Pot Arrests Drop But Arrest Rate Higher For Black People

DENVER (AP) — Marijuana-related arrests have dropped since the first recreational pot shops opened in Colorado seven years ago but Black people are still much more likely to get into legal trouble for cannabis offenses, according to a state report released Monday.

The biennial report, commissioned by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, found that the marijuana arrest rate for Black people (160 per 100,000 people) is more than double that for white people (76 per 100,000) in Colorado, The Denver Post reported.

“This disparity has not changed in any meaningful way since legalization,” the report said.

The report also found that people over 65 are using marijuana at triple the rate that they did in 2014 and that people are consuming cannabis through vapes and edibles at higher rates.

While it found that youth usage remains unchanged at around 20%, the report also found that nearly three-quarters of 10- to 17-year-olds in substance abuse treatment reported that marijuana was their primary drug, said Henny Lasley, co-founder of One Chance to Grow Up. The situation is the result of the high-potency marijuana accessible in Colorado, she said.

“There’s this misnomer that everything’s hunky dory because the overall statistic hasn’t changed,” she said.