Marijuana Decriminalization Reduces Arrests And Racial Disparities In Law Enforcement, Study Finds

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Another study has found that decriminalizing marijuana not only significantly decreases arrests for possession overall but that it also reduces racial disparities in any remaining arrests. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego examined FBI Uniform Crime Report data for 37 states between 2000 and 2019 to determine the impact of decriminalization policies. “Minorities often bear the brunt of unequal enforcement of drug laws,” the paper, which was published this month in the journal Social Science & Medicine,” notes. “In the U.S., Blacks have been disproportionately more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than Whites despite a similar rate of cannabis use.” The analysis shows that decriminalization helps to reduce that historically discriminatory enforcement. “Cannabis possession arrest rates declined over 70 percent among adults and over 40 percent among youths after the implementation of cannabis decriminalization in 11 states,” the study found. “Among adults, decriminalization was associated with a roughly 17 percent decrease in racial disparity in arrest rates between Blacks and Whites.” Interestingly, while arrests for young people overall declined among both white and black populations after a state decriminalized marijuana, “there was no evidence for a change in racial disparity” for that age group. The study authors also noted that decriminalization “seemed to be particularly beneficial to Blacks, who were suffering the most from the adverse consequences of criminal penalties.” “Taken together, we recommend that lawmakers and public health researchers reconsider cannabis decriminalization as an option of cannabis liberalization, particularly in states concerning the unintended consequences and implementation costs of medical and recreational cannabis legalization,” they wrote in the paper, which was first noted by Forbes. “Cannabis decriminalization was associated with substantially lower cannabis possession arrest rates among both adults and youths and among both Blacks and Whites… These findings suggested that cannabis decriminalization had its…

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Source : Marijuana Decriminalization Reduces Arrests And Racial Disparities In Law Enforcement, Study Finds

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