Report: Colorado Marijuana Arrests Have Decreased, but Racial Disparities Persist
A recent report indicates that although the number of charges filed for marijuana possession have dropped dramatically in the past year, charges are still being filed disproportionately against racial minorities, according to an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette.
The report, based on an analysis by the Drug Policy Alliance, found that charges for marijuana possession, distribution, and cultivation dropped from about 39,000 charges filed in 2010 to just over 2,000 filed in 2014. This represents a decrease of about 95 percent, according to the report.
However, the report also noted that racial disparities in marijuana charges persisted even though the overall number of charges fell. For instance, the report noted that black Coloradoans were more than twice as likely to be charged with public consumption of marijuana as white Coloradoans. They were also more likely to face charges of growing or possessing more than the state’s legal limit of marijuana, which is currently one ounce or less. The report noted that while black individuals made up 3.9 percent of Colorado’s population in 2014, they accounted for 9.2 percent of arrests for marijuana possession.
Although Latinos currently number as the state’s largest racial minority, the report did not specify arrest or charge numbers for Latinos when it came to marijuana. That’s because the data used in the report came from the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which does not count Latino individuals who are charged with various crimes.
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