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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.

 

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  • 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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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