Sentencing Commission: Nearly One In Ten Defendants Sentenced To Federal Prison In 2015 Violated Marijuana Laws

Washington, DC: Eight percent of defendants sentenced to federal prison in 2015 were convicted of violating marijuana laws, according to a June 2016 federal report issued by the United States Sentencing Commission.

According to the report, the US government prosecuted 71,184 cases in 2015 in which the offender was sentenced to federal prison. Nearly one-third (31.8 percent) of these cases were for drug violations – the most common type of case prosecuted by the Feds.

Of these federal drug prosecutions, some 25 percent involved defendants sentenced to prison for violating marijuana laws. Overall, these 5,612 federal offenders comprised 7.8 percent of all new defendants sentenced to federal prison last year.

According to the report, marijuana defendants in 2015 received an average prison sentence of 32 months – the lowest average time of imprisonment for drug offenders.

A separate US government analysis reported in 2015 that marijuana offenders comprise just over 12 percent of all federal drug inmates.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: