Another one for individuals who assume that pores and skin color doesn’t matter within the 21st century.

A collection of WTF figures that defy description however on the similar time an article that must be learn so as to get some degree of undersatnding of the systematic modifications that must be made ni what’s ostensibly a authorized state to smoke hashish

XTOWNLA stories…

Black individuals now make up a bigger share of these arrested by the LAPD for marijuana offenses than earlier than 2018

In 2017, when leisure hashish was nonetheless unlawful in California, the Los Angeles Police Department arrested 173 Black individuals for marijuana-related offenses. The subsequent 12 months, hashish was legalized, and the LAPD arrested 239 Black individuals for these offenses. Last 12 months, the quantity jumped once more, to 261.

The climbing numbers of arrests for Black individuals level to a persistent failure in the way in which marijuana legalization has performed out throughout Los Angeles.

In 2016, voters in California passed Prop. 64, which made leisure hashish use authorized. It went into impact on Jan. 1, 2018. The measure drew broad assist, particularly from civil rights groups, which famous that Black and Latino communities had endured disproportionately greater arrest charges and stiffer sentences beneath drug legal guidelines. Advocates thought the brand new regulation would reverse this troubling development.

But within the two and a half years since marijuana use was legalized, the other has occurred. Though overall arrests for marijuana-related offenses have fallen sharply over the previous decade, Black individuals now make up a bigger share of these being detained.

In 2016, Black individuals accounted for 32.2% of all marijuana arrests in Los Angeles. Last 12 months, that portion rose to 42.3%, according to LAPD dataBlack people make up 8.9% of the town’s inhabitants.

White individuals, in the meantime, accounted for 20% of all marijuana arrests in 2016. Last 12 months, they accounted for under 11.5%. Non-Hispanic white persons are roughly 28.5% of the town’s inhabitants.

Post-legalization, extra Black individuals arrested for marijuana

Graphics by Kiera Smith

“Marijuana legalization can dramatically reduce arrests overall, including the numbers of arrests of people of color, but it can’t alone undo racially biased policing and the much larger issue of how and why we over and unfairly police some communities,” stated Tamar Todd, a civil rights lawyer who serves on the California Cannabis Advisory Committee. “And I think these numbers reflect that large problem.”

According to Todd, the rise in racial disparities in California in addition to different states, akin to akin to Maine and Massachusetts, has occurred as a result of, “We devote more police resources toward controlling and over-policing Black communities and that will tragically be reflected in more arrests for every category of offense than in communities. …with little police presence,” she stated.

Marijuana enforcement has traditionally focused Black and Latino individuals disproportionately, according to a study from the UC Davis Law Review. The findings present that from 2006 – 2008, Black individuals have been arrested for marijuana possession at charges as much as twelve instances the white fee in 25 California cities. It was seven instances better in Los Angeles. That similar research discovered that from 2004 – 2008, Black individuals in all of California’s largest counties have been arrested for marijuana possession at “double, triple, even quadruple” the charges of white individuals.


Black individuals now account for the most important share of marijuana arrests

Chart showing a decade of marijuana arrests broken down by race


Legalization was supposed to alter that. Making possession of as much as an oz not a criminal offense was anticipated to dramatically cut back the burden on Black and Latino communities.

In reality, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Drug Policy Alliance all supported Prop. 64, claiming it might cut back mass incarceration for individuals of coloration and assist right uneven sentencing tips ensuing from drug insurance policies, according to reporting by Cal Matters.

At a press conference earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom stated that marijuana legalization was a civil rights challenge and that he was proud California led the way in which to deal with racial disparities within the prison justice system and the “ills of the war on drugs.”


Unequal entry

Yet in Los Angeles, the disparities have solely widened. One of the potential causes is that those self same Black and Latino communities have had decrease ranges of entry to authorized marijuana within the metropolis.

Wealthier and predominantly white areas, akin to Studio CityNorth HollywoodFairfax and Westwood are dwelling to dozens of dispensaries. Meanwhile, all the south a part of Los Angeles, together with areas with bigger Black populations, akin to Hyde Park and Watts, has fewer than 10 dispensaries registered with the town.

Critics cost that the town’s course of for granting licenses for marijuana dispensaries didn’t provide ample alternatives to companies in areas that had borne the brunt of repressive drug insurance policies. The metropolis’s Department of Cannabis Regulation announced a social-equity program final summer time that might assist candidates making use of for possession alternatives within the marijuana business “in order to decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities and to address the disproportionate impacts of the War on Drugs.”

The Los Angeles City Council can also be changing the criteria for individuals who qualify for this system to make it possible for these hardest hit by unequal drug insurance policies are capable of profit, since Black hashish entrepreneurs are underrepresented. The metropolis can also be altering the principles about when hashish corporations can open in neighborhoods that already hit limits on the variety of dispensaries.

“Legalization creates legal access, but that access can be unequal,” stated Todd. “Those with the means to access limited legal supply, transport to a legal source, and private residence where they can legally consume reflect larger race and wealth disparities in society beyond marijuana.”


Calls for a brand new method to policing

A study by the ACLU masking 2010-2018 additionally discovered that Black individuals in California have been considerably extra probably than white individuals to be arrested for marijuana-related offenses. The similar ACLU research requires the police to determine new methods to measure productiveness as an alternative of utilizing metrics just like the variety of stops or citations and for states to reallocate assets for issues like public well being and community-based providers. The People’s Budget LA can also be calling for related reform in the way in which Angelenos tax {dollars} are spent.

Last month, the NAACP despatched a proposal titled “Black Community Wellness” to LAPD Chief Michel Moore and Mayor Eric Garcetti that recommends quite a lot of packages the town ought to implement to extend variety and inclusion, stated Ron Hasson, who serves as chair of the California-Hawaii State Conference Branch Development committee for the NAACP.

“We are interested in having conversations with the LAPD to get more insight as to why the [arrest] numbers are going up for African Americans,” stated Hasson. “Is it a result of racial profiling? It’s important that we understand how this law is affecting our community.”

A overwhelming majority of the arrests within the City of Los Angeles are listed as “possess marijuana for sale” or “transport/sell/furnish/etc.” marijuana with intent to promote. Of the 411 arrests this 12 months by means of June 22 (the newest interval for which knowledge is on the market), solely 20 obtained an infraction for smoking marijuana in public.

A detective on the 77th St. Station, who spoke on the situation of anonymity, stated they need to see somebody promoting marijuana or see there was proof the marijuana was for one thing apart from private use. That proof would come with issues akin to baggies or scales, the detective stated.

Nick Stewart-Oaten, an lawyer with the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s workplace, stated in possession-for-sale instances, it’s uncommon for a police report to say that an officer truly caught somebody promoting marijuana illegally. Stewart-Oaten added that, much more continuously, the police determine the defendant was promoting marijuana primarily based on parts the officer noticed throughout a cease or search, together with giant quantities of marijuana, baggies or different proof.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s workplace didn’t present remark to a written set of questions.

“The problem is that many of the things that suggest a defendant was selling marijuana can be interpreted multiple ways and are not necessarily proof that the defendant was selling,” stated Stewart-Oaten. “For example, the fact that the defendant had a lot of marijuana could mean the defendant was selling, but it could also just mean the defendant likes weed.”


How we did it: We examined LAPD marijuana arrest data from Jan. 1, 2016 – June 22, 2020.

Interested in our knowledge or have further questions? Email us at

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