It doesn’t even matter if cannabis is legal or not.
Black people are still getting arrested for marijuana possession unjustifiably, even in states where recreational pot use is legal. The Journal of the American Medical Association released a study that found that while 53 percent of whites and 46 percent of Blacks report weed use, Black people in all states were nearly 4 percent more likely to be cuffed for possession. The study used data from 838,600 people between 2008 and 2017.
The researchers were looking to understand how the legalization of marijuana has affected the use of weed across races. Basically, they found that Black folks will still get arrested for weed use at higher rates than whites—even though whites are more likely to use weed.
Seems like the legalization laws have not stopped arrests. You may think the study’s findings are shocking (or not), but Mic brought up a few points on why they make sense:
Those statistics aren’t particularly shocking given our country’s racist drug history. The reality is that certain drugs are seen as acceptable forms of recreation (for white people), while others are deemed as “bad,” or “hard.”
So how is it possible for people to get arrested for having weed in places where weed is legal? Well, the truth about drug legalization is that it doesn’t end the “war on drugs.” People in states where weed is legal can still be arrested for having too much weed or for not obtaining it from an authorized source. And, as the study’s authors pointed out, POC are targeted due to structural factors, such as where dispensaries are located.
Many hoped that cannabis legalization would help put an end to the U.S.’s racist war on drugs, but critics were dubious. Unfortunately, if this new research is any indication, legalization is certainly not stopping cops from racial profiling when it comes to cannabis, and it isn’t winning us any battles in this imaginary war.
Nope. It certainly isn’t.
Here in New York state, where lawmakers legalized recreational marijuana, the legislation did a few things right, according to the Vera Institute. Around 40 percent of the marijuana tax revenue from sales will go to communities affected by the racist drug war and to public health programming; Also, the new Office of Cannabis Management makes sure that “half of all business licenses go to people of color, women, distressed farmers, andservice-disabled veterans.” Folks who have been incarcerated for convictions related to drugs may also be able to get a license.
In 2020, Black and brown folks made up 94 percent of the people arrested for pot possession. In the months since New York state legalized weed, there has been a steep drop in arrests for criminal possession. In the first quarter of 2021, 163 arrests were made; in the last quarter, just eight were made.