Arrests for the public use of marijuana in the District nearly tripled in 2016 and are on track to remain high in 2017, public records show.
More than 400 people were arrested in 2016 for public consumption of marijuana, according to D.C. police arrest records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Records show 78 had been arrested as of April 5.
That compares with 142 people arrested in 2015, the year that marijuana use — but not the sale of marijuana — became legal in the city.
Arrests for distribution of marijuana also nearly tripled last year — from 80 in 2015 to 220 in 2016, according to the data. As of April 5, 79 people had been arrested for distribution.
The data include arrests by D.C. police and other law enforcement agencies in the city.
In an email, D.C. police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said the department had “focused its drug enforcement efforts on illegal sales,” leading to an increase in arrests for distribution.
Legalization has led to more arrests for public consumption, Sternbeck said, even though smoking pot outside is still against the law. [Read more at The Washington Post]