Marijuana Legalization Does Not Fix the Racial Disparity for Cannabis Arrests

One of the most commonly cited reasons for legalizing marijuana is the incredible disparity between how often white people and minorities are arrested for cannabis possession. But it turns out legalization isn't 100 percent fixing that issue.

While marijuana arrests have decreased significantly in states with legalized marijuana, Vox noted that the racial disparity in arrests still remain. Even in legalized states, white people are arrested at much smaller rates than black people and other minorities. For instance, in Washington D.C., black people are arrested four times more than white people.

washington dc marijuana arrests

Now obviously, the number of arrests are way down. In Washington D.C., arrests for marijuana possession among black people dropped by an incredible 99 percent. So cannabis legalization has greatly reduced the number of people going to jail for possession, which is obviously the most important part of the legalization. But there's obviously still something slightly off about current law enforcement policies if black people are still being targeted more often in the very few arrests being made.

Here's a look at how much marijuana arrests have dropped in states after legalization:

marijuana legalization arrest rates

Obviously we are still in the infancy of marijuana legalization and it will take a few years to work out the kinks for all these policies. But while we're on the right track, it's still good to remind ourselves that things can still be fixed.

(h/t Vox)


For cannabis enthusiasts living in adult use states, long gone are the days of sneaking around with a dime bag in a coat pocket and worrying about whether the neighbors know you’ve got weed. But the sad truth is that, for millions of Americans living in prohibition or restrictive medical-only states, accessing safe and regulated cannabis is still a problem. But does that mean that those living without access to the regulated market are abstaining from cannabis altogether?

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