With the pandemic shutting down the country and Black Lives Matter movement demanding change, public records show the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department drastically reduced the number of people arrested and cited solely for carrying marijuana in 2020, according to an analysis by WCNC Charlotte.
However, despite the seismic shift away from a practice that disproportionately brings police face-to-face with Black men and women, data show more than 70% of the people CMPD arrested and cited for the simple possession of marijuana last year were Black.
CMPD records show the department has spent the last decade moving away from enforcing the least serious marijuana offense. In fact, 2020 marked the most notable reduction in misdemeanor simple possession arrests, dropping from 55 in 2019 to 18 in 2020. According to records, 13 of those people were Black, while two were white. The number of citations dropped significantly too, from 913 in 2019 to 501 in 2020. Of those 501 tickets, 373 people cited were Black, while 72 were white, according to CMPD data.