Racial Disparities in Marijuana Charges across U.S., ACLU Says

by on October 23, 2013

According to a study by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an African-American person is almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person in the United States. In 2010, the arrest rate for white people charged with marijuana possession was 192 for every 100,000; during the same year, the arrest rate for black people was 716 for every 100,000.

A statement from the reports reads, “Despite the fact that marijuana is used at comparable rates by whites and Blacks, state and local governments have aggressively enforced marijuana laws selectively against Black people and communities.”

How do rates match up in Arizona?

The ACLU report found that African-Americans in Arizona were only 2.4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people. Furthermore, there were only eight other states that boasted closer ratios, including Hawaii, which has nearly a 1:1 ratio.

With that being said, the ACLU believes that Latinos are actually classified as ‘white’ by the FBI. The four U.S. states with the highest Latino populations—Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and California—are all among the 10 states with the closest ratios of marijuana possession arrests between African-Americans and whites. As such, “if the Latino arrest rate is greater than the white arrest rate, the actual Black-white arrest rates are much greater than the disparities” reported.

While this report doesn’t show that law enforcement is unjustly arresting citizens for marijuana possession based on ethnicity, it does suggest that authorities are targeting certain people as suspects. If you were arrested for marijuana possession, or another drug crime, in Arizona and you believe you were a victim of racial profiling, the drug defense lawyers at JacksonWhite will work to fight your charges in court. Call us today at 480-818-9943 to schedule a free and private consultation with JacksonWhite drug crimes attorney, Jeremy Geigle.

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