RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A new study shows a sharp rise over the last decade in the number of arrests for possession of marijuana in Virginia.
The report issued by the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance shows that marijuana possession arrests in Virginia rose from 13,032 in 2003 to 22,948 in 2014, an increase of 76 percent. Over that same period, possession arrests declined 6.5 percent nationwide.
The report shows that possession arrests of black people in Virginia increased 106 percent between 2003 and 2013. Black Virginians accounted for 47 percent of arrests in 2013 even though they make up 20 percent of the state’s population.
Claire Gastanaga, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, tells the Washington Post that misdemeanor pot arrests “needlessly ensnare people in the criminal justice system.”