It is common knowledge that racial disparities play a hand in arrest rates between white and black people, but just how much more likely is a black person to be arrested than a white person? One law firm sought the answer to this question, with a focus on marijuana possession arrests in the United States. A law firm in Cincinnati used data from an analysis conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to find the 50 counties across the country where black people were a lot more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people.
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One county stood out far above the rest. Pickens County in Georgia was found to arrest black people for marijuana possession at a rate of 97.3 times more than white people for the same crime. The county with the next highest ratio was less than half of Pickens’ with a black/white arrest rate ratio of 44.6x The chart also includes a map that shares the average rate of racial disparity for each state as well. Symbols on the map notate whether the states had legalized or decriminalized marijuana at the time this data was analyzed back in 2018. Surprisingly some of the states where marijuana was legal at the time were still found to have a higher likelihood of black people being arrested for marijuana possession. Maine was the worst offender in this case, with black people being four times as likely to be arrested, even though marijuana was legal in the state. Which county or state were you surprised to see had such a large racial disparity in marijuana possession arrests?