Latinos use marijuana at lower rates in than whites yet they are prosecuted for minor cannabis possession offenses in most major California cities at “double to nearly triple” the rate of Caucasians, according to a report released today by The Drug Policy Alliance and the William C. Velasquez Institute.
Among some of the California cities profiled:
* The City of Los Angeles, with ten percent of California’s population, arrested Latinos for marijuana possession at twice the rate of whites.
* In San Jose, the third largest city in the state, Latinos are 31 percent of the population but 54 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession. Police in San Jose arrested Latinos at 2.2 times the rate of whites.
* In Glendale, Latinos are 17.4 percent of the population of almost 200,000, but comprise 30 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession. Glendale police arrested Latinos at a rate of 981 per 100,000 — the highest Latino arrest rate for any of the 33 cities profiled.
In conjunction with the release of today’s report, members of the National Latino Officers Association attended a press conference in Los Angeles to publicly announce their support for Proposition 19, California’s ballot measure to regulate the adult, non-medical use and possession of marijuana.
The NLOA joins a broad range of leading criminal justice, civil rights and religious organizations in favor of Prop. 19. These include the National Black Police Association, the California Council of Churches IMPACT, the California National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the California League of United Latin American Citizens, the Latino Voters League, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Western States Council.
Today’s study is a follow up to a report released last week by the Drug Policy Alliance that found that from 2006 to 2008, African Americans were arrested for marijuana possession offenses in California’s 25 largest cities at at four, five, six, seven and even twelve times the rate of whites.
Full text of today’s study, “Arresting Latinos for Marijuana in California: Possession Arrests in 33 Cities, 2006-08” is available online here.