By Keith Humphreys for The Washington Post. Marijuana legalization is often touted as a sure route to ending racial disparities in pot-related arrests. But a just-released study indicates that African Americans in legalization states continue to endure marijuana arrests at a higher rate than people of other races.
Mike Males, a senior research fellow at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, compared marijuana arrest data from before and after the 2012 legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Arrest rates tumbled in both states from 2008 to 2014, dropping by 90 percent in Washington and 60 percent in Colorado.
But the racial disparity in arrests didn’t budge. In both states the post-legalization arrest rate for blacks was just over double that for non-blacks, just as it was before legalization.