(4/20) A Tale of Two Countries

Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform. Racial Disparities in Arrests Persist Even in States That Legalized or Decriminalized Marijuana.We go to the ACLU for a study on weed related arrests

Below are excerpts from the study.

Summary By: Natalie Mattson
Summary By: Natalie Mattson

The Study's Critical Points

  • The overwhelming majority of marijuana arrests — 89.6% — are for possession only.


  • Black people are 3.64 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession, notwithstanding comparable usage rates. 


  • The increasing number of states legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana has not reduced national trends in racial disparities, which remain unchanged since 2010.


  • In every single state, Black people were more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, and in some states, Black people were up to six, eight, or almost 10 times more likely to be arrested.


  • In 31 states, racial disparities were actually larger in 2018 than they were in 2010.


  • Montana, Kentucky, Illinois, West Virginia, and Iowa were the states with the highest racial disparities in marijuana possession arrest rates. 


  • In legalized states, arrests for marijuana sales also decreased greatly from 2010 to 2018 (81.3%).


  • Sales arrest rates also dropped in decriminalized states, although to a lesser degree (33.6%).


  • Marijuana possession arrest rates have dropped by approximately 15% from 2010 to 2018, resulting in a decrease in the national arrest possession rate, from 250. per 100,000 in 2010 to 203.88 per 100,000 people in 2018.


  • Marijuana arrests also accounts for more arrests than for all violent crime combined. In 2018, 43.2% of all drug arrests were for marijuana offenses. 

VISUAL Breakdown


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