The Case for Marijuana Reparations (Slate)

By JAMIE BOUIE |  July 28, 2014

Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, with an arrest rate of 716 per 100,000. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, with an arrest rate of 716 per 100,000.
(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Marijuana legalization has a new, influential advocate: the New York Times.

On Sunday, the Times editorial board began a six-part series on marijuana legalization with an op-ed titled “Repeal Prohibition, Again.” “It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition,” writes the Times. “It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.”

…It’s true that few marijuana arrests result in prison time. Roughly 40,000 state and federal inmates have current marijuana convictions, and the majority of those are for sale and distribution. “Less than 1 percent … are serving time for marijuana possession alone—and in many of those cases, the possession conviction was the result of a plea bargain involving the dismissal of more serious charges,” write drug policy scholars Beau Kilmer, Jonathan P. Caulkins, Mark A.R. Kleiman, and Angela Hawken in Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know.

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