In the wake of the national and international protests over police brutality, especially towards people of color, more attention is being paid to how people of color enter the criminal justice system. One of the major ways is through a low-level misdemeanor offense.
In its report "A Tale of two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform," the ACLU points out that marijuana arrests continue to clog the criminal justice system even though there is broad support for legalization. And, 9 out of 10 marijuana arrests continue to be for simple possession.
How much has the mass incarceration trend affected Iowa? More than you might think.
The state of Iowa could reduce its incarcerated population by 5,427 and save $360,400,064 by doing so -- all without a major impact on public safety, according to the ACLU of Iowa. The organization, along with ACLU affiliates nationwide, recently released a blueprint to reduce mass incarceration in the state.
Marijuana arrests make up over half of all drug arrests in the U.S., and approximately 88 percent of marijuana arrests are for possession. Enforcing our state and federal marijuana laws costs the U.S. about $3.6 billion every year, yet doing so has had virtually no measurable impact on the availability of marijuana. It also ensnares hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system.