AAlthough California legalized marijuana over two years ago, racial differences in drug arrests worsen in its largest city. Since legalization came into effect in January 2018, the Los Angeles police have arrested more black residents every year for violating marijuana law. Black people have a larger share in the total arrests of marijuana in the city each year.
A recent one report in Crosstown looked at arrest dates from the LAPD. It turned out that the LA police conducted a total of 588 marijuana arrests in 2017, before legalization came into force. There were 620 arrests in 2018 and 617 arrests in 2019. In 2017, 29 percent of those arrested were black. 39 percent in 2018; and 42 percent in 2019.
Hispanic arrests fell sharply a year after legalization, but rose again in 2019, up to 37 percent of all marijuana arrests – almost exactly where they were before legalization. Arrests of multiethnic ("other") people have also increased slightly since legalization. White people are the only race group in which less marijuana has been arrested each year since 2017. They rose from 23 percent of arrests in 2017 to 12 percent in 2019.
The majority of the arrests related to charges for selling or “transporting” marijuana with the intent to sell. A prosecutor's office reached from Crosstown pointed to the problem with many of these charges: the police often don't see how we sell weeds. Instead, they make assumptions based on objects that they uncover in a search, such as B. plastic bags or scales, or even just owning a relatively large amount.
The report also highlighted some of the city's other racial differences in marijuana. More affluent and whiter quarters in the north and west of the city have dozens of licensed marijuana pharmacies, while the city's heavily black and Latin American south side has fewer than 10 shops. These communities therefore have less legal options to get cannabis.
filter previously reported about the highly segregated legal cannabis industry in the city, dominated by white business owners, and beyond Failure of local politicians to make it easier for black and Latin American cannabis companies to operate.
The new insights are correct an ACLU report released on April 20 this year who dealt with marijuana arrests in all 50 states between 2000 and 2018. Based on this, black arrest rates for marijuana across the state of California have decreased slightly after legalization. But blacks are still 1.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than whites.
The racial differences are very different at the district level. The worst are in mostly rural Siskiyou County in the north of the state on the Oregon border. Black people there are more than eight times more likely than white people to be arrested for cannabis.
In Los Angeles, local organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have asked the mayor's office and the police department to explain why black arrest rates are trending. At the same time, the Los Angeles People's Budget– A coalition led by Black Lives Matter LA – calls for a dramatic cut in the city's law enforcement budget and reallocation of funds for housing, healthcare and youth development.
Downtown Los Angeles photo via Flickr travel connection /Creative Commons 2.0.