D.C. Likes To Smoke

And the poice like to arrest users

By Chris Needham
|  Friday, Nov 6, 2009  |  Updated 10:30 AM EDT
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D.C. Likes To Smoke

David Sutherland

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If you like to smoke pot, D.C.'s a bad place to live.  D.C. leads the nation with the highest arrest rate, according to the Marijuana Policy Project's most recent report.

The MPP's report says 677 out of every 100,000 city residents are picked up and charged, which beats out New York (481) and Kentucky (479).  Yes, Kentucky. 

In all, 3,985 people were arrested for possession in D.C. in 2007, the year of the study.

Their report claims that 15.7 percent of D.C.'s residents had lit up in the past year and that just under 10 percent had within the last month.  The arrest rate, they claim, follows the relatively high usage rate.

Nationally, young people and African Americans are disproportionally affected by arrests.  Their report claims that:

  • Males aged 15 to 24 account for 52 percent of all marijuana arrests. While the national rate of marijuana possession arrests is 248 per 100,000, the arrest rate for males aged 15 to 19 is 1,911 per 100,000.
  • While the marijuana-use rate for African-Americans is only about 25 percent greater than for whites, the marijuana possession arrest rate for blacks is three times greater. This is not a regional disparity, but is seen in every state and most counties.

If those cold, hard numbers don't deter you, nothing will.

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