The ACLU put out a devastating report this week that shows how racially biased our judicial system, and how crazy the war on drugs is.
The ACLU studied marijuana arrest records by race between 2001 and 2010 and found that blacks are almost 4 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though blacks and whites use marijuana at comparable rates.
In Wisconsin, blacks are arrested at more than 6 times the rates of whites for possession of pot.
Here’s a pop quiz: How many more times is a black person likely to be arrested for pot possession than a white person in America?
This level of racist law enforcement is astonishing, or at least it should be. But the ACLU’s data is actually in keeping with other studies over the last decade that show how biased our system is, not only in arrests, but also in prosecutions, and in sentencing. I suppose if you’re a black man in America, these statistics are not astonishing at all, for the war on drugs has become, in large part, a war on black males, stunting their career options and life chances.
It’s also a huge waste of resources. In 2010 alone, there were 889,000 marijuana arrests around the country—and 780,000 of them were just for possession. That year, states spent more than three-and-a-half billion dollars enforcing the laws against possessing pot.
The ACLU says, “It’s time to end the failed war on marijuana” and it's time to” legalize possession.”
It’s long past time.
And let’s face it: We do not have equal justice under the law in America.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Stop the Trial of Bradley Manning.
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