African Americans are arrested for violating marijuana possession laws at nearly four times the rates of whites, yet both ethnicities consume marijuana at roughly the same rates.
- A 2022 Washington Post analysis determined, “While marijuana arrests overall dropped in the year since Virginia became the first state in the South to legalize, Black adults accounted for nearly 60 percent of marijuana-related cases before the state’s general district and circuit courts, an analysis of marijuana-related code citations in the state’s court system concluded, despite Black people accounting for about 20 percent of the state population.”
- A 2022 analysis of marijuana possession arrests in Texas for the years 2017 to 2019 reported that African Americans comprised 30.2 percent of all possession arrests, yet Black people comprised only 12.9 percent of the state’s population.
- A 2021 analysis of marijuana-related arrests in 2020 in New York City’s five boroughs reported that people of color comprised 94 percent of those arrested.
- A 2021 analysis from the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin District Attorney’s Office reported that Black Wisconsinites were 4.3 times more likely than their white counterparts to be convicted for having marijuana. The worst disparities in Wisconsin are in Ozaukee County, where Black people are 34.9 times more likely to be arrested and Manitowoc County, where Black people are 29.9 times more likely to be arrested.”
- A 2020 analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union, concluded, “Black people are 3.64 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession, notwithstanding comparable usage rates.” Authors reported, “In every single state, Black people were more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, and in some states, Black people were up to six, eight, or almost ten times more likely to be arrested. In 31 states, racial disparities were actually larger in 2018 than they were in 2010.”