The War on Pot Is Both Insanely Racist and Insanely Expensive, New Report Says

ACLUACLUAcross the United States--north, east, south, west--blacks are more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. That's the conclusion of a new ACLU report that compares arrest data from 945 counties across the country.

"In 2010, the Black arrest rate for marijuana possession was 716 per 100,000, while the white arrest rate was 192 per 100,000," the ACLU says. That national disparity is reflected (to varying degrees) at the local level, "regardless of whether Blacks make up 50% or 5% of a county’s overall population." Blacks were more likely than whites to be arrested for pot in 908 of the 945 counties for which the ACLU crunched data. And that disparity--as you can see in the chart at right--has actually gotten worse over the years.

It's no secret that in big cities like D.C. and New York blacks are arrested for pot far more often than whites, despite comparable usage rates. But the ACLU is the first group to extrapolate arrest numbers across the country. The picture it paints is depressing:

In Lycoming and Lawrence, PA, and in Kenton County, KY, Blacks make up less than 5% of the population, but are between 10 and 11 times more likely than whites to be arrested. In Hennepin County, MN (includes Minneapolis), and Champaign and Jackson Counties, IL, Blacks are 12%, 13%, and 15% of the population, respectively, but are 9 times more likely to be arrested than whites. In Brooklyn, NY, and St. Louis City, MO, Blacks comprise 37% and 50% of the residents, respectively, and are 12 and 18 times more likely to be arrested than whites. In Chambers, AL, and St. Landry, LA, Blacks account for more than twice as many marijuana arrests (90% and 89%, respectively) than they do of the overallpopulation (39% and 42%, respectively). In Morgan and Pike Counties, AL, Blacks make up just over 12% and 37% of the population, respectively, but account for 100% of the marijuana possession arrests.

Yes, there's a county in the U.S. in which blacks make up 12 percent of the population and 100 percent of the marijuana arrests. The drug war is racist as hell. Just look at these charts:

ACLUACLU

The war on pot is also an insane misuse of resources:

  • The ACLU estimates the total national expenditure of enforcing marijuana possession laws at approximately $3.613 billion. In 2010, states spent an estimated $1,747,157,206 policing marijuana possession arrests, $1,371,200,815 adjudicating marijuana possession cases, and $495,611,826 incarcerating individuals for marijuana possession.
  • New York and California combined spent over $1 billion to enforce their marijuana laws in 2010. Add the amount of money that Texas, Illinois, Florida, New Jersey, Georgia, and Ohio spent, and the total is over $2 billion.
  • Over half of the states (27) each spent over $30 million in 2010 enforcing marijuana possession laws.
  • Even when discounting entirely all state fiscal spending on prison facilities, corrections expenditures associated with marijuana possession enforcement are significant — California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas, for example, each spent more than an estimated $20 million of state taxpayer money in 2010 housing individuals in local jail and county correctional facilities for possession of marijuana, with New York and California spending more than $65 million apiece.

The report also singles out the number of arrests for marijuana possession in relation to other drugs and drug crimes, which nets us this insane graph: 

ACLUACLU

The local focus on pot is being driven by federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (for which Pres. Obama has restored funding after a dip during the Bush years): 

JAG does not restrict the categories of arrests in its performance measures to felonies or serious drug cases. Rather, all drug arrests, including misdemeanors (such as for marijuana possession), must be reported tothe BJA as a condition of receiving federal funds.140 Because JAG does not limit the categories of arrests in its performance measures to felony arrests, or arrests for more serious drug offenses — as one would expect given the program’s original purpose of fighting serious, violent drug crime — police agencies are able to increase their productivity numbers by including arrests for mere possession, including marijuana possession. When submitting annual reports to the BJA, law enforcement agencies may improve the likelihood of receiving federal grants by measuring performance through the enforcement of low-level offenses, and thus perhaps demonstrating the “effectiveness” of BJA-funded activity. Thus, although JAG funding was initially designed to address major drug crime, by linking police budgets to drug law enforcement and including the number of drug arrests in states’ and law enforcement agencies’ productivity assessments, the Byrne Grant system enables — and, indeed, likely incentivizes — police departments to increase arrests for low-level drug possession.

