Understandably, the legalization of pot has brought around fewer pot arrests, but a new study has shown that it doesn’t really solve one of the goals that drug reformers have. It hasn’t ended racial disparities. A report from the Drug Policy Alliance has released a report which states that pot arrests in Colorado have slowed to a trickle ever since voters made the drug legal for those who are over 21 years of age. The report examined any drug related arrest in 64 Colorado counties. The report ran for 4 years in total, 2 years before and 2 years after.
Total charges for cultivation, distribution, or possession fell 95% from approximately 39,000 to about 2,000 last year.
The report also noticed continuing racial inequalities. The fact is, even after marijuana was legalized, black people were still twice as likely to be charged with smoking marijuana in public, which is still a crime. Blacks were also more likely to be charged with the cultivation of pot if it is over the state-set limit. The analysis didn’t release any arrest data for other minorities such as Latinos. That is because the data for this comes from the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which doesn’t keep a tallied number on them.
Tom Gorman of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program argues that the figures do not indicate that officers are targeting people because of their color. Racial disparities exist in many other laws, and that those are things that we need to take a look at. But the news isn’t all bad, because disparities eased in terms of distribution charges. Black people made up 22% of the distribution arrests in the year 2010 and this dropped to 18% in the year 2014.
When the recreational marijuana stores opened, blacks made up around 3.9% of the population but they also made up for 9.2% of marijuana possession related arrests