LINCOLN, Neb – Earlier this week, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) released a new study that indicates Nebraska’s marijuana-related arrests and law enforcement costs both increased in Colorado’s first year of legalized recreational marijuana use. The UNO study cites a 2013 ACLU study, the War on Marijuana in Black and White.
ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad issued the following statement.
“The war on drugs is a failed policy helping to drive a system of mass incarceration that clogs our courts, puts added pressure on our prison system, and impacts the economic and civic participation of many Nebraskans. It is time Nebraska updated its laws and practices to ensure we are focusing our precious criminal justice resources on real public safety threats not small amounts of marijuana intended for personal use. We all want law enforcement to put public safety first and we are all concerned about the health and wellbeing of Nebraska’s youth. This study provides an excellent opportunity for Nebraskans to have a dialogue about whether we should we be spending over $10 million annually policing small amounts of marijuana or whether it would it be a better use of taxpayer funds to focus on smart justice strategies like prevention and treatment that are proven to keep our communities safer."
“A 2013 ACLU study, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White” was cited in the UNO report. The 2013 ACLU study found that Nebraska was behind only Washington D.C. and New York for putting people behind bars for marijuana use. Given that the 2013 ACLU study and other studies have shown vast racial disparities in Nebraska’s marijuana arrest rates, it is important to note that the UNO study did not include any data regarding racial disparities and that information is critical to assessing the overall impact of these policies and practices.”