ACLU: Marijuana arrests for black people 3.7 times more than white people

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Declaring “It’s time to end the war on marijuana,” the American Civil Liberties Union reported Tuesday that black Americans were 3.7 times likelier than white Americans to be arrested for pot possession in 2010 despite similar rates of use.

“Though there were pronounced racial disparities in marijuana arrests 10 years ago, disparities have increased in 38 of 50 states and the District of Columbia,” the ACLU concluded in its report, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White.”  

In Indiana, black people were 3.4 times likelier than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, a rate equal to or slightly lower than recent years, according to the report. For every 100,000 in population, 591 black individuals were arrested for marijuana possession in Indiana compared with 174 white people arrested. Total Indiana possession arrests declined approximately 12 percent in 2010 compared with 2009, according to the data.

Elkhart County has the highest racial disparity in the state, with black people arrested 7 times more frequently than white people for marijuana possession. Among the state’s largest counties, the report says black people were arrested more often than white people at these rates: Allen, 6.4 times; Hamilton, 5.5; Marion, 4.7; St. Joseph, 4.2; Lake, 2.0.

The report produced the following data about Indiana marijuana possession arrests in 2010:

  • Those arrests constituted 44 percent of all drug arrests, compared with the national average of about 50 percent.
  •  In 30 Indiana counties, black people were arrested at a rate higher than the national average.
  • Indiana spent almost $38.5 million enforcing marijuana possession laws. The ACLU estimates all states spent a combined $3.6 billion.

“ACLU recommends that states legalize marijuana possession and use for persons 21 or older through a system of taxation, licensing and regulation, like alcohol,” the national organization said in releasing the report. “If legalization is not possible, the ACLU recommends depenalizing marijuana use and possession by removing all related civil and criminal penalties for such authorized activities for persons 21 or older, or, if depenalization is unobtainable, decriminalizing use and possession for adults and youth by classifying such activities as civil offenses.”

A measure that would have reduced the penalties for marijuana possession was introduced in the Indiana General Assembly this year but didn’t receive a committee vote. Penalties for marijuana possession are revised in the pending criminal code revision adopted by the Legislature this year.



  • Racial Discrimination with marijuana arrests
    You are 4.7 times as likely in Marion County to get arrested for marijuana possession if you are black. Why is a county prosecutor who is a Democrat who determines whether criminal cases should be filed filing so many cases against blacks?

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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues