Top Pro & Con Arguments


The enforcement of marijuana prohibition is racist because people of color are disproportionately impacted.

Statistics show a significant racial disparity in the enforcement of marijuana laws: even though white and black people use marijuana at roughly the same rate, a black person in the United States is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession on average. [24] In Iowa, the state with the highest inequity, black people are 8.3 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people. [21] In New York City, 15.8% of marijuana possession cases involving white people result in conviction, compared to 32.3% involving black people and 30% involving Hispanic people. [27]


Marijuana possession convictions can impact people’s ability to get public housing, financial aid for school, loans, and jobs. [21] Over the past ten years, drug sentences for black men have been 9% to 13% longer than those received by white men. [28] Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, Criminal Justice and Drug Policy director for the ACLU of California, stated, “Racial disparities in marijuana enforcement are widespread and longstanding.” [26] Legalizing marijuana would help correct the disparity.

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