Article by Steven Nelson, US News
The vast majority of federal sentences for marijuana crimes went to Hispanics last year, according to new data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Hispanics were massively overrepresented with 77 percent of federal marijuana sentences, despite making up less than 20 percent of the U.S. population.
Non-Hispanic whites were dramatically underrepresented, with 11.9 percent of pot sentences, and African-Americans were also underrepresented with 8.3 percent.
Hispanics long have gone to federal prison for pot crimes at a higher rate, but the group’s share of sentences has increased amid an overall dip as states unfurl regulated markets.
Federal charges often – but not always – indicate enterprise-level activity outside of state cannabis laws.
Most marijuana arrests do not result in federal charges and are instead prosecuted locally. About 643,000 pot arrests were made in 2015, the most recent year for which FBI data is available.