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Black people in Wisconsin are 4.2 times as likely to face arrest for marijuana possession than white people, according to an American Civil Liberties Union report analyzing 2010-2018 data. 

In 2020, the state ranked 14th in the nation in racial disparity on this metric. The disparity varies within Wisconsin geographically: It is less drastic in Milwaukee County (3.2 times as likely) and more drastic in Manitowoc (29.9 times as likely) and Ozaukee County (34.9 times as likely).

Black people were four times as likely than white people in Wisconsin to be convicted of marijuana possession in 2019, according to a Wisconsin Watch analysis of circuit court data. Prison admissions for marijuana also were higher for Black people than for whites, Wisconsin Watch found.

Marijuana is illegal in Wisconsin, although police and prosecutors have discretion about how and whether to enforce the law, which can lead to racial disparities.

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Jacob Alabab-Moser / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.