Marijuana report: Racial disparity of pot arrests not as bad in Colorado as in most of U.S.

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The title of a report from the ACLU -- "The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests" -- gives a good indication of its contents. The authors argue that the war on pot is a waste of money and African-Americans are disproportionately victimized by it. However, the report maintains that the problems caused by these issues in the United States as a whole are less severe in Colorado, which actually earns praise in its pages. Get details and read the entire report below.

The 175 page report takes in an in-depth look at marijuana arrests throughout the country by race. The document points out the major failings of anti-marijuana enforcement and suggests legalization for those 21 and up as a solution.

This excerpt from the study sums it up best: "The war on marijuana, like the larger war on drugs of which it is a part, is a failure. It has needlessly ensnared hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system, had a staggeringly disproportionate impact on African-Americans, and comes at a tremendous human and financial cost."

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This graphic shows statewide arrest rates in Colorado from 2001 to 2010.
This won't come as news to many readers. But the facts and figures are compelling, as are the regular mentions of Colorado, whose citizens earn praise for supporting Amendment 64, which allows adults 21 and over in Colorado to use and possess small amounts of cannabis.

Most of the other news isn't nearly as good.

"In 2010," according to the report, "nearly half (46%) of all drug arrests in America were for marijuana possession, an increase from 34% in 1995." Just as startling is this passage: "Between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of all drug arrests accounted for by marijuana possession arrests increased 21%."

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This chart graphically depicts the percentage of drug arrests in Colorado that are for marijuana possession.
These numbers are even more exaggerated in certain states. In Alaska, for instance, 81 percent of all drug arrests were for marijuana possession in 2010, while the percentages in Nebraska and Montana were 73 percent and 70 percent, respectively."

In contrast, Colorado finished with 60.7 percent -- eighth lowest in the country, but still higher than virtually any advocate would like.

In addition, Colorado was among the ten states with the lowest levels of racial disparity in arrests. Yet African-Americans here are still 1.9 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than are whites.

And even these figures can be misleading.

Continue for more about the ACLU study, including the complete report.


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14 comments
Renee Sanders
Renee Sanders

No. The Law isn't racist. The ENFORCEMENT is.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Sure would be nice to see a properly labeled bar graph.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

One of the biggest racial obscenities in the U$ JustUs Systen is the gross disparity between  arrests/sentences for Cocaine -- e.g. White folks with powder vs. Negros with rock

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

The U$A = a Nation FOUNDED upon the Bigotry and Racism

Green_eyes
Green_eyes

You mean Latinos are not included in this???? Awesome...... Finally !!! Lmao!!!

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Poor black people ......

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Green_eyes It would seem they've included Latinos in "whites," and since latinos are also disproportionately represented in the prison industrial complex, that might be skewing the "blacks vs whites" numbers closer together...hmm....

For the record, I'm not a fan of tracking information by ethnicity at all, as I think focusing on ethnicity creates ethnic division.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@Green_eyes  I found it surprising and somewhat suspicious . Somewhere along the lines of common sense & racially motivated propaganda .

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Cops ARE the TRUE, (armed),  minority ! The SOLE solution is just as my friend Cog is saying, unite and do NOT ALLOW THEM to separate us as people .

Green_eyes
Green_eyes

I found it surprising too, since when are Latinos not in these types of studies.... We all know its the Backs and Latinos, never ever the whites..... Lol...

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