ACLU: Black people more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession

A report from the American Civil Liberties Union says black people are far more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession than white people, and the disparity in Minnesota is well above the national average

Despite similar levels of marijuana use, the report out Tuesday says nationwide in 2010, African Americans were nearly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, and nine times more likely in Hennepin County.

Chuck Samuelson, ACLU executive director in Minnesota, said law enforcement officials are not necessarily acting out of racism, he said, but that winds up being the effect.

"What I believe is that they are operating under the assumption that African Americans are more likely to use marijuana, which is not true," Samuelson said. "I think that the relative poverty in the African American community compared to the white community makes it easier to stop and arrest."

The majority of drug arrests now are for marijuana, but its use nationwide has not declined, Samuelson said.

"The war on drugs has failed horribly," he said. "We've spent billions of dollars, incarcerated millions of people and nothing has changed."

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