Marijuana Legalization Would Help with Racial Problems in America

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African Americans and Latino Americans are disproportionately being arrested for marijuana possession compared to white Americans.

marijuana_arrest_rates_by_race_year

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SOURCE: CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT

By looking at these graphs one can clearly see that African Americans and Latino Americans are getting arrested much more than white Americans. Considering that these minority groups make up a much smaller percentage of the population this is glaring problem with the police force. Considering how often the police department is accused of being racist towards people of color this certainly does not help their case.

I personally believe that possessing small amounts of marijuana should not even lead to an arrest because it is a non-violent crime with no malicious intent. I also believe that country-wide legalization would be a good step towards a more fair police force that, even if they want to, cannot target minorities.

Positive steps are being taken to help with this issue, with proposition 64 being passed in California, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, San Francisco is to recall and re-sentence close to 5000 felony marijuana convicts as well as dismissing over 3000 misdemeanor charges (Time). According to an assessment of the San Francisco police department made in 2016 by the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services,
black and Latino drivers were disproportionately searched and arrested compared to white drivers, though they were less likely to find contraband on black and Latino drivers (NPR). Therefore the re-sentencing is going to disproportionately help Latinos and African Americans. This is just a small example of the positive impact of marijuana legalization.

It might be a while before the police force is completely fair and just but marijuana legalization is an important step in eliminating the disparity in arrests by race.

Sources:

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/12/497702291/review-finds-san-francisco-police-disproportionately-targeted-minorities

http://time.com/5128090/san-francisco-marijuana-convictions-cleared/?xid=homepage

Graphs From:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/06/04/the-blackwhite-marijuana-arrest-gap-in-nine-charts/?utm_term=.7f5384861499

https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/police-bust-blacks-pot-possession-after-decriminalization/Content?oid=13004240

Cover Image From:

Diversity adds competitiveness