SEATTLE (AP) - A primary backer of Washington's legalization of marijuana is reporting a massive drop in pot possession charges last year. [This is great news and the rest of the country should take notice. However I think that a "Told ya so" is in order here, no?!]
The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says court filings for misdemeanor marijuana posssesion by adults over 21 years old totaled just 120 cases in 2013, a huge drop from 5,531 cases in 2012.
The 120 cases filed last year likely concerned people caught with more than the ounce of weed they're allowed to have under Washington law, but less than 40 grams, which can trigger felony possession charges.
ACLU lawyer Mark Cooke says the data suggest legalization has helped free up police and prosecutorial resources. [What the Cannabis community and activist population has known for years now, common sense policy put in place further proves. Making nature legal will free up law enforcement officers to pursue violent criminals that are a threat to real people. Removing the "War" against the victim-less plant and patients, will free up real time so real cops can concentrate on real criminals to help prevent, would be, real victims!]
But the organization also says racial bias concerns persist: Among the 120 cases last year, African American adults remained almost three times more likely than whites to face charges. [Which is even more motivation and incentives to change laws here in Wisconsin. Since Wisconsin is 6x more likely to criminalize our African-American counterparts for Cannabis possession charges]
A video put together by Radical Russ Belville shows the racial disparity with pictures and gives you a much better representation of how this affects Wisconsin specifically.