August 22, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union reported a large racial disparity among those arrested for marijuana possession both in Texas and across the country. The study revealed that nationally, black people are almost four times more likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana than white people.
The problem was found in Texas, as well, where black people are over two times more likely to face marijuana possession charges than white people. Moreover, the racial disparity in certain counties in Texas was far above the national average. For instance, the largest disparity in the nation was found in Van Zandt County -- where black people are arrested for marijuana possession at a rate 34 times higher than white people. Cooke County did not fare much better, as blacks were 25 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites.
The disparity among marijuana possession arrests in Texas
is particularly noteworthy when considering that both black and white people are reported to use the substance at similar rates. In addition, black people accounted for more than 25 percent of all arrests for marijuana possession in Texas, although they only make up slightly over 12 percent of the total population in the state.
Some activists pushing for decriminalization of marijuana possession in Texas
In addition to the startling racial disparity, the report
from the ACLU also revealed that Texas ranks second in the nation in terms of the number of people arrested for marijuana crimes. In total, over 53 percent of all drug arrests in Texas are for marijuana possession.
As might be expected, such a large number of arrests results in a large cost to the state. Texas reportedly spends more than $250 million in enforcing and prosecuting marijuana crimes in the state.
Consequently, some activists have suggested that Texas should follow the tactics taken by other states and decriminalize the possession of marijuana
. Those pushing for legalization point to both the large cost of enforcing Texas' current marijuana laws and the racial disparity among those arrested for marijuana crimes.
Current penalties for marijuana possession in Texas
Currently, the penalties for marijuana possession in Texas vary depending on the quantity of the substance found in the individual's possession. For instance, those found with just two ounces or less could face misdemeanor charges, with potential penalties including up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
On the other end of the spectrum, those found with over 2,000 pounds of marijuana may face felony charges. If convicted, the penalties include a minimum of five years and a maximum of 99 years in jail and a fine of up to $50,000.
As the consequences for a marijuana possession conviction can be severe, those facing such charges should seek the advice of a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Article provided by Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
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