As America pushes towards legalization, Virginia is pulling in the opposite direction. Over the past 10 years, arrests in the United States related to marijuana possession have dropped by 6.5 percent, according to The Washington Post. So why are arrests in Virginia on the rise?
Research done by the Drug Policy Alliance in New York found that police officers in Virginia have been arresting people for marijuana related charges 76 percent higher than they were in 2003.
These statistics may sound alarming, but it gets worse. Black offenders are being arrested three times more often than white people are, but only 20 percent of the population is made up of black people.
Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, Claire Gastañaga, explained the underlying issues associated with misdemeanor marijuana arrests.
“That limits their ability to get a job, financial aid, child custody,” Gastañaga said. “There’s a mandatory six-month driver’s license revocation, then they can’t keep their job, can’t pay child support. Then you have a bunch of people in jail because they’re poor. That’s the big picture.”
To read more about the issue, check out the full story published in The Washington Post.