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ACLU calls for marijuana legalization

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Posted at 9:46 PM, Jun 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-05 23:46:23-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for the legalization of Marijuana, citing the amount of money and resources being spent to curb use of the drug.

According to an ACLU report from 2010 based on FBI statistics, states in the U.S. combined to spend $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws. Of the 8.2 million arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88 percent of them were possession arrests.

The ACLU has also recently released a report making the case that there are significant racial disparities when it comes to marijuana arrests.

John Mejia, ACLU Utah legal director, said police agencies have monetary incentives to make marijuana arrests, and he said that may lead to bias.

"Anything that will stop biased policing is something that we would push for,” he said. “There are a lot of incentives for police to make arrests on simple marijuana possession. There is a lot of grant money out there that is based on making arrests for drugs.”

Eighteen states currently allow medical marijuana use. Colorado and Washington allow recreational use of the drug.