Why do black and white marijuana arrest rates differ?

A new statistical study of federal crime data led by Ezekiel Edwards of the ACLU, as reported by Yahoo News, has concluded that black people are arrested for possessing marijuana far more often than white people, even though marijuana use by both races is about the same.  About 14% of black people and 12% of white people reported in 2010 that they had used marijuana during the previous year.  The study notes that in absolute numbers, far more whites were arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, 460,808, than blacks with 282,117 arrests, but those numbers translate into 716 arrests per 100,000 for blacks in 2010 versus 192 per 100,000 for whites. Mr. Edwards attributed the disparate arrest rates to racial profiling by the police. Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, said arrest disparities like those for marijuana possession have led to mass incarceration and criminalization of African Americans.  He compares the resulting arrest records to...(Read Full Post)

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