Racial Disparities in the Enforcement of Marijuana Violations in the US

by   Bradley Butcher, et al.

Racial disparities in US drug arrest rates have been observed for decades, but their causes and policy implications are still highly contested. Some scholars have argued that these disparities largely reflect differences in drug use between racial groups, while others have hypothesized that discriminatory enforcement policies and police practices may play a significant role. We analyze racial disparities in the enforcement of marijuana violations in the US. Using data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) programs, we investigate whether marijuana usage and purchasing behaviors can explain the racial disparities. We examine potential driving mechanisms for these disparities and the extent to which county-level socioeconomic factors correlate with county-level disparity. We find that the significant racial disparities in reported incidents and arrests cannot be explained by differences in marijuana days-of-use alone. Differences in frequency and the location of buying marijuana partially explain the observed disparities. We observe an increase in racial disparities across most counties over the last decade, with the greatest increases in states that legalized the use of marijuana within this timeframe. Income, high school graduation rate, and rate of employment positively correlate with higher racial disparity, while the rate of incarceration is negatively correlated. We discuss the implications of the observed racial disparities in the context of algorithmic fairness.


page 18

page 22

page 23

page 28

page 35

page 37

page 39

page 42


Point Process Modeling of Drug Overdoses with Heterogeneous and Missing Data

Opioid overdose rates have increased in the United States over the past ...

Canadian Crime Rates in the Penalty Box

Over the 1962-2016 period, the Canadian violent crime rate has remained ...

Racial Disparity in Natural Language Processing: A Case Study of Social Media African-American English

We highlight an important frontier in algorithmic fairness: disparity in...

State Drug Policy Effectiveness: Comparative Policy Analysis of Drug Overdose Mortality

Opioid overdose rates have reached an epidemic level and state-level pol...

Understanding State level Variations in U.S. Infant Mortality: 2000 to 2015

Objective: To exploit state variations in infant mortality, identify dia...

Many-levelled continuation ratio models for frequency of alcohol and drug use data

Studies of alcohol and drug use are often interested in the number of da...

System modeling of a health issue: the case of preterm birth in Ohio

Preterm birth rate (PBR) stands out as a major public health concern in ...

Please sign up or login with your details

Forgot password? Click here to reset