While much has been made of New York City’s racially-disproportionate arrests of African-Americans for marijuana, the fact is that most large American cities suffer the same racist effect of our marijuana prohibition policies.
The Russ Belville Show analyzed census data and recent media reports on the arrests of African-Americans for marijuana possession and found that in at least eleven of the top 25 US cities by population, the percentage of marijuana arrests of blacks are 38% to over eight times greater than the percentage of black population in those cities. US surveys show that under age 25, whites are more likely to smoke marijuana, while over age 25, blacks are more likely to; however, three out of four marijuana arrests are for people under age 30 and over a third of those adults who use marijuana are aged 18-25.
The greatest racial disparity to be found among the Top 25 cities was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where just 7% of the population is black, but black people make up about 60% of the arrests for marijuana. According to research by Jon Gettman, Ph.D., “[b]lacks account for 12% of the population, 14% of annual marijuana users, and 31% of marijuana possession arrests” nationwide. Research also shows that same sort of gross racial disproportionality in the top 25 cities in California.