A new study finds that pot smokers in Maryland are far more likely to be arrested if they have dark skin. the Baltimore Brew reports. The findings show that African Americans make up 30% of the population, but 58% of the pot arrests in the state.
And arrest rates have markedly increased in the past decade—at least for black folks. The paper found that pot arrests during that time increased by 5,614 for the black minority, but only by 371 for the white majority.
"This report proves something we police have known for a long time: The drug war is inherently racist in its execution," wrote Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "And as a Maryland police officer for 34 years, I can tell you that race-based policing of marijuana users does nothing to make communities safer."
Maryland has the fourth highest cannabis arrest rate in the country (409 per 100,000 people), according to the study, with only Washington, D.C., New York, and Nebraska arresting more potheads per capita. Marijuana arrests account for half of all drug-related arrests in the state.
The study from the ACLU of Maryland follows up on a national ACLU study released earlier this year that showed blacks are arrested for pot at higher rates than whites in 96% of American counties—suggesting the war on pot is inherently racist throughout the country. Most black people already knew this from experience, of course, and many white folks were surprised that someone finally used a spreadsheet to convince them of the drug war's racist application.