Happy 420 to our dear readers! We hope everyone is safe and enjoying their weed consumption at their best. Although this is a day to celebrate marijuana consumerism, it is important to note that millions of people are still held in prison facilities for extremely minors and nonsense marijuana crimes based on racial bias.
African Americans are arrested for violating marijuana possession laws at nearly four times the rates of whites, yet both ethnicities consume marijuana at roughly the same rates.
The aggressive enforcement of marijuana possession laws needlessly ensnares hundreds of thousands of people into the criminal justice system and wastes billions of taxpayers’ dollars.
It is safe to say that the War on Marijuana has simply failed to reduce marijuana use and availability and diverted resources that could be better invested in our communities.
According to the ACLU’s original analysis and sources, marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States.
Nationwide, the arrest data revealed one consistent trend: significant racial bias.
MARIJUANA ARRESTS DATA BY STATES:
- A 2021 analysis of marijuana-related arrests in 2020 in New York City’s five boroughs, reported that people of color comprised 94 percent of those arrested.
- Prior to the enactment of legalization, Colorado police arrested blacks for marijuana possession at 3 times the rate of whites.
- California arrest figures concluded that police arrested blacks for marijuana offenses at three and half times the rate of whites
- A 2021 analysis from the Milwaukee County reported that Black Wisconsinites were 4.3 times more likely than their white counterparts to be convicted for having marijuana. The worst disparities in Wisconsin are in Ozaukee County, where Black people are 34.9 times more likely to be arrested and Manitowoc County, where Black people are 29.9 times more likely to be arrested.
- According to a 2020 analysis by The Washington Post, between 2015 and 2019, there were 3,631 marijuana arrests in the District of Columbia. Eighty-nine percent of those arrested were Black, even as they make up only 45 percent of the city’s population.
- Only in Hawaii are the rates even close to equal, and that's biased by the fact that blacks make up only 1.6 percent of the population. In the state with the second-lowest disparity, Alaska, blacks are 1.6 times more likely to be arrested. In the state with the biggest, Iowa, blacks are 8.34 times more likely to be arrested.
The system is blatantly racist and being a black person, living in a black body became synonymous of “danger” and “weapon”.
It’s up to all of us to make the change and take action, especially white people who should use their privilege to fight the system.
Visit The Uncovery to learn more on the numbers behind the failed war on marijuana, and TAKE ACTION by emailing or calling your elected officials.
Let’s make 4/20 a day for everyone to celebrate!