A new report by the American Civil Liberties Union found that black individuals are more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession compared to white people. Overall, blacks are almost four times more likely to be arrested for having marijuana despite studies that show both races use marijuana at the same rate.

The report shows that many law enforcement agencies are racially biased when they crackdown and investigate marijuana possession and other low-level drug offenses. Marijuana possession arrests have increased in the U.S. and even though Colorado has legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, black people in the state are still more likely to be arrested than whites.

The report said that part of the reason why blacks were more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession was due to the fact that police focus more on neighborhoods with higher crime rates and these areas have more low-income minority groups living there. This leads to police stopping and frisking many of these individuals on the street, thus making it more likely that they will find an illegal substance on these individuals.

In many of these cases, police officers end up arresting and charging these individuals with marijuana possession even though it is a low-level, non-violent offense. If police were to stop and frisk people in middle-class communities or areas where more white people lived, the rate of white people being arrested for marijuana possession would likely increase.

While there is not much that can be done to stop the investigative process that police officers use in local communities, individuals who have been arrested for marijuana possession should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, especially if they think the police were racially biased in their investigation and arrest process.

Source: The Cap Times, ” Blacks much more likely than whites to be arrested for pot,” Justin Peters, June 21, 2013