FBI: Cannabis arrests dropped in Massachusetts, but minorities are still four times more likely to be arrested than Caucasians


According to new FBI data, almost all Massachusetts municipalities and law enforcement agencies saw cannabis arrest rates drop in 2014 while minorities were still arrested for cannabis-related crimes four times more frequently than their Caucasian peers.

In 2016, only 308 arrests for cannabis possession were made, which was a 50 percent difference from 616 arrests in 2014 and a 95 percent difference from the 8,695 arrests made in 2008.

The data showed 42.2 percent of all growing and selling charges in 2016  were brought against African-Americans, who only make up 8.2 percent of the state’s population. 

“Arrests decline dramatically, but the racial disparities in the remaining arrests don’t necessarily disappear,” said Shaleen Title, a member of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. “As our state law specifically acknowledges and addresses, the war on drugs has been disproportionately waged against certain communities. This new data confirms that legalization alone does not solve the disparity.”