Arrests for cannabis possession in Lincolnshire have decreased since 2010.
Inspector Pat Coates, neighbourhood inspector at Lincolnshire Police, said the way they deal with the problem has changed; they now do a street warning, which means only a caution will be issued if people are found with a single possession amount.
Inspector Coates said people will only be prosecuted if they are found with the drug on numerous occasions, which has “vastly reduced the number of arrests” made since 2010.
He said: “We’re more interested in people that supply the substances. We don’t target people who are using it for possession only.
“If we find people consuming it in the street we will remove it from them.”
Nationally, under the Freedom of Information Act, BBC News discovered that arrests for possession of the drug had almost halved since 2010.
The figures show arrests have fallen 46% since 2010. There were 35,367 in 2010 compared to 19,115 in 2015.
The full data came from 32 police forces and some officers said they thought it wasn’t a crime worth pursuing. But Inspector Coates said the drug is still “prevalent” and has got stronger in recent years, causing “dangerous” problems around mental health.
“We would encourage people ideally to get treatment because prosecution isn’t always the answer,” he said.
He also said Lincoln has had a particular issue with the consumption of synthetic cannabinoids, a cheaper drug designed to mimic the effect of natural cannabis, and legal highs, which could be part of the reason for the decrease in arrests related to cannabis.
“We’ve seen cannabis being replaced with synthetic cannabinoids and that’s because they have been cheaper and more readily available in Lincoln and they are known to be stronger,” he said.