Blacks more likely to be arrested than whites for marijuana possession in D.C., ACLU says

The ACLU is speaking out against disparities in arrests for marijuana possession in D.C. after releasing data showing that blacks are eight times more likely than whites to be arrested for possessing marijuana.

D.C.’s rate of arrests exceeds national trends. The ACLU’s report, released earlier in June, shows that nationally blacks were 3.73 more times likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites in 2010.

Blacks make up slightly more than 50 percent of the district’s population but made up 91 percent of the arrests for marijuana possession, according to the ACLU.

"Racial disparity of this magnitude simply cannot be justified," says the ACLU Organizer Seema Sadanandan in a statement. "These statistics strongly suggest that the drug laws are not enforced with an even hand across the District of Columbia. Knowledge of these facts makes it incumbent on the D.C. Council to take action."

Blacks were arrested at a rate of 537 per 100,000 people nationally in 2001. In 2010, their arrest rate rose to 716 per 100,000. The 2001 number for white people was 191 per 100,00 and rose to 192 per 100,000 in 2010, the ACLU said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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