A Drug War in the Time of Color-Blind Policy

I don’t know that it will come as any surprise to anyone reading here that black people are arrested for marijuana possession a lot more often than white people, despite there being virtually no gap in marijuana usage. Still, this data from a new ACLU report is worth considering:

Marijuana use is roughly equal among Blacks and whites. In 2010, 14% of Blacks and 12% of whites reported using marijuana in the past year; in 2001, the figure was 10% of whites and 9% of Blacks. In every year from 2001 to 2010, more whites than Blacks between the ages of 18 and 25 reported using marijuana in the previous year. In 2010, 34% of whites and 27% of Blacks reported having last used marijuana more than one year ago — a constant trend over the past decade. In the same year, 59% of Blacks and 54% of whites reported having never used marijuana. Each year over the past decade more Blacks than whites reported that they had never used marijuana.

And now some data on actual arrest rates:

In 2010, nationwide the white arrest rate was 192 per 100,000 whites, and the black arrest rate was 716 per 100,000 blacks. Racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests are widespread and exist in every region in the country. In the Northeast and Midwest, Blacks are over four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. In the South, Blacks are over three times more likely, and in the West, they are twice more likely. In over one-third of the states, Blacks are more than four times likelier to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites.

Racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests exist regardless of county household income levels, and are greater in middle income and more affluent counties. In the counties with the 15 highest median household incomes (between $85K-$115K), Blacks are two to eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. In the 15 counties in the middle of the household income range (between $45K-$46K), Blacks are over three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. In the poorest 15 counties (median household incomes between $22K-$30K), Blacks are generally 1.5 to five times more likely to be arrested …

– Read the entire article at The Atlantic.

Comments

1 Comment

  1. gutrod on

    Marijuana laws were originally drafted by white racists to harass and punish colored people. In this regard they are still working quite well. At the time they didn’t count on white middle class people, young and old using the evil weed for recreation. These white people must now be punished severely for adopting so called black culture. Freedom is not for all in the good old USA, nor Canada with our current anti pot dictatorship. Harper idolizes the Beatles who like many other great musicians penned and performed their classics under the influence. Many of the great American Blues and Jazz masters were treated as common criminals by the American authorities for smoking pot. Those same authorities sit back enjoying their musical genius while getting a buzz on their liquid dope. Hypocrisy.

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