New Tool Calculates Racial Disparities in Marijuana Arrests by State in the U.S.

Find out how often Blacks are arrested in your state for marijuana.

Posted: 03/20/2014 12:29 PM EDT

A new interactive tool by the American Civil Liberties Union calculates racial disparities in marijuana arrests in the U.S. and how much each state spends on the system. The organization is calling the spending a waste of money, as it does not make society any safer.

The Uncovery tool, released Tuesday, uses 2010 data from the ACLU's latest report, "The War on Marijuana In Black and White." It calculates how often a Black person is arrested for possessing marijuana and how much more likely they will be arrested for it than whites. The tool also allows a user to compare state data.

Even though African-Americans and Whites use the drug at an almost equal rate, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for carrying it. Most of the people — 88 percent — arrested for marijuana possession had small amounts and were not "drug kingpins," according to the ACLU.

But an arrest can negatively impact a person's future access to eligibility for public housing, student financial aid, employment opportunities, child custody and determinations and immigration status, according to the ACLU.

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(Photo: Courtesy of ACLU)