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Marijuana arrests not necessarily biased

Marijuana UseRecreational Substance UseAmerican Civil Liberties Union

I read with astonishment The Sun's recent editorial concerning the arrest rates of whites versus blacks for marijuana possession in Baltimore City ("Md.'s new Jim Crow," June 9). Apparently, the ACLU feels that there is some sort of conspiracy at work here.

The editorial states that between 2001 and 2010 (the last year data was available ), the arrest rate for whites was down 20 percent from its peak in 2005 and the arrest rate for blacks has increased by 20 percent for the same period. Surely something is amiss here. How could it be?

I don't profess to be any kind of expert on the subject but maybe it's the influence of the rap stars such as Snoop Dogg, Lion and Fifty Cent who glorify marijuana use. I grew up in the 1970s and we had Cheech and Chong who had a similar effect on all of us from that time. According to The Sun, surveys found that roughly the same percentage of blacks and whites say they smoke pot, so there must be something underhanded going on here, but I think not.

Maybe it's more likely the fact that Baltimore, which was predominantly African-American in 2001 has become more so in 2010 and the trend continues today. So using The Sun's data that says marijuana use is equal among whites and blacks, it makes sense to conclude that marijuana arrests for blacks will continue to rise and among whites it will continue to decline.

Could it be that simple?

Mark Wilson, Fallston

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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