Whereas black and white Americans smoke marijuana at about the same rates, blacks are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for possession. The disparity isn't limited to inner cities. And it's widened even further over the past decade.
Those are just a few of the conclusions reached in "The War on Marijuana in Black and White," a report by the American Civil Liberties Union that was released this week. More, from the Huffington Post:
The report — the first to evaluate marijuana arrests rates by race on a national scope — finds that the disparity isn't just limited to inner cities. In over 96 percent of the counties the ACLU examined, which cover 78 percent of the U.S. population, blacks are arrested at higher rates than whites for marijuana possession.
And, while criminal justice observers have long known that drug arrests are conducted on a racially disproportionate basis, the report finds that the disparity has widened even further over the past decade. ACLU's analysis reveals that while annual marijuana arrests have risen over 10 years, the arrest rate for whites remained constant, meaning that the overall national increase in arrests is largely attributable to a whole lot more black people getting busted.
This clear unfair targeting of our nation's failed marijuana laws has prompted a growing number of leaders from black communities to raise their voices in favor of reform. Several state branches of the NAACP have endorsed legalization and played a crucial role in last year's successful campaigns to end marijuana prohibition in Colorado and Washington State.
Read more at the Huffington Post.