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Report Shows Arrests Don’t Deter Marijuana Use

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A new study reveals that, since 2003, marijuana arrests in California have risen faster than the national average. The report finds marijuana usage during that time has remained largely unchanged.

— A new study reveals that, since 2003, marijuana arrests in California have risen faster than the national average. The report finds marijuana usage during that time has remained largely unchanged.

The study from Shenandoah University in Virginia finds that African-Americans are disproportionately affected by marijuana arrests. Their rate of marijuana use is about 25 percent higher than whites, but their arrest rate for possession is three times higher.

Bruce Mirken is with the Marijuana Policy Project.

"I think that what this shows is what we're doing doesn't work terribly well," Mirken says. "It doesn't stop people from using marijuana, it causes terrible racial disparities, it costs us billions of dollars, to no good effects."

The California Assembly held a hearing last week on the concept of taxing and regulating marijuana. Supporters hope to put that idea on the ballot next year.

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