While marijuana usage is equal across racial groups, Black people are more likely to be arrested and convicted for possession of the drug in Wisconsin, according to a new report from the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office.
Milwaukee County’s arrest disparity is lower than Wisconsin, but Black people are 3.2 percent more likely than white people to be arrested there. The worst disparities in Wisconsin are in Ozaukee County, where Black people are 34.9 percent more likely to be arrested and Manitowoc County, where Black people are 29.9 percent more likely to be arrested, according to data from the American Civil Liberties Union.
“There is a lot of established research that shows usage of marijuana is equal across racial and ethnic groups, but what this shows here is a difference in whom this is enforced on,” said Branden DuPont a data analyst at the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Institute for Health & Equity, who co-authored the report.
Racial disparities also persist in convictions for possession. In 2019, Black Wisconsinites were 4.3 percent more likely than their white counterparts to be convicted for having marijuana.
But those disparities seem to be on the decline. In 2010, Black people were 9.5 times more likely that white people to be convicted for possession of marijuana in Wisconsin, according to the report. [Read more at Wisconsin Public Radio]