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Marijuana Trafficking Falls Following Statewide Legalization According To Federal Government


oregon marijuanaBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Federal marijuana trafficking prosecutions have declined significantly since the passage of statewide laws regulating the plant’s production and retail sale to adults, according to data provided by the United States Sentencing Commission.

According to the new report, the number of marijuana trafficking offenders prosecuted at the federal level fell dramatically after 2012 — declining from over 6,000 annually to fewer than 4,000 in 2015.

“The number of marijuana traffickers rose slightly over time until a sharp decline in fiscal year 2013 and the number continues to decrease,” the report concludes.

The period of decline overlaps with the passage and enactment of adult marijuana sales in various US states, including Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.

Federal data also reports a similar decline in cocaine trafficking since 2012. By contrast, federal prosecutions for heroin and methamphetamine trafficking have slowly risen over the better part of the past ten years.

Those convicted of marijuana trafficking spend an average of 29 months in prison, the report found.

A copy of the USSC report is available for download here.

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Johnny Green


  1. darthhillbilly on

    The rise in trafficking of other substances could be interpreted as the new products cartels are pushing to replace revenue lost by marijuana legalization. Marijuana was bread and butter to cartel operations. Now Mexican farmers are planting poppies instead, because with our “U.S.” legal market, people would rather buy a safer high quality product than brown Mexican “pot”. I read recently that border patrol has been finding people smuggling marijuana into Mexico, due to demand for a high quality regulated product.

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