R&B star Frank Ocean was stopped by California Highway Patrol on New Year’s Eve after officers observed his black BMW speeding on U.S. Highway 395. When officers approached the vehicle they found (and smelled) something else to charge him with.

“As the deputy approached the vehicle, a strong odor of marijuana came from inside the car,” said a sheriff’s department statement released Thursday. “Christopher Breaux, aka Frank Ocean, age 25, of Beverly Hills, CA, had a small bag of marijuana on his person. Mr. Breaux was cited for possession of marijuana and released. This incident has been forwarded to the Mono County District Attorney’s Office for review.”

The Associated Press quoted a California Highway Patrol spokesperson who said Ocean’s license was confiscated and a passenger who was traveling with him was allowed to drive the vehicle away.

Ocean didn’t seem too concerned when he took to Twitter yesterday, tweeting, “hi guys, i smoke pot. ok guys, bye.” (I should note he was also pulled over the day before for speeding.)

While Ocean may be making light of the situation, the reality is that men who have the same skin color he does are arrested at much higher rates than whites—even though federal surveys find that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young blacks.

Ocean’s residence is in Beverly Hills, but next-door, the City of Los Angeles arrested blacks for marijuana possession at seven times the rate of whites, according to a study by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project for the Drug Policy Alliance and the California NAACP.

In June 2011, Akiba Solomon and Stokely Baksh created the infographic below that looks at how the drug war has been waged almost exclusively in communities of color.


Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/01/frank_ocean_pot_possession_black_men_and_the_war_on_drugs.html


Thank you for printing out this Colorlines.com article. If you liked this article, please make a donation today at colorlines.com/donate to support our ongoing news coverage, investigations and actions to promote solutions.