Race based marijuana arrests in Charlotte

Recently, the Charlotte Observer published an article about the disparity between blacks and whites being arrested vs. written a citation for small amounts of marijuana in Mecklenburg County. The article pointed out that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has no policy for their officers to follow, therefore the police have the full discretion of whether to write a citation or arrest anyone found with less than half an ounce of marijuana. The CMPD arrest records show that blacks were 3 times more likely to be arrested than whites for this type of drug charge. The debate is asking what causes this disparity.

Some people argue that racism is the root cause of this. They believe that racism is bred throughout the system and public opinion. They believe that inherent racism exists with certain police officers.

Another argument claims that it’s not racism but instead it is about the location where the offense occurred. A former police officer told the Charlotte Observer that if he is at a known ‘drug corner’ and he stops someone and they have marijuana on them, he considers them a drug dealer and will likely arrest them for this charge. He claims that the location has everything to do with marijuana arrests. The police are pressured to do something about the high drug and crime areas. CMPD, also, says they focus their “drug enforcement strategies in the geographical areas where it’s reported by community members.”

These are just a few of the opinions out there about the disparity in marijuana charges. If you would like to know more about marijuana charges, please click here.

If you would like to read the referenced article, click here.