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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. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  2. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  3. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  4. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  5. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

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