Police Searches Drop Dramatically in States That Legalized Marijuana - NECN
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Police Searches Drop Dramatically in States That Legalized Marijuana

The overuse of traffic stops can damage the public trust in police, particularly when searches disproportionately involve black and Hispanic drivers

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    Police Searches Drop Dramatically in States That Legalized Marijuana
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    File photo of marijuana smoke.

    Traffic searches by highway patrols in Colorado and Washington dropped by nearly half after the two states legalized marijuana in 2012, NBC News reported.

    In Colorado, the change occurred gradually, with searches dropping initially by 30 percent, and then flatting out to a more than 50-percent drop within a year.

    In Washington, there was a drop of more than 50 percent in searches within three months of legalization. The search rate remained low thereafter. The 12 states in the Stanford study that did not pass marijuana decriminalization legislation during the period did not experience significant drops.

    The drop in searches also reduced the racial disparities in the stops, according to a new analysis of police data, but not by much. Latino and Black Americans are still searched at higher rates than whites.