07/07/2011 05:44 pm ET Updated Sep 06, 2011

Mind The Grass Gap: Nearly Nine Of Ten Chicagoans Convicted On Marijuana Charges Are Black Men

A few weeks ago, hundreds of people, most of them white, gathered in Lincoln Park to celebrate Peace Fest, which featured DJ sets, jam bands, and enough open marijuana smoking that passersby on surrounding streets could get a contact high. Not that anyone was complaining.

That week at the Cook County courthouse at 51st and Wentworth, dozens of people, almost all of them black men, went before a judge to face marijuana possession charges. Some of them ended up with fines and jail time.

Yes, marijuana is illegal. Yet studies show--and come on, everybody knows--that it's widely used by all racial groups. By and large, however, black people are disproportionately getting busted for it.

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