High Marijuana Arrests: Signs of Racism & Over-Policing

MJ-leaf-gr-blby Pamela Powers Hannley

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has released a new report on arrests and incarceration for marijuana possession. The findings are startling– in light of new research showing multiple medical uses for marijuana, spread of states with medical marijuana, legalization of marijuana in two states, and widespread usage of marijuana by millions of Americans.

Here are a few of the high points:

  • African Americans are four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as whites, despite similar usage.
  • In 2010, there was one marijuana arrest every 41 seconds; this cost taxpayers $3.6 billion dollars in that year alone. [Dear Congress, The War on Drugs is a waste of money. Give this money to the food stamp program.]
  • Between 2001-2010, there were 8.2 million arrests for marijuana– 88% were for possession.
  • 50% of all drug arrests in the US are for marijuana. [Here's a hint for cities that cry about the need for more police: maybe some of them should work on murders, rapes, and robberies instead of victimless crimes like marijuana possession.]

From the Huffington Post:

“The war on marijuana has disproportionately been a war on people of color,” Edwards said in the [ACLU] release. “State and local governments have aggressively enforced marijuana laws selectively against Black people and communities, needlessly ensnaring hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system at tremendous human and financial cost.”…

The ACLU is calling “for states to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.”

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