So far this year, 47 people have been arrested for minor cannabis offenses in Minneapolis. And 46 of them were black.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is responding to this racial bias in cannabis arrests by ordering police to cease sting operations targeting low-level marijuana crimes after Hennepin County public defender's office released the startling figures. Frey, who is a proponent of legalizing cannabis, says cannabis legalization could rectify the massive racial disparity in cannabis arrests.
The original report, written by Hennepin County public defender Jess Braverman, claimed that police stings up until this point have been intentionally targeting black men.
"Officers have directly asked black men to facilitate drug deals with other black men, and have then requested that the facilitator be charged with sale," Braverman wrote. "Officers are seeking out extremely low-level marijuana transactions with people of color and are then arresting and booking the sellers and submitting the cases for felony charging."
The only white person arrested on marijuana charges this year was busted after approaching police and asking them to help conduct a drug deal. Which is about as bad a mugger taking a selfie with the victim.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo supports Mayor Frey's decision.
"We will discontinue specific, low-level marijuana enforcement, and I agree with the mayor's decision.I never want the MPD to contribute to a sense of hopelessness in our community."
That commitment brings Minneapolis one step closer to decriminalizing cannabis as communities in neighboring states like Michigan have done over the years to similarly combat racial disparities in cannabis arrests.