According to data from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), federal law enforcement agents made fewer cannabis-related arrests in 2019 than 2018.
The total amount of cannabis-related arrests reported by the DEA decreased to 4,718 in 2019, a 16% drop from 2018, NORML reported. This was the second-lowest amount of arrests in the past decade.
“Following the enactment of statewide adult-use cannabis legalization laws, both DEA-related marijuana arrests and seizures have fallen dramatically,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “That said, these totals affirm that targeting unregulated marijuana-related growing operations still remains a DEA priority, even at a time when most Americans have made it clear that they want cannabis policies to head in a very different direction.”
Although marijuana-related arrests were down in 2019, plant seizures increased. The DEA confiscated approximately four million cannabis plants in the US in 2019, an increase from 2.8 million in 2018.
In 2019, California deployed national guard troops to hunt down illegal marijuana grow operations, which resulted in a drastic increase in plant seizures that year.