Report: The War on Marijuana in Black and White

Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests

Document Date: June 3, 2013

Read our 2020 report, 'A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform'

Over-Policing: Between 2001 and 2010, there were over 8 million pot arrests in the U.S. That’s one bust every 37 seconds and hundreds of thousands ensnared in the criminal justice system.

Wasted Time and Money: Enforcing marijuana laws costs us about $3.6 billion a year, yet the War on Marijuana has failed to diminish the use or availability of marijuana.

Staggering Racial Bias: Marijuana use is roughly equal among Blacks and whites, yet Blacks are 3.73 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.

Update (09/11/2013): In the original version of this report, the Minnesota dollar figure under "Money spent enforcing marijuana possession laws in 2010" on page 158 was mistakenly printed as $94,838,792. The correct figure is $42,071,288. We apologize for the error and have made the correction in the online version of the report.

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