Study: African-Americans still arrested more for marijuana crimes in states where it is legal

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After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a lawsuit over Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana, advocates for legalization are now talking about the positive effects it can cause on society.

Advocates claim that legalizing marijuana would drop incarceration rates across the country and would even close the gap between the number of Caucasians and the number of minorities arrested for marijuana-related crimes.

However, a new study released by YouthFacts finds African Americans in states where marijuana is legal continue to experience marijuana-related arrests at a higher rate than people of other races.

Mike Males, a senior research fellow at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, compared the data before and after marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington, according to the Washington Post.

After legalization, arrests rates dropped in both states, 60 percent in Colorado and 90 percent in Washington.  However, the inconsistency in arrest rates involving different races did not move. The arrest rates for African-Americans was more than double that of other races, the same numbers before marijuana  being legalized in both states.

“I am surprised and disappointed by this,” Males said. “The forces that contribute to racial disparities under prohibition are clearly still in place after legalization.”

The study reverses the theory that keeping marijuana illegal contributes to the high number of arrests among African-Americans.

You can read the rest of the study here.

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