Iowa Among Worst in Racial Disparity For Marijuana Arrests
In a 2020 study put together by ACLU Iowa, it was determined that black people are 7.26 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than a white individual.
This is despite the fact that black Americans smoke weed at the same rate as white Americans, according to the national study.
In the entirety of the country, Iowa is among the worst in this category, ranking fifth. The only states that are higher are Montana (9.62), Kentucky (9.36), Illinois (7.51), and West Virginia (7.31). These five were the only states where black people were more than seven times more likely to be arrested for the crime. Next was Vermont at 6.06 times more likely.
ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Mark Stringer had this to say on the subject:
This shameful statistic shows that it's urgent that Iowa reform our criminal laws and policing practices. The data reflects ongoing systemic discrimination against black people in Iowa, an outrageous violation of equal protection under our Constitution.
He added this:
This report makes it clear that Iowa should move toward legalizing marijuana. Iowa's marijuana laws are simply driving more incarceration, which has a disproportionate, ripple effect in black communities. It affects so many areas, including job loss, housing loss, financial aid eligibility problems, child custody issues, and more. It's time to end our state's unfair and unjust marijuana prohibition.
Iowa ranked dead-last nationally in this statistic in 2013, when black people were eight times more likely to be arrested.
One significant statistic is included in the study, regarding the counties where a black person possessing marijuana is most likely to be arrested as opposed to a white person:
- In Pottawattamie County, a Black person is more than 17 times more likely to be arrested.
- In Dubuque County, a Black person is more than 13 times more likely to be arrested.
- In Scott County, nearly 13 times more likely.
- In Cerro Gordo County, more than 11 times more likely.
- In Linn County, nearly 10 times more likely.
Black Hawk County is among the 44 counties that have a higher than national average arrest rate for black Americans versus white Americans. The average is 3.64 times more likely.
Just over four percent of Iowans are black, but the Hawkeye State has the tarnish on its reputation that a black individual is 11 times more likely to be imprisoned in general, according to the Des Moines Register.