Black New Yorkers are nearly 10 times as likely as white New Yorkers to be arrested for marijuana possession within the five boroughs, and some degree of racial disparity extends to the farthest corners of the state, according to a report from the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The report, which analyzed federal crime reporting data from 2010, revealed that black people are 4.5 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession statewide and at least twice as likely to be arrested in 52 out of 62 counties.
NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said the evidence of discrimination is especially damning in light of the fact that whites make up a larger percentage of the state's population.
"It's been well-documented that white people use and smoke marijuana far more than black people do," she said.
Additionally, she said, police often categorize Hispanic people as white, meaning that the numbers are probably inflated and the gap even wider than it appears.
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