them dismissed altogether. A criminal lawyer may also help clients determine what type of defense applies to a particular case based on whether a guilty or not guilty plea is entered. In certain situations, collected evidence, stated facts, law enforcement procedures or testimonies might be challenged.

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