New figures from Evanston police, to be presented at tonight’s Human Services Committee meeting, show that black residents are more likely that others to be cited for possession of small quantities of marijuana.
The figures show that nearly 62 percent of the 60 people ticketed or arrested for cannabis possession during the third quarter of this year were black. The Census Bureau says just over 18 percent of Evanston residents are black.
The police say 18 percent of cannabis citations were issued to whites, who make up nearly 66 percent of the city’s population. And 18 percent of the citations were issued to Hispanics, who make up 9 percent of the city’s population.
The largest number of cannabis citations were issued in the 3rd Ward, followed by the 5th and 8th wards.
Citation numbers by city police were relatively low in higher-income neighborhoods in the city — including the 1st, 6th and 7th wards — and also in areas like the 1st and 7th wards which are patrolled in part by the Northwestern University police.
The police department figures also show that more than 80 percent of those accused of cannabis possession were male and nearly 87 percent of them were under the age of 30.
Wide disparities in the arrest rate for drug offenses have been noted nationally for years, with one 2010 study showing blacks were seven times more likely than whites to be arrested for drugs than whites. Federal studies show little difference in the drug use rates between whites and blacks.