Even more surprising is what gets left out of the chart: Blacks are far more likely to be arrested for selling or possessing drugs than whites, even though whites use drugs at the same rate. And whites are actually more likely to sell drugs:
This partly reflects racial differences in the drug markets in black and white communities. In poor black neighborhoods, drugs tend to be sold outdoors, in the open. In white neighborhoods, by contrast, drug transactions typically happen indoors, often between friends and acquaintances. If you sell drugs outside, you're much more likely to get caught. Rothwell's numbers shoot some holes into some oft-repeated drug warrior talking points: that people don't get arrested for nonviolent drug crime as much as they used to (false), and that legalizing and decriminalizing certain drugs won't magically solve racial disparities in the criminal justice system (true, although the chart above suggests it could help).