Among marijuana’s unique properties, the way it illuminates racial disparities stands out.
Take arrests for marijuana possession. Even though there is minimal difference in the amount of marijuana used by blacks and whites, blacks are four times more likely than whites to be arrested for smoking pot, according to a 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The disparities in Maryland and the District were among the highest in the nation, with blacks up to eight times more likely than whites to be arrested.
On the other hand, when it comes to getting a lucrative marijuana grower’s license, you can hardly find a black person at all.
These disparities don’t occur by happenstance. They are evidence of institutional racism, which many readers have tried to dismiss as, according to one, “just a vague excuse for any measurement by which blacks on average don’t do as well as whites on average.” (Washington Post)