Law enforcement knowledge launched by the California Department of Justice reveals that in 2019 the state recorded the bottom variety of felony marijuana arrests since 1954, whereas displaying that the racial disparity at play in such arrests continues to develop. 

In the division’s newest “Crime in California” report, regulation enforcement officers reported that 1,181 arrests for marijuana felonies had been made in 2019, down 27% from 1,617 in 2018, the primary 12 months of authorized leisure marijuana gross sales within the state. The knowledge shouldn’t be damaged down by offense however contains such actions as unlicensed hashish gross sales or cultivation and marijuana gross sales to minors.

While the full variety of marijuana arrests declined final 12 months, “the harassment went up,” said Donnie Anderson, the co-founder of the hashish commerce group California Minority Alliance.

In an analysis of the information, the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Cal NORML) stated that the 2019 variety of felony marijuana arrests is the bottom complete since 1954. A complete of three,769 misdemeanor marijuana arrests had been additionally made final 12 months, down barely from the three,835 arrests recorded in 2018.

The report additionally revealed that the racial disparity prevalent within the enforcement of the nation’s drug legal guidelines continues in California regardless of legalization. According to demographic data included with the arrest knowledge, Hispanic individuals made up 42% of the felony marijuana arrests within the state final 12 months, whereas Black individuals accounted for 22%. White individuals made up 21% of these arrested, whereas different teams accounted for 15% of arrests.

Misdemeanor marijuana arrests confirmed even larger racial disparities. Hispanic individuals made up 49.6% of the arrests and Black individuals accounted for 13.5%, whereas white defendants tallied solely 22.2% of these arrested.

People Of Color Face Higher Rates Of Arrest

When the information was weighted for California’s inhabitants and in comparison with earlier years, Cal NORML found that Black individuals had been 4.47 instances extra prone to be arrested for a marijuana crime than whites, up from 4.05 instances in 2018. Latinx individuals had been 2.02 extra prone to be arrested than whites in 2019, in comparison with the determine of 1.66 instances extra seemingly that was recorded the earlier 12 months. In its evaluation, Cal NORML used 2018 knowledge which confirmed that California’s inhabitants was 39.3% Hispanic, 36.6% white non-Hispanic, and 5.8% Black.

Ellen Komp, the deputy director for Cal NORML, stated that the racial disparities discovered within the marijuana felony arrest knowledge are indicative of the problem that Black individuals, Hispanic individuals, and different racial minorities have in coming into the state’s authorized hashish market because of excessive licensing and regulatory charges and different prices.

The share of each Black and Hispanic individuals arrested for marijuana offenses “is troubling, especially now that we’ve legalized it,” Komp stated. “It’s legal if you have the venture capital to open up on Main Street.”

A research by the American Civil Liberties Union launched earlier this 12 months confirmed that racial disparities within the enforcement of marijuana legal guidelines exist not solely in California however in all 50 states. Nationwide, Black persons are 3.6 instances extra prone to be arrested for marijuana than white individuals, regardless of related charges of utilization.

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