Data released by the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department shows that cannabis-related arrests have continued to climb since marijuana became legal in the District in 2015, Marijuana Moment reports.
Additionally, racial disparities among cannabis arrests continue to plague the District: more than 90 percent of D.C. citizens who were arrested for cannabis in 2017 were Black.
Marijuana Moment‘s analysis shows that the rising arrest rates could be due to Congressional restrictions that block the District from establishing a taxed and regulated cannabis regime, despite support for a such a marketplace among District voters and elected officials.
Specifically, cannabis arrest rates rose 37 percent between 2016 and 2017. The climbing arrest rates are primarily fueled by distribution-related infractions.
The increase isn’t quite as shocking as that of the spike between 2015 and 2016 — where arrest rates more than tripled despite the plant’s newly legal status — but it (and the ongoing racial disparity in enforcement) is cause enough for alarm.
Washington D.C.’s legalization initiative was approved in 2014 by 65% of voters and allows citizens who are 21 or older to possess and/or gift up to an ounce of cannabis and grow up to six cannabis plants at home.