In one incident, an officer smelled marijuana after he stopped a car for running a stop sign. When he searcher the car, the officer found “a small bag of a green leafy substance” and arrested the drive for possession.
In another, two officers patrolling in an unmarked car noticed another car “attempting to avoid law enforcement.” After frisking the driver and chasing down a passenger who fled, the officers found a glass jar of marijuana on the passenger seat and a digital scale in the driver’s-side door pocket. The two men were arrested for possession with intent to distribute—a felony that carries a mandatory minimum of one year under Georgia law.
This is just a small window into over 1,400 arrests on marijuana charges by the Athens-Clarke County police detailed in documents obtained by Flagpole. An analysis of this data found a large racial divide in how Athens-Clarke County enforces state marijuana laws. African Americans are nearly five times more likely to be arrested on a marijuana charge, this investigation found. That gap was even larger for one of the most serious possession charges. The overall disparity has persisted for decades.