Number of Marijuana-Related Arrests in Chicago Still Too High

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October 21, 2016
Denver, CO

According to DNAinfo Chicago, the percentage of people fined for the possession of marijuana in Chicago has greatly increased over the past year. However, an activist group is questioning why more than 60 percent of those found in possession of marijuana are still arrested.

Charlene Carruthers

The national coordinator for Black Youth Project 100, Charlene Carruthers, says that Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy “has said over and over again we should be ticketing, not arresting, but it still happens.”

Yesterday at Chicago City Hall, Carruthers cited figures demonstrating that the city spends $80 million a year processing marijuana arrests, despite the fact that both McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proclaimed reforms intended to replace marijuana arrests with revenue-producing ticket citations.

Additionally, building on reports published in the Chicago Reader, Roosevelt University issued a study earlier this year demonstrating that arrest rates were too high and that Chicago was among the areas not making sufficient use of the reform legislation.

Carruthers stated that those arrested rather than ticketed were “primarily black Chicagoans,” adding, “It’s absolutely an unjust and racially biased policy…and it doesn’t keep us safer.”

The racial disparity demonstrated in marijuana arrest rates drove Carruthers to push for a meeting with McCarthy. McCarthy has yet to respond.

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