Racial Differences

United States Marijuana Arrests, Part Two:
Racial Differences in Drug Arrests

Copyright © 2000 by Jon Gettman and the NORML Foundation


Data from the Uniform Crime Reports and the United States Census Bureau are used to characterize racial disparities in marijuana and other drug offense arrest rates in 700 metropolitan area counties. 


National drug arrest rates for blacks and whites are compared from 1991 to 1995, showing dramatic and consistent disparities.  The disparity between black and white arrest rates for marijuana offenses has grown during this period.  Other comparisons rely on more extensive use of 1995 national and metropolitan county level data. The black arrest rate for all drug offenses is four times the arrest rate for whites.