Hundreds of cannabis buyers are still cuffed each year for purchasing weed, and despite decades of data that show black and white populations consume the herb at equal rates, racial disparities in the arrests remain stark.
…Black people in Philly, who make up roughly 44 percent of the population, comprised 76 percent of all arrests for marijuana possession in Philadelphia between 2015 and 2018, the first four calendar years since decrim, according to data from the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System. That rate is the same among juveniles arrested on the same charges.
And for those caught in the act of purchasing the crop — which remains a criminal offense, albeit rarely charged in Philadelphia — the discrepancy is even higher.
In those same years, 81 percent of all buyers arrested at the handoff were black. That was 1,454 out of 1,796 people, according to data provided to Billy Penn by the Philadelphia Police Department.