Skip to Content

Los Angeles Not Immune to Racial Disparity in Weed Busts

11:27 AM PDT on July 24, 2012

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.

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Register to continue

Become a Member

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

Lumpia Burgers, Tosilog Burritos, and Sisig Quesadillas at Carson’s Filipino Mom-Pop-and-Son Shop

Today, only a weathered banner by the front door hints at the blissful Mexican-American-Filipino fusion that Gilbert, a first-generation, Carson-born-and-raised son of restaurateurs, now hosts at his restaurant, BaBoys.

December 7, 2023

Councilmember Kevin de León Opposes Boyle Heights Development, Following Appeal By ‘Anti-Gentrification’ Group

The move for a politician to openly support an anti-gentrification group is uncommon in Los Angeles, where three city council members have been convicted of corruption in four years. Find Kevin de León's full letter in the article.

December 7, 2023

L.A. Buses Plan To Use AI Technology and On-Board Cameras to Ticket Drivers For This One Infraction

The cameras peer out of the buses' dashboards, while an onboard computer uses artificial intelligence to analyze the video and automatically issue citations to cars if they are in the way of the bus.

December 7, 2023

How L.A. Inspires Indigenous Composer Raven Chacon’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning ‘Noise Music’

"I’ll start by saying that Indigenous people who are within the borders of this country are not necessarily in this nation by choice. We have conceded to being American because these are our homelands, and we want to remain in them, and the country has built itself around us." Chacon says.

December 7, 2023
See all posts