Blacks four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana

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(WTVM) - Even though blacks and whites used the drug in similar rates, blacks were nearly four times as likely to be arrested on charges of marijuana possession.

In some states, such as Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois, blacks were around eight times as likely to be arrested, based on a report being released this week by the American Civil Liberties Union.

This leads some to believe that blacks may be singled out and targeted for marijuana arrests.

About half of all drug arrests in 2011 were on marijuana-related charges.

In recent years, 13 states have passed or expanded marijuana decriminalization laws, and 18 states allow medical marijuana use.

The A.C.L.U report says that federal programs such as the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program gives incentives for racial profiling by including arrest numbers in performance measures, which encourage police departments to target minority or poorer neighborhoods to meet arrest quotas.

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