A new report on Alabama’s ‘War on Marijuana,’ released today by the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center, calls prosecution of marijuana possession a wasteful use of state law enforcement that discriminates against blacks.
“This war on marijuana is one whose often life-altering consequences fall most heavily on black people,” the report said.
The history of criminalizing pot has it’s seeds in racist oppression, so it’s not really s shock that someplace like Alabama continues that tradition today.
Heres’ the nuts and bolts of the issue:
The report studied 2,351 arrests in Alabama for marijuana possession in 2016. Among the findings:
- The overwhelming majority of people arrested for marijuana offenses from 2012 to 2016, nearly 89 percent, were arrested for possession.
- Despite studies showing black and white people use marijuana at the same rates, black people were approximately four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession (both misdemeanors and felonies) in 2016 – and five times as likely to be arrested for felony possession.
- Alabama spent an estimated $22 million to enforce the prohibition against marijuana possession in 2016 – enough to fund 191 additional preschool classrooms, 571 more K-12 teachers or 628 more corrections officers.
The enforcement of marijuana possession laws has created a crippling backlog at the state agency tasked with analyzing forensic evidence in all criminal cases, including violent crimes.
At this stage of the game, continuing this prohibition is costly, racist, and just pointless.