Though whites generally use marijuana as much as blacks, a black individual is still 2.9 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession that a white person in Maryland. And Baltimore has been ranked number five in cities where the most blacks were arrested for marijuana possession. It is said that the arrest rate in Baltimore maybe more than twice what the average is in the rest of the nation.
Maryland has long been known for aggressively prosecuting individuals arrested for possession of this drug. However, aggressive prosecution cannot account for discrepancies concerning the race of individuals most likely to face arrest for these drug charges.
There may be a variety of reasons for such discrepancies. However, the possibility also exists that racial profiling exists or that law enforcement officers have failed to conduct drug arrests and stings in a racially neutral manner.
The disparity in the number of blacks versus whites being arrested does require study. The consequences of such arrests only creates further conflict between blacks and whites, results in increased poverty for those being arrested, and does nothing to reduce crime in the long run. This is particularly true if arrests are being conducted in an unjust manner, or if the punishment is different for one set of people convicted for a crime than for another.
What attorneys that practice criminal law attempt to do is to make certain that courts look at the individual circumstances of every alleged drug crime. If there is unfairness in the system that affects an attorney’s client, attorneys will point to that injustice in court.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Maryland’s new Jim Crow,” June 8, 2013