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Maryland Among States with Most Marijuana Arrests

Graphic: The ACLU finds African Americans in Maryland are three times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Graphic: The ACLU finds African Americans in Maryland are three times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession.
June 7, 2013

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Maryland is fourth in the nation when it comes to marijuana arrests.

And a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union also shows that African Americans are almost three times as likely as white people to be arrested for possession in the state.

Study author Ezekiel Edwards blames racial bias, since federal studies show that usage rates are about the same for both blacks and whites.

"Race being the one common factor here certainly raises questions about racial profiling, and community profiling,” he says. “And I think the police are more likely to go to certain neighborhoods."

The study found black people were almost five times more likely to be arrested than whites in Baltimore.

Edwards, director of the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project, says Maryland and neighboring Virginia are also spending heavily to crack down on marijuana use.

"Maryland spent an estimated $106 million enforcing marijuana arrests, Virginia over 67 million,” he says. “That's money that really should go to public schools, drug treatment and to fight serious crime."

Efforts to decriminalize marijuana failed in the Maryland General Assembly this year.


Alison Burns, Public News Service - MD