Is it a smoke screen, or proof of the need for change?
As California prepares to vote on Proposition 19, which would legalized recreational use of marijuana for people over the age of 18, a new study by the NAACP finds that the state’s African American and Latino citizens are far more likely to be arrested for low level pot possession even though whites, according to government statistics, use the drug in greater numbers.
“Since 1990, arrests for nearly every serious crime have declined in California,” the report says. ” Yet arrests for possession of marijuana, usually for very small amounts, have tripled. In 2009 alone, police departments in California made 61,000 marijuana possession arrests. The people arrested were disproportionately African Americans and Latinos, and overwhelmingly young people, especially young men.”