Every Minute, Someone in the U.S. Gets Arrested for Pot

Here’s a counter-intuitive trend for you: marijuana is increasingly easy to get and at the same time, surprisingly easy to get busted for.

At a time when a majority of Americans support marijuana legalization, law enforcement continues to harass otherwise law abiding citizens at a shocking rate.

Pro-legalization groups have calculated that someone in the U.S. gets arrested for marijuana every 58 seconds.

And yet, a recent Gallup poll shows that 70% of the American public supports legalization, a record high (so to speak). The following chart tells the story of marijuana’s climbing popularity over the decades:

To date, 38 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use; 24 states and DC have done so for recreational use.

Accordingly, you’d think it would be easy for cannabis consumers to be open about their use of this widely popular herb.

Think again. Stigma against marijuana lingers. And that’s why marijuana investors need to be careful. Nothing is preordained in this still volatile sector.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that bias against marijuana remains deeply ingrained. For decades, the establishment waged a relentless propaganda war against marijuana.

Consider this 1905 Washington Post article, in which an anthropology professor describes his experimental smoking of marijuana and the symptoms that he claims to have experienced:

“Everything seems to move around the smoker, this whirl becoming faster and faster, until all sense of his surroundings is lost…

The next step of his intoxication is full of terrors. Troops of ferocious wild animals march before the vision of the smoker. Lions, tigers, panthers, and other wild beasts occupy his vision. The wild animals are then attacked by hosts of devils and monsters of unheard of shapes. The smoker becomes brave and possessed of superhuman strength. It is at this stage of the debauch that murders are committed by the smoker.”

Mmmkay. Fast forward to 2024 and marijuana is increasingly legal, as well as lucrative. Legalization enjoys powerful momentum, but investors should realize that there will be setbacks along the way.

You need to pick pot stocks with demonstrated staying power. That means solid balance sheets, growing revenue and earnings, competent management, and a compelling business model. It’s not enough to simply buy a “weed” stock.

Read This Story: To Chug or Toke? For Consumers, That’s Increasingly The Question

Sure, marijuana legalization continues apace, with a growing number of states loosening prohibitions against cannabis.

But at the same time, the number of persons arrested in the U.S. for violating marijuana laws has risen, according to the most recently available data from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Law enforcement officials across the country made more than a quarter million arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2022, according to data compiled by the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer.

The online FBI database, which was updated in late 2023 for full-year 2022, reveals that police made at least 227,108 arrests for marijuana violations in 2022. Among those, 92% were for possession only. This total represents an increase from 2021, when the FBI reported a total of 219,489 marijuana arrests.

For proper context, it should be noted that over the longer term, marijuana arrests have sharply fallen. Police made an estimated 350,150 arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2020, a 36% decrease from 2019 totals.

Marijuana arrests peaked in the U.S. in 2007, when police made over 870,000 pot busts. It’s clear that the arrest trend is downward, but it’s significant that as cannabis gets “normalized,” so many people still get busted for pot and the latest year-over-year numbers went up.

Social conservatives form a core political constituency among members of law enforcement, so it’s no surprise that the police continue to take a harsh stance against pot users, despite the increasing pace of legalization.

Maybe in college you saw the infamous 1936 anti-pot film Reefer Madness. For many people, such views aren’t campy fun. They’re reality.

Challenging Cheech and Chong

The Cheech and Chong stereotype is being challenged every day, as more people tell their own stories of how cannabis has been beneficial to their health and well-being.

Firsthand testimony before city councils and state legislatures, network news stories and documentaries on CNN, National Geographic and Discovery Channels, print media and the Internet have helped many non-users understand the importance of cannabis to people suffering from chronic pain, cancer, AIDS, epilepsy, MS, arthritis, depression, insomnia, glaucoma, and a host of other common ailments.

After being penalized for failing drug tests, professional football and basketball players are coming out to testify how cannabis is a much better treatment for their pain, injuries, and concussions than prescription drugs and a healthier alternative to alcohol for relaxation after a game. As a result, sports organizations are starting to reassess their policies.

Late night TV hosts still joke about the stereotype that all pot smokers want to do is sit around getting high, eating Doritos, playing video games, and forgetting to vote or study.

While audiences laugh at comedic cliches, a multi-billion-dollar biotechnology industry is emerging to create cannabis-oriented treatments for chronic diseases and ailments. Many of these fledgling marijuana biotechs are publicly traded and they’ve made early investors rich.

At the same time, a diverse recreational industry is arising around marijuana: branded edibles and cigarettes, pot tourism, paraphernalia, cookbooks…you name it. Many of the companies catering to this demand are small-cap stocks with exponential growth potential.

When it comes to the morality of marijuana legalization, my reportage is strictly agnostic. Successful investors take the world not as they wish it to be, but the way it really exists.

Marijuana legalization is a fact of life and it’s here to stay. But if you want to make money on the trend, you need to understand and prepare for the inevitable headwinds.

Now’s the time to tap the crypto bonanza…

I regularly write about the opportunities in cannabis. But today, I want to emphasize the big profits that await you in crypto.

If you think crypto is too dangerous an investment, think again.

Consider this fact: the “blue chip” of crypto, Bitcoin (BTC), gained 156% in 2023. BTC and the broader crypto realm have engaged in a roaring bull market this year.

Every portfolio should have some sort of exposure to crypto. But you need to be informed, to make the right choices. Start receiving our FREE e-letter, Crypto Investing Daily. Click here now!

John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily.

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