Reefer madness. The upcoming debate in the Virginia General Assembly over decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana may have racial overtones. VCU Capital News Service studied the data for marijuana arrests in Virginia from 2010 through 2016. African Americans were 3.2 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana crimes than whites. At the same time separate research shows almost no difference in marijuana use between white and black Americans. Across America it’s even worse. Nationally, a black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for a marijuana crime than a white person.
Location, location, location. VCU Capital News Service breaks down the data by locality. You can find the numbers here. The only jurisdictions where the per capita arrest rate for whites is higher than blacks are those counties where the population is so low that a single arrest can make a statistical difference. Highland County, for example, averaged 13 African American residents over the study’s time period and none of the 13 were arrested for marijuana crimes. Two white people (out of about 2,200) were arrested for marijuana crimes in Highland County. In all of Virginia’s populous localities the African American arrest rate was notably higher than the corresponding rate for white people. In Hanover County for example, blacks were arrested at a frequency 6.3 times that of whites.
Libtopia. Anybody who has ever been to Arlington County knows that safe spaces are mandated by the building codes, snowflakes can be seen in July and rainbow colored unicorns prance in the bike lanes. It’s a progressive paradise. So it probably comes as a surprise that African Americans were more than eight times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana crimes in Arlington from 2010 – 2016. Arlington County’s Board has five Democrats, no Republicans and no independents. The lone independent (John Vihstadt) was defeated in November. How is it possible for the Lions of Libtopia to turn a blind eye to rampant racism occurring in their social justice warrior wonderland?
The Hook is dope. If you do want to posses marijuana you ought to consider residing in the City of Charlottesville (25 total arrests per 100,000 residents) rather than the City of Emporia (1,595 total arrests per 100,000 residents). You are 64 times more likely to get a reefer bust in Emporia than in Charlottesville. Does anybody think that the people of Emporia use marijuana 64 times more often than the people in Charlottesville? In fairness, I95 comprises about 1/2 of the border of Emporia so many of the arrests may be people using that highway. However, Falls Church (51) vs Fairfax City (589) makes one wonder.
Unfair at any speed. As the General Assembly considers decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana it should also consider the fairness of the present system. Vast differences are observable in the enforcement of marijuana laws across race and location. In locality after locality you are more likely to be arrested for marijuana if you are black vs white. The City of Charlottesville (pop 45k) made 11 marijuana related arrests from 2010 through 2016, fewer than 2 per year. The City of Danville (pop 43k) made 354 arrests over the same period, over 50 per year.
— Don Rippert