MN 2020 calls for reform after study reveals racial disparities in marijuana arrests

By KBJR News 1

May 14, 2014 Updated May 14, 2014 at 6:40 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- Minnesota ranks third in the nation when it comes to racial disparities in marijuana related arrests according to a report released today by the Minnesota think tank, 20-20.

To solve the problem 20-20 is calling on lawmakers to make some legislative reforms.

The group is advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana, minimizing collateral costs associated with marijuana arrests and expunging criminal records for low-level offenses.

Their report analyzes the most recent F-B-I marijuana possession arrests from 20-11.

The arrest pattern shows blacks in Minnesota were 6- point-4 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.

The study also reveals that minorities, who are arrested for minor possession, end up having a lot of direct and collateral costs that accompany that arrest.

"Since people of color are much more likely to be arrested, they're much more likely to experience to experience these costs, and we just don't want to see these disparities playing out across the state and stripping wealth from these communities that are already economically vulnerable," said Nicole Simms, a Minnesota 2020 Fellow .

Those costs include everything from attorney fees, to treatment and lost income, often resulting in costs of more than 75-thousand dollars.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com