LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A new report released by the American Civil Liberties Union says that marijuana possession arrests have increased by almost 50% since 2010.
The report also says that black people in the state are “2.4 times more likely than white people to be arrested, despite comparable national marijuana usage rates.”
According to the report, “A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform,” Arkansas had the sixth largest increase in marijuana in the nation.
“With our mass incarceration crisis on the brink of becoming a public health crisis due to COVID-19, this report is a reminder of how racially-biased policies are putting the health and well-being of our communities at risk,” said Holly Dickson, legal director and interim executive director at the ACLU of Arkansas.
Dickson said these possession arrests “disproportionately impacts black communities and wastes millions of taxpayer dollars.” She also requested that state officials immediately release people from prisons and to “stop terrorizing our communities with a failed war on drugs.”
The report looks at marijuana possession arrests from 2010 to 2018 across the country.
According to the report, marijuana possession arrests made up 49% of all drug arrests in Arkansas in 2018. That places the state as the 15th highest arrest rate for marijuana possession.
The ACLU of Arkansas is asking for “full legalization of marijuana use and possession and specific measures to ensure legalization efforts are grounded in racial justice.”