The ACLU pulled its data from FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Data, the Census, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Bureau of Justice Statistics's Criminal Justice Expenditure and Employment Extracts, and the Census Bureau’s Annual Government Finance Survey and Annual Survey of Public Employment. In some instances, ACLU researchers had to file freedom of information requests with state-level agencies. You can read the full report below. It contains some pretty crushing case studies of the collateral consequences of marijuana arrests. 

The War on Marijuana in Black and White

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  • ||

    The penalties are already laid out. If people don't wanna do the time, don't do the crime.

    /retards

  • Pro Libertate||

    Don't go to bed, with no price on your head,
    No, no, don't do it.

    Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time,
    Yeah, don't do it.

    And keep your eye on the sparrow
    When the going gets narrow.

    Don't do it, don't do it.

    Where can I go where the cold winds don't blow,
    Now.

    Well, well, well.

  • NicoleM||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job Ive had. Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, www.Mojo50.com

  • dorminay||

    Why doesn't this site have a report function? I get that it can be abused on other sites, but seriously, this is ridiculous.

  • DenverJay||

    Doesn't matter. I am familiar with this sort of auto posting, and either this program or a different one that the poster uses, creates accounts for the spammer to post from. As soon as "NicoleM" is blocked, the spammer will create a new account. He probably uses a program to create hundreds of Yahoo or Google email accounts at once, then uses those emails, and another program, to create hundreds of accounts at Reason and other comment enabled sites. The program that posts also has a database where various values / keywords are stored. Then the program automatically posts to all these sites, changing the amount of money earned, the relationship (i.e. "my aunt's boyfriend"), the car they bought, etc, using the database. This is done to avoid the site's filters. The spammer probably paid about $100 for the software.

  • MasterDarque||

    The point jackass is that people doing the same things are being punished differently based on skin color.

  • ||

    You should read his post again. I detect sarcasm....and notice the /retards.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    This has to either be a:

    a)Paultard

    or

    b) Progtard

  • John||

    Every other thing in society that has been shown to have even a small disparate impact on minorities has been or liberals have tried to have banished no matter how small the impact, how many rational non racist explanations there are or how important the thing is. Except the drug war. Any liberal that supports the drug war forfeits the right to object to anything else on the basis of it disproportionately affects minorities.

  • tarran||

    They like it because it disproportionately afflicts minorities.

    It's impossible to uplift lesser races if they are permitted cloud their minds with intoxicants.

  • John||

    That and they want to keep the scary black men locked up and away from their women and special snowflakes. The modern liberal is like this twisted surreal version of the worst sort of Southern racist of the past. All the racism but with more mendacity and none of the gentility

  • tarran||

    I would argue that it's more the Yankee racism: opposed to slavery in principle, but unhappy at the concept of ungodly folks living next door tempting their children away from a life of hard and good works.

  • John||

    That is pretty accurate.

  • MasterDarque||

    Worst racial atmosphere for me has always been up north - in the south they tend to keep it under wraps better

  • Pro Libertate||

    The worst racism I've observed has been in the North, with Boston by far the worst. No idea why that is.

  • ||

    Same here. Boston is the worst I've seen.

  • ||

    Yet, Massa. is the most liberal state in the union. Hm.

  • thom||

    They see uplifting lesser races as a project. Projects should be managed by the government. The goal is to funnel black people into the system: prison, welfare, etc. The point is to control their lives for their own good.

  • geekster||

    And any conservative that supports the drug war forfeits the right to talk about how much they love freedom and/or how institutional racism is a thing of the past.

    The beauty of the drug war is that both sides get so much gain from it that it's a bipartisan fuck-over.

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  • mnarayan||

    But the ACLU is the first group to extrapolate arrest numbers across the country.

