FILE - Marijuana joint

Marijuana arrests saw a sharp increase in Virginia in 2018, according to a report produced by the Virginia State Police, while total violent crime arrests went down from the previous year.

In Virginia, 28,886 people were arrested on marijuana offenses, which is more than a 3 percent increase from 2017 numbers. The arrest increases follow a trend in the state, as the arrest rate has consistently increased most years. The 2018 number is more than three times higher than the 1999 marijuana arrest numbers. It is the highest arrest rate in at least 20 years.

More than 80 percent of marijuana arrests in 2018 were of people below the age of 35 and more than 50 percent were below the age of 25. Slightly more than 6 percent were minors.

Marijuana was the most common drug that led to an arrest, making up nearly 60 percent of total drug offenses. Several states have either legalized or decriminalized the use of marijuana and there has been a push from leaders on both sides of the aisle to reform drug sentencing laws in the commonwealth.

Violent crime in Virginia saw a minor decrease. In 2018, there were 18,269 violent crime arrests compared to 18,645 in 2017.

Virginia also saw a decrease in property crime.

The Center Square reached out to the Virginia State Police for comment, but the agency does not provide perspective on crime trends.

Staff Writer

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Ohio for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.