States that legalize or decriminalize marijuana see “large reductions in race-based arrests among adults” while those that maintain prohibition continue to experience “increases in arrest rate disparities,” a new study in a major scientific journal published by the American Medical Association found. The research looked at data from 43 states and identified a clear pattern. It might seem obvious on its face, but ending or loosening laws criminalizing cannabis is associated with significant arrest decreases compared to states that have maintained prohibition. The analysis of arrests, which specifically focused on trends related to race, compared data from 2008 to 2019. The researchers from Eastern Virginia Medical School and Saint Louis University found that states that legalized cannabis saw 561 fewer arrests per 100,000 black people and 195 fewer arrests for white people on average over that time period. Decriminalization, meanwhile, was associated with roughly 449 fewer arrests per 100,000 black people and a drop of 117 for white people. In contrast, “cannabis arrests for adults and youth increased over time in states that did not implement a cannabis policy change,” the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Health Forum last week, concluded.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 11/02/2021 10:47:00