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Pot Smokers in D.C. Likeliest To Be Arrested

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Smoking marijuana is more popular per capita in D.C. than other parts of the country and if you do smoke here, you're more likely to get busted.

The Marijuana Policy Project -- which supports the legalization of marijuana used data compiled by the Metropolitan Police Department.

Researcher Jon Gettman says white people are twice as likely to be arrested, and for African-Americans, the odds are even worse.

"Past year marijuana use is reported at 15.7% of the overall population. Past month use is at about 9.7% that's compared to roughly 10% and 6% for the rest of the nation. So the high arrest total in DC reflects the fact that marijuana is very popular."

He says arrests for possession of marijuana have nearly doubled in the District since 1991 and African-Americans are about eight times more likely to be arrested than whites.

"I suspect it has to do with other enforcement priorities- that marijuana arrests happen to be incidental to other policies like street sweeps or deployment of officers to different parts of town based on crime rates. And there also may cultural differences in that it may be that more African Americans are out in public in posession of marijuana than whites are."

The MPD would not comment. A spokesperson hung up on this reporter during one of many calls.

Jamila Bey reports...


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