Georgia public policy players are watching Florida closely now that a federal judge there has struck down the state’s law requiring drug testing for welfare recipients.
A U.S. District judge ruled the Florida law violates the Constitutional provision against unreasonable searches. Georgia has had a similar law on the books since 2012, but it has not yet been implemented.
Chad Brock, an attorney with the ACLU of Georgia, says he wouldn’t be surprised if the State of Florida appeals the ruling to the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “However, the Eleventh Circuit, back in February, in extending the injunction against the drug testing law, really scrutinized the reasoning behind the law,” said Brock. “So I think they’re going to have a tough time if they go back before the Eleventh Circuit.”
A new study looking at marijuana arrests across the country shows that African-Americans are arrested significantly more often than white people throughout the United States. And few areas display that trend more than Fulton and DeKalb counties.
The American Civil Liberties Union, looking at pot possession arrests between 2001 and 2010, found that black people who are found with weed are almost 4 times more likely to be sent to jail than white people who get caught with pot. The nonprofit, which compiled the study using the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program and U.S. Census data, says the analysis is the first of its kind to look at the specific issue on a county-by-county level in all 50 states:
"[Marijuana arrests have] needlessly ensnared hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system, had a staggeringly disproportionate impact on African-Americans, and comes at a tremendous human and financial cost," the ACLU's report says. "The price paid by those arrested and convicted of marijuana possession can be significant and linger for years, if not a lifetime."