    Kind of pedantic, but at first glance it looks like the arrest numbers were measured not extrapolated.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The war on pot is also insanely effective. It just needs a skosh more funding.

  • John||

    If it hadn't been for sequester, the cops could have arrested more white pot users. The evil Republicans just put them in an impossible situation.

  • Aresen||

    The Patrolment's Benefit Association endorses this message.

  • ||

    We see it as expensive. Government sees it as money in their budgets. Fat chance of making headway with that argument.

  • thom||

    So take all the extra cops, prison guards, etc and just pay them to do something either slightly useful or less harmful to society. In the end, ending the drug war might require just taking our lumps and buying out the entire group of parasites.

  • Rod Flash||

    Have you seen the fire roads and trails in our state and national parks recently? It sounds like bringing back the CCC and staffing it with redundant LEOs might be a win-win. Plus they'll work off some of the lard, improving their health and costing us all less money for healthcare too.

  • ||

    I can endorse that.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    we can't end the war on drugs, there's too much money in it.

  • DenverJay||

    Not just money, there is POWER involved. Do you really think that the courts would put up with no-knock search warrants without the WOD? And of course property seizure. Oh, and let's not forget sobriety checkpoints, because the WOD includes alcohol.

  • DaveSs||

    I'm curious if they determined that MJ possession was the primary or sole reason for the arrest, or if this is really a tally of charges.

    It is plausible that most of the arrests were for actual crimes (robbery, assault, etc) and the non crime of MJ possession was simply tacked on because the suspects were in possession at the time of their arrest.

  • John||

    There is a lot of that.

  • BigT||

    Even more common, at least according to contacts in the prosecutor's office, is that blacks get picked up for another crime and the possession of MJ is the only thing that is easy to prove since it's in their possession.

  • ||

    There's less to this than it appears. Drug dealers and dudes committing other crimes/anti-social behavior who happen to have marijuana around (domestic violence where the wife won't admit it, etc.) are going to be arrested far more often than quite users at home, and that's going to have a much different racial profile than the "yeah, I used it" surveys they're trying to use as a base line.

  • ||

    Maybe a little. But we know for a fact that at least in NYC, stop and frisk probably accounts for a large portion of blacks arrested for possession. Why they choose to still live where they are regularly abused by the local government, I have no idea.

  • sasob||

    Why they would continue to carry it on their persons when they know there is a good chance of being stopped and searched, I have no idea.

  • SIV||

    I blame racist IQ tests.

  • creech||

    The victims and their friends overwhelming vote for one party. That one party controls many cities and some rural areas in the south. So let them demand that one party vote to end this nonsense or suffer the consequences. {But then I've had more than one black tell me he supports getting the riff-raff out of the hood. Yeah, until his kid is the one being frog-marched off to the precinct.}

  • Gorilla tactics||

    The problem with that though is that the Dems know that blacks will vote for them no matter what, hence there is no incentive for them to actually improve their situation because there is no "flight risk" to the repubs like working class whites. I mean look at all these examples:

    Shitty public schools...WHOA LOOK OVER THERE, SOMEONE SAID THE WORD CHICAGO!! CODED RACISM, DON'T QUESTION OUR THROWING YOUR KIDS UNDER THE BUS IN ORDER TO SERVE OUR MASTERS IN THE TEACHER'S UNIONS!

    Black Family Destroyed by Welfare state...WOOO WOOO WOOO...SOMEONE SAID WELFARE, DAMN REDNECKS GUNNA PUT YA'LL BACK IN CHAINS...DON'T PAY ATTENTION THEY ALL RACISTS WOOO BOOO BOO FLIP FLAP BOBODYBOOP!

    Minimum Wage increases black unemployment...RAAAARH, GRRRR LOOK AT THE BIG SCARY EVIL GODZILLA WHO WANTS TO REINSTATE APARTHEID, AND JIM CROW AT THE SAME TIME, DO NOT RESEARCH DAVIS BACON 1931 MWAAA ME SMASH!!!

