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US Report: Pot arrests still fall heavily on Hispanics, Blacks

03:05  17 july  2020
03:05  17 july  2020 Source:   msn.com

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A new report finds black people remain more likely to face pot charges in Colorado, where cops are performing thousands of fewer arrests in keeping The new report , published by the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance using law enforcement data, finds pot -related arrests fell roughly 85 percent

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The number of felony marijuana arrests in California continued to decline in 2019 in the age of legalization, but another trend remained unchanged: those arrests fell disproportionately on Hispanics and Blacks, state data showed.

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2017, file photo, a sheriff's deputy arrests a man for allegedly cultivating marijuana in unincorporated Calaveras County, Calif. Arrest data released by the California Department of Justice show there were 1,181 felony marijuana arrests in California in 2019, down 27% from 2018, of 1,617 arrests and the lowest number since 1954. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2017, file photo, a sheriff's deputy arrests a man for allegedly cultivating marijuana in unincorporated Calaveras County, Calif. Arrest data released by the California Department of Justice show there were 1,181 felony marijuana arrests in California in 2019, down 27% from 2018, of 1,617 arrests and the lowest number since 1954. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

The California Department of Justice, in an annual snapshot of crime rates in the nation's most populous state released earlier this month, said there were 1,181 felony cannabis arrests last year, down from 1,617 in 2018, the first year of broad legalization. That represents a 27% decline.

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Police will still arrest public tokers if they’re on probation or parole, are a violent offender or if cops deem them a public safety threat. “If the pool of people who are not eligible for the more lenient treatment are more likely to be black or Hispanic, then the law is being enforced in a racist way

The report shows that blacks and Hispanics accounted for 86.87 percent of low-level marijuana arrests since de Blasio became mayor. Research has repeatedly shown that white people smoke about the same amount of pot as black and Hispanic people do. Data from the National Survey on

FILE - This Wednesday, June 19, 2019, file photo released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff shows an illegal cannabis cultivation site in the City of Santa Maria, in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. The number of felony marijuana arrests in California continued to plunge in 2019 in the age of legalization, but another trend remained unchanged: those arrests fell disproportionately on Hispanics and Blacks, state data showed. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - This Wednesday, June 19, 2019, file photo released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff shows an illegal cannabis cultivation site in the City of Santa Maria, in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. The number of felony marijuana arrests in California continued to plunge in 2019 in the age of legalization, but another trend remained unchanged: those arrests fell disproportionately on Hispanics and Blacks, state data showed. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff via AP, File)

According to a breakdown of demographic data, Hispanics accounted for nearly 42% of those arrests, followed by Blacks, at 22%, with whites at 21%. Other groups accounted for the remainder.

The overall number of arrests declined last year, but “the harassment went up,” Donnie Anderson, co-founder of the cannabis trade group California Minority Alliance, said in an email.

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23 were either black or Hispanic while just 7% were white, according to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. In all, 89% of all New Yorkers arrested for smoking marijuana last year through Nov. "The pool of people who are going to get arrested are more heavily black and Latino to begin with."

Ellen Komp, deputy director of the California arm of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, known as NORML, said Thursday the figures point to the difficulty many Hispanics and Blacks have had entering the legal market, which comes with hefty investment costs, taxes and regulatory fees.

FILE - In this March 15, 2018 file photo, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy keeps watch on a group of people apprehended at an illegal marijuana dispensary in Compton, Calif. The number of felony marijuana arrests in California continued to plunge in 2019 in the age of legalization, but another trend remained unchanged: those arrests fell disproportionately on Hispanics and Blacks, state data showed. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this March 15, 2018 file photo, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy keeps watch on a group of people apprehended at an illegal marijuana dispensary in Compton, Calif. The number of felony marijuana arrests in California continued to plunge in 2019 in the age of legalization, but another trend remained unchanged: those arrests fell disproportionately on Hispanics and Blacks, state data showed. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

The percentage of Black and Hispanic arrests "is troubling, especially now that we've legalized it," Komp said. “It's legal if you have the venture capital to open up on Main Street.”

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While arrests for aggressive, threatening or hateful speech on social media declined between 2010 and 2013, the numbers rose last year. According to the Register, a total of 2,500 Londoners have been arrested over the past five years for allegedly sending “offensive” messages via social media.

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The report did not include a breakdown of the charges, but they could include such violations as unlicensed cultivation and sales of marijuana, or sales to a minor.

Misdemeanor marijuana arrests were down slightly in 2019: They numbered 3,769, versus 3,835 in 2018, NORML said.

In a statement, NORML said Blacks were 4.47 times more likely than whites to be arrested for a marijuana crime in California in 2019, compared with 4.05 times as often in 2018, when weighted for population. Hispanics were about twice as likely as whites to be arrested, also up from 2018, the group said.

The number of felony arrests last year marked the lowest figure since 1954, NORML said.

California broadly legalized marijuana in January 2018, after voters approved the move in 2016. In general, California treats cannabis like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce and grow six marijuana plants at home. Shops, cultivation and manufacturing in the legal market must be licensed by the state.

However, robust illegal sales, free of hefty taxes that can approach 50% in some communities, continue to outpace the legal market.

Law enforcement has long been criticized for disproportionate marijuana arrest rates for people of color. A study earlier this year by the American Civil Liberties Union found that nationwide, Black people are 3.6 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana, despite similar usage rates.

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This is interesting!