Report Shows Alabama Disproportionately Targets Black Cannabis Users
A new report shows that black cannabis users in Alabama are being disproportionately targeted for arrest and prosecution. The report, “War on Marijuana,” was released on Thursday by the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The report details the impact cannabis prohibition can have on the lives of black Alabamans, including one man who spent 15 months in jail for a dime bag of weed.
“This war on marijuana is one whose often life-altering consequences fall most heavily on black people,” the report said.
Researching arrests from 2016, the most recent year data was available, the report found that black people were nearly four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. The disparity for marijuana felonies was even greater, with arrests of blacks five times as likely as whites. The difference comes despite research that shows that blacks and whites use cannabis at the same rate.
The rate of disparity was highest in a small number of counties. Of the 50 Alabama law enforcement agencies with the most arrests for marijuana possession, the study found that seven police forces were 10 times as likely to arrest blacks. Statewide,