Cannabis Decriminalization Reduces Racial Disparity in Arrests of Adults

High Times

An analysis of statistical data has found that cannabis decriminalization laws reduce, but not eliminate, the racial disparity in cannabis arrests that has plagued the United States for decades. However, the reduction in racial disparity was observed primarily among adults, and the research failed to reveal a similar drop among arrests of young people. In a study published recently in the peer-reviewed academic journal Social Science & Medicine, researchers affiliated with the University of California San Diego reviewed statistics from the FBI Uniform Crime Report from 2000 through 2019. Using data from 37 U.S. states including 11 states that passed marijuana decriminalization laws during that time period, researchers calculated cannabis possession arrest rates separately for Black and white people. “Cannabis decriminalization was associated with substantially lower cannabis possession arrest rates among both adults and youths and among both Blacks and whites,” the researchers wrote in their conclusion. “It reduced racial disparity between Blacks and whites among adults but not youths.” The 11 states that had enacted cannabis decriminalization measures saw a 70 percent reduction in total adult cannabis arrests after decriminalization, as well as a 40 percent reduction in cannabis arrests among young people. Analysis by researchers showed that the racial disparity in arrests of Black and white adults decreased significantly, dropping by 17 percent after cannabis decriminalization. “Cannabis decriminalization seemed to be particularly beneficial to Blacks, who were suffering the most from the adverse consequences of criminal penalties,” the researchers wrote in their report. “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.”  However, the data failed to show a significant reduction in the racial disparity in arrests of Black people younger than…

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Source : Cannabis Decriminalization Reduces Racial Disparity in Arrests of Adults

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