According to a study published, by the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, crimes for rape, murder, and theft have all decreased by two-thirds since 1990 in California, the misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests have been skyrocketing. Annual busts for simple possession, with no sales, transporting, or other penalty enhancements added, have doubled since 1990 to 54,800 arrests in 2010, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation statistics.
Over half of these bust were involving teenagers. These arrests were all made before Jan. 1, 2011, when a law that makes possession of less than an ounce an infraction punishable by a fine, with no court appearance required. Marijuana possession comprised 8 percent of all drug busts in 1990, and 30 percent today. It’s safe to assume marijuana use has increased since 1990, as the drug itself has become much more prevalent since the state passed the nation’s first medical marijuana laws in 1996. And without context or further details on each arrest, it’s impossible to know if those busted were hauled in with a minuscule 2 grams or a salable 2 pounds. San Francisco and Contra Costa counties are among the places where a Californian is least likely to be imprisoned for a marijuana offense, according to a rundown of where the 1,224 Californians incarcerated for marijuana in 2010-2011 were sentenced. While the fight continues on legalization of marijuana, it is still an illegal drug to consumers non-medical related, for now.