The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has just released a groundbreaking report on marijuana arrests in the United States. For the first time ever, the ACLU has made available data on racial disparities in marijuana arrests in every state, and the results — though stunning — are predictable: Across the US, black Americans were nearly four times as likely as whites to get busted for pot in 2010, even though whites get stoned at slightly higher levels. In states with the worst disparity, Blacks were six times as likely as whites to be arrested for pot. In the worst counties, blacks were 30 times more likely to be arrested. Interestingly, the racial disparity persisted across different demographics, with blacks more likely to get handcuffed for pot even in predominantly white neighborhoods.
In every single state, the rate of black marijuana arrestees was disproportionate their percentage in the population.
The ACLU is now calling for the legalization of marijuana as a solution to a failed, racist policy that accomplishes little beyond oppressing minorities. As the report notes, marijuana arrests are no small deal, but deliver a severe blow to education and employment opportunity, as well as child custody rights. The cost to taxpayers is also severe, with states in 2010 shelling out more than $3 billion to make an arrest every 37 seconds, 88% of which were for simple possession alone. The ACLU stresses that police time spent enforcing marijuana prohibition could be better used to protect us from more violent crimes. Instead, it creates a separate legal system for blacks. From 2001 to 2010, states busted 7 million people for pot, increasingly spending money making arrests for a drug almost 40% of Americans have used, and most think should be legal.
Youths also bear the brunt of the marijuana arrest campaign, with 62% of possession arrets in 2010 for peole 24 years or younger, and more than 34% teenagers or younger. The numbers are also rising.
– Read the entire article at AlterNet.