DC Marijuana Arrests Nearly Tripled in 2016, Despite Legalization

Arrests for both the public use and distribution of marijuana in Washington, D.C. nearly tripled in 2016 and are on track to remain high in 2017.

The Washington Post reported that Metropolitan Police records show more than 400 people were arrested in 2016 for public consumption, up from 142 arrests in 2015, when marijuana use was legalized. Records show that 78 people had been arrested for public use as of April 5.

Arrests for distribution rose from 80 in 2015 to 220 in 2016. Records show that 79 people had been arrested for distribution as of April 5.

Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck says that legalization has led to more arrests for public consumption, as smoking marijuana outside remains illegal. Sternbeck says police are focusing drug enforcement efforts on illegal sales.

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