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Black People in Arizona Twice as Likely to Get Arrested for Pot

Black people in Arizona are 2.4 times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession than White people, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

That's not even the worst part. This ACLU report shows that even though Black people are more than twice as likely than White people to get arrested for pot in Arizona, almost every other state has rates that are even worse, as Black people in some mid-west states are seven or even eight times more likely to get arrested for pot possession.

See also:
Marijuana Legalization Supported by More Than Half of Arizonans

The ACLU, as part of its argument against the War on Drugs, presents statistics showing what appears to be "a war on people of color."

"Despite the fact that marijuana is used at comparable rates by whites and Blacks, state and local governments have aggressively enforced marijuana laws selectively against Black people and communities," the report states. "In 2010, the Black arrest rate for marijuana possession was 716 per 100,000, while the white arrest rate was 192 per 100,000."

That means, nationwide, Black people were nearly four times as likely than White people to be arrested for marijuana possession.

That means Arizona's better than most other states in this regard -- or, at least, not as bad -- as only eight states have closer ratios for pot arrests between Black and White people, and Hawaii is the only state with a nearly 1:1 ratio.

As always, there's a caveat.

The report mentions that the four states with the highest Latino populations, California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, are all among the 10 states with the lowest disparities between arrests of Blacks and Whites and pot possession.

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The ACLU figures that most Latinos are actually classified by the FBI as White.

"That is, if many of those "white" arrests are actually arrests of Latinos, and if the Latino arrest rate is greater than the white arrest rate, the actual Black-white arrest rates are much greater than the disparities contained in the present data," the report says. "How much greater, unfortunately, cannot be ascertained from the present FBI/UCR data."

Click here to check out the full report.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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