    That's pretty much how the new Democratic Plantation works, blame republicans for all the shit blacks have to deal with while throwing blacks to the wolves of the never ending special interests of the Dems.

    Sad really

  • Sevo||

    A PR dept. the envy of the world. And for cheap; Stalin got it without paying a dime.

  • Spokker||

    How does a politician like Rand Paul cut through the bullshit, dismantle the Democratic Plantation and bring that message to black victims of the drug war?

    He went to speak to black students but the media made him out to be the goofy white guy who is very awkward around blacks.

    Personally, I think he should just keep going and keep speaking. The Democratic Plantation is not going to be dismantled in one election cycle, but a theme I see is that nonwhite voters aren't being spoken to by fiscally conservative politicians.

  • fried wylie||

    If it hadn't been for sequester...

    Or another budget related viewpoint: which arrest will cause the least reduction in tax revenues?

    In Lycoming and Lawrence, PA, and in Kenton County, KY, Blacks make up less than 5% of the population, but are between 10 and 11 times more likely than whites to be arrested.

    Because the black dudes are easier to spot, duh.

  • MasterDarque||

    who you calling a spot?

  • Number 2||

    "The local focus on pot is being driven by federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (for which Pres. Obama has restored funding after a dip during the Bush years)"

    Wait a minute!

    That cannot be right...

    I was assured last year that Obama's prohibitionist stance was just a ruse to keep the right-wing loonies at bay during the election, and once returned to office, he'd show his true colors and repeal pot prohibition.

  • Tamfang||

    Well, that makes sense. It's pretty clear that his former pro-transparency stance was a ruse too.

  • Sidd Finch||

    "In 2010, the Black arrest rate for marijuana possession was 716 per 100,000, while the white arrest rate was 192 per 100,000," the ACLU says.

    That's about half the murder arrest discrepancy. I suppose that makes murder laws super duper insanely racist.

  • SIV||

    The cosmotarians will get right on that.

  • Calidissident||

    The difference is it's been proven that blacks and whites commit murder at different rates. All scientific evidence indicates that there isn't any significant difference in marijuana use

  • Sidd Finch||

    I don't think there's any 'scientific' evidence. There's two data points: arrests and surveys. My prior is that arrests overestimate black usage (obvious reasons), and surveys will underestimate black usage (stop snitching).

    I think there's something else going on with blacks. Guys seem to smoke a lot more than women. And since guys also do a lot more dumb shit than women, that may explain some of the difference between surveys and arrests. I realize that's some wild ass speculation.

  • Calidissident||

    "and surveys will underestimate black usage (stop snitching)."

    Any actual evidence it would underestimate it (any more than for whites)? I don't really think the "stop snitching" culture is really relevant here when we're talking about anonymous personal surveys.

    "I think there's something else going on with blacks. Guys seem to smoke a lot more than women"

    In my experience, this is true of all races (most people smoked weed, at least occasionally, at my high school, which was about 75% white and 1-2% black, and a good number, if not a majority, smoke at my college (about 40% white, 5% black)

  • Sidd Finch||

    Any actual evidence it would underestimate it (any more than for whites)?

    No, that's why it's a prior.

    I don't really think the "stop snitching" culture is really relevant here when we're talking about anonymous personal surveys.

    I think this is really naive.

    In my experience, this is true of all races

    Not mine, I've known lots of white and Asian female potheads. Not as many as guys of course, but lots. The only black females I've seen even get really stoned were two lesbians. I've played video games at black guys' places and we're all just baked and useless. And their female friends are gossiping 100mph. Just not an experience I've had except with blacks. Like i said, wild ass speculation based on personal anecdata.

  • PapayaSF||

    Not to excuse the drug war itself, but I am suspicious of the whole "disparate statistical impact = racism" thing. Yes, more blacks get busted for pot, but that doesn't prove racism. I suspect that a lot of whites who smoke pot do it at home, not on street corners or while driving around in urban areas with their buddies, so they are less likely to get caught. Also, I suspect a lot of pot busts happen because people get arrested for other things. Since blacks are statistically more likely to commit crimes than whites, they are more likely to get busted while holding some pot. (Remember, kids, never commit more than one crime at the same time.) Finally, how many of these pot convictions are of, say, a gangbanger caught with 50 loose car stereos, but the DA knew he couldn't prove specific auto burglaries in court? They bust him hard for what they can prove, and it may often be pot. It's like getting Al Capone for tax evasion.

