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Serious penalties still in force in 19 states

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Americans in 19 states continue to face arrest, criminal prosecution and incarceration for minor offenses of marijuana possession, according to a full report issued by the Marijuana Policy Project.

Those arrested in these jurisdictions are disproportionately African American. According to other analyzes, MPP said: “In each of the states that have not yet decriminalized cannabis – and in every state across the country – blacks are more likely than their white counterparts to be arrested for possession of cannabis. cannabis, despite similar usage rates.

For example, African Americans in Kentucky have been arrested for marijuana possession offenses at more than nine times the rate of whites. In Iowa and Wisconsin, blacks have been arrested for possessing more than seven times the rate of whites. Blacks have been arrested for possession of cannabis in Kansas, South Dakota and Utah at about five times the rate of whites.

Overall, several hundred thousand Americans are still being arrested for violating states ’marijuana laws. More than nine in ten of those arrested are charged with possession of marijuana at a low level, not selling or trafficking.

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Most support for the legalization of marijuana exists in every state where cannabis possession remains criminalized.

“It has taken a long time for these states to begin to take a more equitable, common sense and fiscally responsible approach to cannabis policy,” the authors concluded. “In the absence of legalization, states will have to stop wasting thousands of their residents in the criminal justice system every year. Now is the time for the remaining 19 states that still criminalize reclassifying possession of an ounce or less of cannabis. as a civil offense, replace the criminal offense with a small civil fine and remove the criminal records of offenders convicted under the old, excessively. harsh laws. “

The full text of the report, “Behind The Times: The 19 States in which a municipality can even land in prison,” is available for download.

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