Arresting Latinos for Marijuana in California: Possession Arrests in 33 Cities, 2006-08

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October 2, 2010
Levine, Harry G., et al.
Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance and the William C. Velasquez Institute have released a report that documents widespread race-based disparities in the enforcement of low-level marijuana possession laws in California. In the last 20 years, California made 850,000 arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana, and half a million arrests in the last 10 years. The people arrested were disproportionately African Americans and Latinos, overwhelmingly young people, especially young men. Yet, U.S. government surveys consistently find that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young Latinos. From 2006 through 2008, major cities in California arrested and prosecuted Latinos for marijuana possession at double to nearly triple the rate of whites.

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