A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform: ACLU - April, 2020
More than 6 million marijuana arrests occurred between 2010-2018. Even in states that have legalized marijuana, Black people are more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people.
The report finds that between 2001 and 2010, there were over 8 million marijuana arrests in the United States, 88% of which were for possession. Marijuana arrests have increased between 2001 and 2010 and now account for over half (52%) of all drug arrests in the United States, and marijuana possession arrests account for nearly half (46%) of all drug arrests. In 2010, there was one marijuana arrest every 37 seconds, and states spent combined over $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws. Money spent by NC enforcing marijuana possession: $54,934,668.
North Carolina Task Force For Racial Equity in Criminal Justice: Report 2020
Their recommendations included:
DE-EMPHASIZE DRUG POSSESSION.
De-emphasize (or make the lowest drug law enforcement priority) drug possession arrests for
trace quantities under 0.25 grams in non-ABC permitted locations.
DE-PRIORITIZE MARIJUANA-RELATED ARRESTS AND PROSECUTION.
De-emphasize (or make the lowest drug law enforcement priority) marijuana possession arrests in non-ABC permitted locations. Prosecutors should immediately de-prioritize marijuana-related prosecution.
DECRIMINALIZE THE POSSESSION OF UP TO 1.5 OUNCES OF MARIJUANA.
ounces of marijuana by making such possession a civil offense and to expunge past convictions
through an automatic process. When determining what civil penalty is appropriate, legislators
should consider alternatives to fines such as community service to avoid inequity in civil justice
debt. Implementation should include robust data collection to measure racial equity.
CONVENE A TASK FORCE OF STAKEHOLDERS TO STUDY MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION.
The Task Force further recommends that North Carolina convene a Task Force of stakeholders,
free from conflict of interest, to study the pros and cons and options for legalization of
possession, cultivation and/or sale, including government or not for profit monopoly options.
The study should be guided by a public health, public safety, and racial equity framework.