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Los Angeles Not Immune to Racial Disparity in Weed Busts

New York City has been in the news lately as the the pot-bust capital of the U.S.A., and data shows that NYC's reputation for targeting racial minorities is real and quantifiable. In fact, over the last 15 years, more than 85 percent of the half-million-plus people charged with misdemeanor possession there have been black or Latino.

Recently, professor Jon Gettman decided to look at the numbers that NORML has been collecting for years, and discovered that in 2008 African-Americans were 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 31.6 percent of those arrested for pot possession in cases where race was reported to the FBI. (2008 is the most recent year for which detailed figures are available.)

So how does Los Angeles fare? Not well. According to NORML's stats, in Los Angeles County, the arrest rate (as a % of population) for Marijuana possession by African-Americans is more than twice than whites. Put another way-- despite being 8% of the population, African-Americans account for roughly 25% of all pot possession arrests. Slightly lower than the national average, but nothing to be proud of. You can view the stats for yourself here.

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