  • Calidissident||

    These are arrests, not convictions

  • PapayaSF||

    I stand corrected on that point. However, my other hypotheses still stand.

  • Sharke||

    Listen, I'm all for ending the war on drugs. But to suggest that it's "racist" based on a quick glance at arrest rates is not just ordinary dumb, it's LEFTIST dumb. This is supposed to be a publication based around thinking rationally, and yet the author of this piece has taken his logic straight out of the left's irrational playbook.

    Yes, there are more black people arrested for marijuana possession. But does this take into account the fact that black people have a higher crime rate - and thus a higher arrest rate - to begin with? How many of these black pot arrests were as a result of the police conducting a search as a result of some other offense committed? And how many of these arrests were as the result of pot being smoked openly on the street in broad daylight? Being quite honest here: if I take a walk around predominantly black neighborhoods of New York, I see (and smell) a lot more open pot use on the street than if I take a a walk around a predominantly white area of Brooklyn. That's just reality, and it's hardly surprising then that blacks are being arrested more than whites, who are more likely to restrict their pot smoking to less public areas.

    So how, exactly, is the drug war "racist" from these pot arrest statistics? Mike is looking at them through the eyes of an irrational left wing academic, not objectively.

  • SIV||

    it's LEFTIST dumb

    RTFByline.

  • Sevo||

    Sharke| 6.4.13 @ 2:33PM |#
    "Listen, I'm all for ending the war on drugs. But to suggest that it's "racist" based on a quick glance at arrest rates is not just ordinary dumb, it's LEFTIST dumb"

    Care to qualify what might be other than a "quick glance"?
    See that chart up there? That one showing nearly ten years and a 3:1 ratio?
    Now, how many years would it take to remove your qualification?

  • Gorilla tactics||

    Well it is from the ACLU

  • Calidissident||

    It's not simply about cops being racist assholes. It's often about police or criminial justice policies that affect different groups disproportionately (ceteris paribus), like stop and frisk, or the crack sentencing laws, or laws that increase drug penalties for people arrested within a certain distance of a school (which are much more likely to affect people living in urban areas, who are disproportionately black)

  • Spokker||

    Blacks are overstopped if you consider their representation in the population but understopped if you consider the proportion of crime committed by blacks in the city. The majority of victims are black, who report black perpetrators to police.

    I oppose stop and frisk and will never visit New York because I value my 4th amendment rights, but I don't oppose it because it's racist.

  • Calidissident||

    Why is it that there is a certain segment of commentators that will bash cops in general for being authoritarian assholes, but insists that they can't be racist? When you have programs like "stop and frisk" in New York City, is it not obvious that that will result in a lot of people getting arrested for marijuana possession, and not as some tack on to a serious charge? And the racial bias of the LAPD is no secret around LA

  • Sidd Finch||

    It's not that cops can't be racist. It's that a fair amount of racist cops doesn't explain 908 of 945 counties.

  • Calidissident||

    Really? I'm not saying that's the cause of every single county (random variation alone would mean that the rate would be higher in some counties) but I don't think it's the least bit dubious that racism, whether personal (some asshole cop who just likes to harass black people) or systemic (cops ordered to randomly stop and frisk people in this certain area) is responsible for the difference in many other counties (as well as the degree of difference). Are there any statistics on what percentage of people arrested for marijuana possession are also charged with some other crime (and what kind of crime)? The massive rise in the number of marijuana related arrests (as well as the share of drug arrests that are marijuana-related) lead me to believe that there are significant factors beyond "We caught this guy stealing a car and he happened to have weed on him." Also, according to a google search I did earlier, there were about 750,000 marijuana arrests (IIRC in 2010) compared to 500,000 for violent crimes (though obviously this doesn't include arrests for property crimes that should be arrestable offenses)

  • Sidd Finch||

    is responsible for the difference in many other counties

    Sure, but the issue is that 435.5 excess counties is more than "many."

