When it comes to weed busts in America, Black people are targeted more often than Whites. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
Racial profiling within the legal system is far from unheard of (see “stop-and-frisk” for more examples). The American Civil Liberties Union’s dug deeper into the war on drugs, and announced its findings in a report Tuesday (June 4).
Blacks are more likely to get arrested for pot busts as opposed to Whites, despite weed use being pretty even among both races.
Yahoo! News reports:
The ACLU’s analysis of federal crime data, released Tuesday, found marijuana arrest rates for black people were 3.73 times greater than those for white people nationally in 2010. In some counties, the arrest rate was 10 to 30 times greater for blacks. In two Alabama counties, 100 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession were black, the ACLU said.
When it comes to marijuana use, about 14 percent of black people and 12 percent of white people reported in 2010 that they had used the drug during the previous year, according to data that the ACLU obtained from the National Drug Health Survey, a Health and Human Services publication. Among younger people ages 18-25, use was greater among whites.
An overall increase in marijuana possession arrests from 2001 to 2010 is largely attributable to drastic increases in arrests of black people, the ACLU said.
Blacks were arrested at a rate of 537 per 100,000 people nationally in 2001. In 2010, their arrest rate rose to 716 per 100,000. The 2001 number for white people was 191 per 100,00 and rose to 192 per 100,000 in 2010, the ACLU said. Despite the disparate rates, far more whites were arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, 460,808 compared to blacks, 286,117.
Police simply operate from the standpoint that “the use of marijuana is a crime,” said Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police.
“We will try to educate our membership, to the extent the statistics are valid, to be aware (that) people other than blacks are smoking marijuana and to arrest them too,” said Pasco, who had not yet seen theACLU report.
“While this country moves in some ways in a more progressive direction on marijuana policy in a lot of places, in other places, people are getting handcuffed, jailed and getting criminal records at racially disparate rates all around the country,” noted Ezekiel Edwards, lead author of the study.
In certain states, like Iowa and Minnesota, Black suspects are eight times more likely to be arrested than Whites.
The ACLU’s findings were announced on the same day that federal agents released details about a multi-million weed bust in suburban New York, from an unlikely suspected criminal. A 45-year-old White mother of three from an affluent neighborhood stands accused of running a marijuana grow house out of a building in Queens. Authorities found over 3,000 plants in total, 1,000 were growing under fluorescent light while the others were being dried out for distribution.