In cannabis-legal Colorado being too young to purchase is one thing; being too young and a person of color seems to be something else entirely. Can’t we ever outgrow this?
A Colorado Health Department survey found there wasn’t a huge racial difference in who smokes pot. But the marijuana arrest rate for white 10- to 17-year-olds fell by nearly 10 percent from 2012 to 2014, while arrest rates for Latino and black youths respectively rose more than 20 percent and more than 50 percent.
. . .
“That is, I think, a large part of the reason Colorado voters passed legalization,” Vicente says. “They’re tired of the sort of racist legacy of the drug war.”
Vicente says it’s shameful that local police have shifted their attention to minority kids. But Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson says it’s not a matter of what police want to focus on, but what people are reporting to authorities.
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“The emerging legal marijuana industry is overwhelmingly white-owned and white-dominated, and provides good access to white customers,” he says. “So one possibility is that that leaves the illegal market disproportionately composed of people of color, both the buyers and the sellers.”
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