    Are there any statistics on what percentage of people arrested for marijuana possession are also charged with some other crime (and what kind of crime)?

    I haven't seen any, but I saw a bunch of crime reports in Pike County. All of the MJ possession I saw was next to some other real offense. There's probably huge differences between rural and urban.

    (though obviously this doesn't include arrests for property crimes that should be arrestable offenses)

    The bigger issue is traffic stops. There's plenty of fishing going on, but I've seen many times somebody acting an ass and they get busted with drugs. You'd think people wouldn't drive crazy or play their music loud with drugs, but they do.

  • PapayaSF||

    Nobody says cops can't be racist, but in NYC for example, less than 50% of the police force is white, so it's hard for me to see "racism" as the cause of a disproportionate number of black arrests.

  • Marty .||

    Do you actually believe that only caucasian cops can be prejudiced against black people?

  • PapayaSF||

    Well, no, but like most people I am trained to see "racism" as something that emanates from whites. So you're saying that if black NYC cops arrest a lot of blacks, it's because they're racist about people of their own race?

  • sasob||

    Prejudice can be based on other qualities besides race - but then, of course, it would not be racism.

  • Calidissident||

    Black cops can most definitely be prejudiced against other blacks, or more likely, carry out policies of their superiors that may not be explicitly racist, but are carried out in a racially biased manner (stop and frisk, for example)

  • gaoxiaen||

    Black cops have to make their quota too.

  • Sidd Finch||

    In Morgan and Pike Counties, AL, Blacks make up just over 12% and 37% of the population, respectively, but account for 100% of the marijuana possession arrests.

    I suspected this is bullshit because Troy University is in Pike Country. It is. If this is supposed to be last year, it's news to Jessie Lawhorn. If it's from 2010, as the quote indicates, Holy Shit That's A Bunch Of Crackers.

  • SIV||

    Yeah, but those are guilty White people. The ACLU is only counting innocent African-Americans.

  • Gorilla tactics||

    "The ACLU will ruthlessly attack a mall putting up a christian display showing the birth of christ in a manger, but will move heaven and earth to defend some derelict drug addict who stumbled into the display and fucked one of the plastic sheep in the ass"

    Loosely quoted from Denis Miller, I find it funny

  • Gorilla tactics||

    Anti Christian Lawyers Union
    All Criminals Love Us
    Anything Christian Looks Unlawful
    American Communists and Liberals United
    American Crybabies League Union
    All Communists Love US
    All Crazy Liberals United
    Allow Criminals Lossened and Unpunished
    Ashkenazi Communist Lawyers Union (yes I know this is anti Semitic, I still think its funny, I apologize to all the libertarian chosen peeps, just having a laugh, I'm totally cool with all ethnic groups..EXCEPT THOSE PRICKS FROM VANUATU-FUCK EM!)
    A Commie Liberal Union
    Abhorent Calculating, Litigious, Unscrupulous

  • Calidissident||

    The statistics are for simple possession, not people arrested for trafficking or dealing

  • SIV||

    There are people in his link arrested for possession so the 0 statistic is bullshit.

  • Calidissident||

    I see two people charged with possession (though both were charged with other things), and no indication of their race (am I missing a link on the page to pictures or something?)

  • Sidd Finch||

    Adrian Davis is probably black. Judy Ann Miller is almost certainly white, as are most of the others.

  • Calidissident||

    The others weren't charged with possession though

  • Captain Kirk||

    Okay, does the war on drugs need to end? Especially for pot? Absolutely. Does the fact that many more blacks than whites are arrested for pot mean that it is racist? Absolutely not. Did the ACLU or reason ever consider the possibility that maybe a lot of black people smoke weed? Go take a look at Worldstarhiphop, that is the culture we are talking about. It is not racist that black people are arrested for more pot crimes than whites, or other crimes like violent crimes. There are just a lot of black people choosing to commit crimes and break the laws, unjust or not.

