WASHINGTON (AP) — Black people are arrested for possessing marijuana at a higher rate than White people, even though marijuana use by both races is about the same, the American Civil Liberties Union reports in a new study.
The ACLU’s analysis of federal crime data, released Tuesday, found marijuana arrest rates for Black people were 3.73 times greater than those for White people nationally in 2010. In some counties, the arrest rate was 10 to 30 times greater for Blacks. In two Alabama counties, 100 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession were Black, the ACLU said.
When it comes to marijuana use, about 14 percent of Black people and 12 percent of White people reported in 2010 that they had used the drug during the previous year, according to data that the ACLU obtained from the National Drug Health Survey, a Health and Human Services publication. Among younger people ages 18-25, use was greater among Whites.
An overall increase in marijuana possession arrests from 2001 to 2010 is largely attributable to drastic increases in arrests of Black people, the ACLU said.