Marijuana Enforcement Disparities In California: A Racial Injustice

Low-level marijuana possession was reduced from a misdemeanor to an infraction in 2011, but new data analyses by the Drug Policy Alliance and the ACLU of California show that racial disparities in marijuana policing have persisted, despite marijuana usage rates being similar across racial and ethnic lines. Enforcement is nearly four times more severe for black Californians and 1.5 times more severe for Latino Californians than for whites.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act will not only regulate the marijuana industry in the state but will also remove marijuana possession penalties both prospectively and retroactively for adults. For youth, these penalties will be replaced with drug treatment and education in an effort to reduce the harms associated with criminal justice involvement at an early age.

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