American Civil Liberties Union Says Over 8 Million Arrested For Marijuana Between 2001 And 2010

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The American Civil Liberties Union just took a hard look at marijuana and found that your chances of getting busted may depend greatly on the color of your skin.

“This is the first report to look at marijuana arrests around the country for all 50 states and their respective counties,” Ezekiel Edwards of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot. “And we looked specifically also at racial disparities.”

He said they found that between and 2001 and 2010, over eight million people were arrested in America for marijuana offenses and almost 90 percent of them were for marijuana possession.

He said they also found that racial disparities in these arrests, despite comparable usage rates between blacks and whites for marijuana, existed across the country in virtually every county they looked at.

LINK: Read The Report

He said blacks were usually almost four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. In some states, such as Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota, and in Washington, D.C., blacks were eight times more likely to be arrested.

What about New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York?

“We had seen that disparity in Manhattan and in Brooklyn, where blacks were nine times as likely to be arrested as whites,” Edwards said. “But we saw these disparities we didn’t know about.”

In Connecticut, blacks are about three times more likely to be arrested and, in New Jersey, it’s just under three times as likely.

About New Jersey, Edwards said, “So, they’re slightly under the national average, but there’s still a disparity. They’re still spending money and prioritizing marijuana arrests among drug arrests.”

He said the highest disparities in New Jersey were in Monmouth and Ocean counties and in Connecticut, they were found in Middlesex and New London counties.

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