The Racist War on Weed

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A new, damning report by the American Civil Liberties Union (PDF) illustrates how costly, ineffective, and racist the policing and criminalization of marijuana has become in the United States, with New York State leading the way in marijuana-related arrests. The study analyzes how over the past ten years, marijuana arrests have come to make up over half of all drug arrests in the United States, and that in 2010 a marijuana arrest happened every thirty-seven seconds. Even more staggering than the cost of marijuana enforcement (which cost states $3.6 billion in 2010) is the racial dynamic of marijuana policing: a Black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though blacks and whites use the drug at a similar rate…


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