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ACLU report finds racial disparities in cannabis arrests

Posted on June 6th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

leafA report released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) June 4 finds a racial bias in cannabis arrest rates, with Blacks 3.7 times more likely to be arrested than whites. The report, "The War on Marijuana in Black and White," is the first of its kind, concluding that the "war" on cannabis is a failure, with billions of dollars wasted on racially biased arrests. The ACLU found that both marijuana arrestsand racial disparities in these arrests increased between 2001 and 2010—despite the fact that Black and white folk use cannabis at a similar rate. In some states, including Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, Blacks were up to eight times as likely to be arrested. The report offers suggestions on policy and policing:

To repair this country's wrecked War on Marijuana, the ACLU recommends that marijuana be legalized for persons 21 or older through a system of taxation, licensing, and regulation. Legalization is the smartest and surest way to end targeted enforcement of marijuana laws in communities of color, and, moreover, would eliminate the costs of such enforcement while generating revenue for cash-strapped states. ... If legalization is not possible, the ACLU recommends depenalizing marijuana use and possession for persons 21 or older by removing all attendant civil and criminal penalties, or, if depenalization is unobtainable, decriminalizing marijuana use and possession for adults and youth by classifying such activities as civil, not criminal, offenses.

The ACLU also recommends that, in the meantime, law enforcement agencies and district attorney offices deprioritize enforcement of cannabis possession laws. (Jurist, June 5; NYT, June 3)

Image: Jurist


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