Black-and-white because some believe its medicinal benefits outweigh the stigma. Others want to nip that conversation in the bud.
Green all over because Oklahomans both black and white use the drug at comparable rates. But — and here’s the punch line — black citizens in the state are arrested nearly three times as much as white citizens for pot possession, ac- cording to a national report examining marijuana arrest rates.
Get it? “The aggressive policing of marijuana is time-consuming, costly, racially biased, and doesn’t work,” said Ezekiel Edwards, director of the Criminal Law Reform Project at the American Civil Liberties Union and one of the report authors.
In fact, the report found, Oklahoma spent $30 million on marijuana law enforcement in 2010 alone. That same year the U.S. spent more than $3.61 billion for the cause. That’s a lot of green.
“State and local governments have aggressively enforced marijuana laws selectively against black people and communities, needlessly ensnaring hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system at tremendous human and financial cost,” Edwards said.
The ACLU reported that Kay, Creek and Pontotoc counties experienced the largest racial disparity in marijuana possession arrests. Statewide, marijuana possession accounted for more than half of all drug arrests in 2010, according to the report.