By changing drug possession laws in North Carolina and other states, researchers believe that racial and ethnic disparities could be closed in the judicial and health care system. This was the takeaway from research published in the American Journal of Public Health. After Proposition 47 passed in California, the gap between the number of white people taken into custody and black people taken into custody fell.

The legislation reclassified certain felony drug offenses as misdemeanors. To come to this conclusion, a team studied data from the California Department of Justice’s Monthly Arrest and Citations Register over a five-year period. In that time period, one million people were taken into custody for drug offenses. After Proposition 47 passed, the difference in blacks and white who were taken into custody dropped from 81 to 44 per 100,000 people.

However, it was acknowledged that the study assumed that the ethnicity listed on a police report was accurate when analyzing data. Those who were a part of the study team noted that a felony drug conviction could make it harder for someone to access health benefits. It could also make it harder to have access to quality housing or financial aid to go to college. Those who can’t complete their higher education may have a harder time getting a job that pays a higher wage.

Individuals in Charlotte, North Carolina who have been charged with a drug crime may benefit from having an attorney. An attorney may take steps to have evidence suppressed or cast doubt on the evidence that led to the charge. Depending on the facts of the case, it may be possible to negotiate a plea deal or get the charge dropped. A plea deal might allow a person to avoid jail time or other serious consequences.