Black Chicago Areas Bear Brunt of Pot Enforcement

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Four years after the Chicago City Council decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, African-American neighborhoods continue to bear the brunt of enforcement, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Police are making a small fraction of the arrests for misdemeanor marijuana possession they made in 2011, the last full year before cops were given the option of ticketing, rather than locking up, people caught with about half an ounce or less.

But 18 of the city’s 20 community areas with the highest rates of pot possession arrests and 17 of the 20 with the highest rates of ticketing are majority African-American. Twelve of the 20 neighborhoods with the lowest rates are mostly white. The others are predominantly Hispanic or don’t have a majority population group. That’s despite the fact that academic studies have found marijuana usage is similar across racial and ethnic boundaries.

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