White, Kenneth Michael; Holman, Mirya R.
August 2012
Race, Gender & Class;2012, Vol. 19 Issue 3/4, p75
Academic Journal
In 1913, California outlawed marijuana on the basis of express racial animus. The federal government prohibited marijuana in 1937 on a similar basis. We hypothesize that the racism behind marijuana prohibition influences current arrests. An analysis of data from 2000-2008 in California connects the racialized origins of marijuana prohibition to current marijuana arrests. Blacks and Hispanics are significantly more likely than whites to be arrested for a marijuana offense. We conclude that marijuana prohibition is too entangled with racism to be fairly enforced today. Evaluating selective-arrests, we show evidence of institutional racism regarding marijuana prohibition in California. We argue that a medical marijuana framework should replace prohibition, returning to the policy that existed prior the beginning of prohibition.

Tags: MARIJUANA;  RACE discrimination;  RACE awareness;  ARREST (Police methods);  RACISM


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