“ACLU Report Says Marijuana Laws Discriminate Against Blacks,” James Swift
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A recently released report from the American Civil Liberties Union, titled “The War on Marijuana in Black and White” reveals major racial disparities in marijuana arrests. Nationwide, African-Americans are nearly “four times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.” Illinois stands out as having some of the worst racial disparities in the country with African-Americans nearly “eight times more likely than whites to be arrested.” Although the report shows that such racial inequity exists almost everywhere in the nation, Cook County is singled out as having more marijuana possession arrests in 2010 than any other county in the country with more than 33,000 arrests. 73% of those arrests were African-Americans who account for just 25% of the county’s population. Kathleen Kane-Willis of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy explained some of the long-term consequences of these disparate arrests: “You can be denied housing, she said. You can be denied employment. And if you’re in school, if it were a felony conviction, you would be denied financial aid.”