Despite being an Omaha drug charges lawyer, Daniel Stockmann stays abreast of what’s happening in the surrounding communities and states. It’s generally only a matter of time before the changes we see elsewhere begin to occur here in Omaha. As a result of Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana, Nebraska’s weed-related arrests, as well as their associated cost to society, have risen dramatically. Here at Stockamnn Law, the trend is also noted, as many of Mr. Stockmann’s clients are actually from other states- they were headed home from Colorado at the time of their arrest. While we’ve looked at the stats from many angles, one thing many outlets are not addressing is the alarming demographics of arrests.
Juvenile Minority Arrests are Up in Colorado
Colorado’s recreational laws make it legal for people to smoke marijuana, but only if they’re 21. When the new legislation was enacted, adult arrests involving marijuana dropped by nearly half, according to a report published by the Colorado Health Department. Arrests among whites were reduced by 51%, Hispanics by 33%, and by 24% for African-Americans. The initial racial disparity is interesting on its own, as surveys have shown that there isn’t a marked difference among the races as to who is using marijuana. In theory, the rates should have reduced equally because the population uses equally, but that’s not what’s happening in Colorado. When looking only at the arrests involving minors, the disparity is downright alarming. From 2012 to 2014, arrests of white minors, ages 10 to 17, dropped by about 10%. The arrest rates of Hispanic minors in the same age group actually increased by 20% and the arrest rate for African-American minors skyrocketed by more than 50% during the same time period.
Will Nebraska See the Same Racial Disparity?
There is some public outcry in Colorado that police are intentionally targeting minorities, but Sonny Jackson of the Denver Police Department says this isn’t so. “Most of these cases are complaint-driven,” the spokesperson says. “We get a complaint from someone, we’re not sure where it’s going to take us, but we have to act on it, and we’re not sure if I get a call to a residence or to a location who I’m going to encounter until I get there.”
Keith Humphreys, Professor and the Section Director for Mental Health Policy in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, seems to concur with this concept. “Police do patrol more in neighborhoods of color and they also get more calls to respond in neighborhoods of color,” he says.
In other words, unless something drastically changes about how reports and patrolling are handled, Colorado can expect the disparity to continue. Moreover, policies throughout Nebraska are not remarkably different and the state already has a major racial disparity in marijuana arrest rates. The ACLU made a point of noting that Nebraska topped the national charts in terms of black arrest rates and little, if anything, has been done to change this. Although we don’t yet have the data to show what would happen on a national level if marijuana was legal for adults, it’s pretty clear that what’s happening in Colorado could well be the fate of Nebraska and our nation.
Consult with an Experienced Omaha Drug Charges Lawyer
If you or your child is facing marijuana charges, regardless of race, you will need a skilled Omaha drug charges lawyer to minimize the impact this has on the rest of your life and protect your freedom. With nearly two decades of experience and a track record for success, attorney Daniel Stockmann has dedicated his practice to defending people accused of substance charges. To obtain a free consultation with Mr. Stockmann, call (844) 906-0641 today.