disparity

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California: Marijuana Enforcement Nearly 4 Times More Severe For Blacks

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Black and Latino Boys and Young Men at Particular Risk, Despite Similar Marijuana Use Rates Across Racial Lines

California to Vote on Removing Criminal Penalties and Legal Regulation of Marijuana This November

New data analyses conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance and ACLU of California find that racial disparities in marijuana policing have persisted, following the reduction of low-level marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction in 2011.

Possession of under an ounce of marijuana is punishable in California by a base fine up to $100 (plus substantial fees).

Despite marijuana usage rates being similar across racial and ethnic lines, data provided by the Los Angeles and Fresno Police Departments show that black and Latino people in those cities were issued marijuana possession citations at higher rates than white people in the years immediately following the penalty change from misdemeanor to infraction.

The data also reveal that marijuana possession enforcement falls mostly on young people. In both cities, the majority of infractions were issued to persons 29 years of age and younger.

U.S.: President Obama Grants Clemency To 58 People In Federal Prison For Drugs

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Drug Policy Alliance: The President is Acting; Congress Must Step Up Too

President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of 58 people incarcerated in federal prison for drug offenses. This follows the commutation of 61 individuals on March 30, 2016, 95 people in December of 2015, 45 people in July, 22 people in March 2015, and 8 people in December of 2014.

All of those who received commutations on Thursday were serving time in prison for nonviolent drug offenses, and many were victims of the disparity in sentencing between crack and cocaine.

Five of the individuals whose sentences were commuted on Thursday were imprisoned at least in part due to at least one marijuana charge.

President Obama has been under significant public pressure from advocacy groups and family members of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses who are serving long, mandatory minimum sentences.

"The President is using his constitutional power, but he can only do so much," said Michael Collins, deputy director at Drug Policy Alliance's office of national affairs. "There is legislation in the Senate that would reduce mandatory minimums and have a greater impact on the prison population, and Leader McConnell needs to bring the bill up for a vote."

Arizona: Study Says Medical Marijuana Will Create 1,500 Jobs

(Photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study says that an estimated 1,500 jobs will be created by Arizona's new medical marijuana industry.

Tim Hogan, a researcher with Arizona State University who wrote the study, said he used figures from Oregon's established medical marijuana industry to estimate the size of Arizona's market, reports Julia Shumway of Cronkite News Service.

"It's a pretty simple industry," Hogan said. "There's not too much nuance. The main driving mechanism is how many patients."

Hogan's study, paid for by the Regulated Dispensaries of Arizona Association, indicated the industry has the potential to directly create 1,500 jobs for marijuana growers and dispensary employees, and also indirectly create 5,000 more jobs at places like grocery stores.

Arizona has about 38,000 registered medical marijuana patients and is allowed 126 dispensaries. Only a handful of dispensaries are open so far.

His study only models the straight economic impact of the industry instead of offering a more extensive cost-benefit analysis, according to Hogan.

"Given the size of the industry, it seems it will generate substantial income and tax revenue," Hogan said.

Dispensaries brought in nearly $200 million in sales in Colorado in 2012, according to that state's Department of Revenue. The shops paid about $5.5 million in state sales tax last year.

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