Budding Insights: Cannabis Usage vs. Arrest Rates

This is the first installment of Budding Insights, our monthly insights about cannabis.

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The 2020 analysis from the ACLU finds that while arrests for marijuana possession have gone down since 2010, they still made up 43% of all drug arrests in 2018. In every state, including those where marijuana has been legalized, Blacks are more likely to be arrested for possession. The severity of this racial disparity varies by state, ranging from 1.5 at the lowest end in Colorado to more than 7x in Iowa, West Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky, and Montana.

As a country, we are finally engaged in a national conversation about institutionalized racism in law enforcement. It is important to understand that that the issues we are confronting today stem from deeply ingrained racialized criminal justice policies that leads to the disproportionate criminalization of Blacks and other people of color.