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Ethan Nadelmann: True Obstacles to Drug Law Reform

Ethan Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs.

In 2008, police departments in California made more than 60,000 marijuana possession arrests, three times as many as in 1990. The people arrested are disproportionately African Americans1 and Latinos, overwhelmingly young people, especially young men.

The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading organization advocating alternatives to the war on drugs, has released a report that documents widespread race-based disparities in the enforcement of low-level marijuana possession laws in California. Focused on the 25 largest counties in the state, the report finds that African Americans are arrested for marijuana possession at substantially higher rates than whites, typically at double, triple or even quadruple the rate of whites. Further, blacks are arrested for marijuana possession far out of proportion to their percentage in the total population of the counties.

Read the full report. Targeting Blacks for Marijuana


Report Documents Widespread Racial Disparities in Marijuana Enforcement in California’s 25 Largest Counties.

Ethan Nadelmann in Bozeman Montana

Ethan Nadelmann speaking at the event “Cannabis at the Capital Comes to Bozeman” – a fundraiser organized by Patients and Families United. Saturday, September 19th, 2009 in Bozeman Montana. Note, the gigantic, gorgeous medical cannabis plants behind him.

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