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In Post-Legalization CO, Racist Marijuana Arrests Persist

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Marijuana legalization in Colorado brought the arrest rate down overall, but racial disparity in weed arrests has continued, a new report from the Colorado Department of Public Safety found. A 46 percent decrease in marijuana arrests from 2012 to 2014 included a 51 percent decrease for whites, 33 percent decreases for Hispanics, and 25 percent decrease for African-Americans. The uneven distribution in the dip across demographics means that, in 2014, black people were arrested at three times the rate of white people.

For youth in Colorado, however, legalization has not allowed for a drop in arrests, but an increase especially concentrated among black kids. In the state, the annual number of youth marijuana arrests increased 5% from 2012 to 2014. A stark rise in the number of weed arrests among black (58% increase) and Hispanic (29 percent increase) youths drove the increase in the juvenile demographic. White kids, on the other hand, enjoyed an 8% decrease in marijuana arrests over the same period.

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