New Jersey: Racial Disparity In Marijuana Arrest Rates Rising

Newark, NJ: African Americans are arrested in New Jersey for violating marijuana possession laws at approximately three times the rate of whites and this disparity is rising, according to an analysis of statewide arrest data by the American Civil Liberty Union.

Researchers reviewed marijuana possession arrests records from the years 2000 to 2013. They found that blacks were 2.2 times as likely as whites to be arrested for possessing marijuana in 2000, but three times as likely to be arrested by 2013.

Recent reviews of statewide arrest data from California, Maryland, and Virginia have identified similar trends. A 2013 American Civil Liberties Union study found that nationwide blacks are approximately four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though both ethnicities consume the substance at approximately similar rates.

Overall, New Jersey police made some 280,000 marijuana possession arrests between 2000 and 2013, with annual arrests increasing 26 percent during this time.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the report, “Unequal & Unfair: NJ’s War on Marijuana Users,” is online.