  • Calidissident||

    Actually, studies indicate that marijuana use does not significantly vary among racial groups (which was stated in the article, in case you missed it)

  • Captain Kirk||

    Another issue not addressed, is that some people are just dumber about how they choose to break the law. Thus, making it more likely they will get caught. I call bullshit on the racist talk. Blacks get all sorts of special treatment in today's America. If the cops violate me and beat me up, I don't have a plethora White Civil Rights organizations and a national media to cry foul.

  • Mark22||

    Differences in arrest or conviction rates are not by themselves evidence of racism. Furthermore, if you believe that making drugs illegal and enforcing those laws is a good thing, you could write the same headline as "white communities neglected and underserved by anti-drug law enforcement".

    I think the war on drugs is a bad idea and that it particularly hurts black communities. But let's keep inflammatory and inapplicable terms like "racism" out of the discussion.

  • XM||

    Living in poorer, more crime ridden communities that attract police attention probably increase the odds of getting arrested. Blacks are over represented in prisons in general, if I'm not mistaken.

    Is the "drug war" racist, or the police? Because if the police was racist, then they can continue to racially profile minorities on other non drug related charges. Ending the drug war won't do anything.

    The blacks who got arrested for possession DID break the law. The complaint is then more white people should be arrested for committing the same crimes. If that ever happened, the drug wars probably WILL come to an end.

  • LauraNo||

    You are right. If any unpleasant aspect of society affected whites in the same proportions as others, things would change RIGHT QUICK! I wonder what the response would have been to a 17 year old blond girl who was walking home from the corner store being killed by someone who was stalking her, for instance. I don't think the police are racist, but racism is built into the system and it seems noone is very interested in getting it out of there. Of course, if they were to try they would be accused of all kinds of awful, reverse racism being the top response I bet. "If they did something wrong they should pay for it" regardless of the fact whites can do the same thing consequence-free being the second.

  • Captain Kirk||

    You use a white blonde girl as a hypothetical against Trayvon Martin. Why not a blonde white GUY? If a blonde white man with gold teeth, his pants hanging off his butt, attacked Zimmerman, broke his nose, and hit his head on the Concrete, the result would have been EXACTLY the same. The only difference is that no one would have ever heard about it. Zimmerman lived in the area, and did not recognize Martin, he had the right to ask what he was doing in the gated community. If a white guy was dressed like a thug, I would question them just the same if I was neighborhood watchmen. The neighborhood was under attack by thieves and robbers. And who was breaking into all the houses? BLACK MALES. It is not a racist that you are ten times more likely to be robbed by a black guy than a white guy, its a fact.

  • DenverJay||

    Nope, your facts are racist! Racist I tell you. Only non-racist facts are true.

  • Mark22||

    What makes you think that white people aren't arrested based on exactly the same criteria?

  • David Housholder||

    http://wp.me/p2KckS-Re < Link.

    I am not an "illegal" drug user. No interest in pot.

    But if it's not coercion. It's not a crime.

    Drug use by adults is their business. Only if they harm others or damage/take their property (not just the "potential" to do so) is it a crime.

    See the link http://wp.me/p2KckS-Re

  • Flemur||

    Although not highlighted in the report, or mentioned by Reason for obvious reasons, Asians have lower arrest rates than whites. In fact the arrest rates for MJ are similar to, and have the same rank ordering, as arrests for real crimes: Black Mestizo White Asian.

    The report also finds that, on average, a Black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates.

    Blacks are also about 4 times more likely to commit robbery, etc, and about 7X more likely to commit murder (FBI, look it up). Is this a coincidence?

    I think they're arrested for pot incidental to other crimes.

    In addition, police should end racial profiling and unconstitutional stop, frisk, and search practices, and no longer measure success and productivity by the number of arrests they make.

