Blacks and Whites Use Pot At About the Same Rate, But Blacks Get Arrested for Pot Possession a Lot More

| Tue Jun. 4, 2013 11:14 AM EDT

From a report by the ACLU:

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.

Just a coincidence, I'm sure. But across the country, it turns out, African Americans are arrested for pot possession at far higher rates than whites even though usage rates are about the same. Keith Humphreys points out that this is partly because marijuana laws have been loosened primarily in whiter areas of the country. At a guess, some of this might also be due to the use of possession charges as a plea bargain from more serious charges. Nonetheless, this accounts for only a fraction of the difference. The rest is most likely racially motivated, as the chart on the right makes clear. Black arrest rates are higher than white arrest rates—usually a lot higher—in every single one of the 25 biggest counties in the country.

More here from the ACLU study. The full report is here.