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In recent weeks, months and even years, the stigma of marijuana crimes has changed. It used to be that people who were caught using, possessing or selling marijuana were seen as terrible criminals who were corrupting society; but nowadays, the crime -- though still serious -- does not raise such anger. In fact, many people now think that marijuana should be legalized; or, at the very least, that the crime be greatly reduced so that people who are accused or found guilty of having or distributing the substance are not punished so severely.

That's why states like Colorado and Washington have passed marijuana legalization laws; and it's why New York has made small amounts of marijuana possession punishable merely with a citation. The implications on the criminal defense process are major.

And yet, a recent report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation finds that marijuana arrests are as high as ever. It's a somewhat surprising statistic, given the recent pull back by the federal government concerning marijuana crimes. The report says that one person is arrested on marijuana crimes every 48 seconds. In addition, roughly 750,000 people were arrested for marijuana crimes last year, which is slightly less than 2011.

Remember, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently made announcements that said the federal government will be scaling back its prosecution of small-time marijuana "criminals" so that they can focus on major drug cartels. This means that the average person, who is respectful of the laws but may try marijuana a few times, is less likely to be embroiled in a drug crime case.

Source: MintPress News, "FBI Reports Marijuana Arrests Are At Near-Record Levels," Katie Rucke, Sept. 18, 2013

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