    Do they think that, given the opportunity, the police will NOT arrest whites or Asians for MJ possession?
    (Also: where beside NY is "stop and frisk" practiced?)

  • Flemur||

    Also:
    "An adult black man is seven times more likely than his white counterpart to reside behind bars. Paradoxically, the largest disparities are found in political domains controlled by liberals -- the leaders in the struggle for racial justice. By examining how criminal behavior is distributed within the races, the paradox is resolved showing it to be an unintended consequence of liberal benevolence and goodwill.
    ...In the language I'll use today, we would say that the disparity or incarceration ratio was 7.4. State-by-state, the figures varied widely from 3.1 to 29.3."

    Similar numbers....hmmmm.

  • Bucky||

    77 comments:
    MJ users: give us our pot
    Race baiters: see, cops are racists
    lefties: ACLU is right (forget about all that other crap they do)
    Common Sense: Reason needs to pay attention, using ACLU info. just to further your libertarian views on dope can be damaging to you image...
    Hint: unemployment for blacks is at 14%, rules haven't applied to minorities for years, and oh yeah, read ALL the FBI stats (no cherry picking)...

  • LauraNo||

    What? The liberals and libertarians were right when they said this drug war would just add another aspect of institutional racism? I get so tired of them being right...

  • Tamfang||

    Champaign County, eh? That's the home of the University of Illinois, where a lot of "good" white kids must get their first taste of the boo.

  • Federale||

    Contrary to Reason breathlessness, it not because police are targeting blacks, but because the marijuana crimes committed by blacks are either "dumber" crimes, e.g. smoking in public, or dealing in public, or because the arrests were part of other investigations or other police activity, like traffic stops.

    Black IQ is a particular contributor to black arrest rates. They commit more crime than whites over all and are therefore more likely to get police attention. Lots of crimes are pled down and the marijuana charge included in the arrest for burglary or dealing was the plea deal. Whites generally commit their marijuana crimes in private or do their dealing more discretely.

  • Spokker||

    Are you a libertarian?

  • Mark22||

    I find it odd that people who make so many things illegal would then consider it a bad thing that criminals actually get arrested for it. Shouldn't drug war proponents (and the majority of Democrats apparently are, just like the majority of Republicans) be happy if some community is preferentially purged of the scourge of drug use and drug dealing?

  • Spokker||

    Why does Reason and this aspect of the libertarian movement take up anti-racist issues that often deal in emotion rather than facts and logic? This site does so well on other issues and is a breath of fresh air but they seem to engage in the same kind of "it's a disparity so it must be racism" emotional appeals that Democrats are fond of.

    Is it because the core values libertarians hold are so horrifying to most of the American public that being perceived as racist and/or sexist would only make it that much harder to garner the usual million votes in a national election?

    I think libertarians are right 99% of the time and are among the smartest people in American politics, but when you guys appeal to emotion over logic like a fucking woman it becomes embarrassing.

    Don't get me wrong though. If the goal is to win rather than be right, then I'm all for it.

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  • Brubaker||

    "It's no secret that in big cities like D.C. and New York blacks are arrested for pot far more often than whites, despite comparable usage rates."

    This entire article, and the ACLU crusade that it addresses, appear to be premised on the assumption that blacks and whites have "comparable usage rates." That may be true, but the article offers no evidence to support that conclusion. Absent evidence, this is just as likely to be yet another example of playing the get-out-of-jail-free race card.

  • GLK||

    I work at an inner city hospital. I have to drive through the ghetto every day. Several times in broad daylight I have encountered the scent of pot wafting into my car from the car in front of me. Since they're not even trying to be discreet it's really no wonder blacks are arrested more often. My personal position on pot is that I smoked it in High School then outgrew it. It should probably be legalized but unlike virtually every other form of intoxication legal or otherwise, pot is obnoxious because the scent invades personal space. I really don't want my 5 year old subjected to that smell while driving in my car or sitting on our porch so I have mixed emotions.

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