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NAACP signs onto marijuana legalization measure

By Josh Richman
Monday, June 28th, 2010 at 10:57 am in 2010 election, ballot measures, marijuana.

The framing of this November’s marijuana legalization ballot measure as a civil rights issue continues: The California State Conference of the NAACP will hold a news conference tomorrow morning in Sacramento to announce its “unconditional support” for the Control and Tax Cannabis Initiative 2010.

Alice Huffman“We are joining a growing number of medical professionals, labor organizations, law enforcement authorities, local municipalities, and approximately 56 percent of the public, in saying that it is time to decriminalize the use of marijuana,” State NAACP President Alice Huffman said in a news release. “There is a strong racial component that must be considered when we investigate how the marijuana laws are applied to people of color.”

The Drug Policy Alliance will join the NAACP and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition at tomorrow’s news conference to release a report, “Targeting Blacks for Marijuana,” based on marijuana possession arrests of African Americans in California’s 25 largest counties. The alliance says the report shows African Americans are arrested for marijuana possession at higher rates than whites – at double, triple or even quadruple the rate of whites – even though the U.S. government studies consistently find that young blacks use marijuana at lower rates than young whites.

“We have empirical proof that the application of the marijuana laws has been unfairly applied to our young people of color,” Huffman said. “Justice is the quality of being just and fair and these laws have been neither just nor fair.”

“We, at the California NAACP advocate that what’s just is justice for us. Under the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ It is our mission to eradicate injustice and continue the fight for civil rights and social justice wherever and whenever we can.”

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  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Added proof that this venerable organization has lost its way. The NAACP is now looking under rocks to find racially charged issues. It’s a page from the Jesse Jackson, Sr, playbook. It is sad.

  • Josh Richman

    In fact, some African American community leaders are dead set against this measure.

  • wayneflo

    It’s great to see California organizations making the right stand.

    Cannabis is SAFER than alcohol. It is less intoxicating and does not cause its consumers to become violent. It does not have long term toxic effects on the body and is not physically addictive.

    Legalizing it will wipe out over 60% of violent cartel and street gang profits and put it in a regulated market only available to adults.

    The only thing keeping cannabis illegal is the silence of people who believe it should be legal. It’s time for that silence to end.

    Register to vote, and do it!
    Vote yes for the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010

  • Elwood

    What RR said, but I would like to add that their recent positions seem to indicate that the NAACP have lost their flipping minds.

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  • Brinna Nanda

    RR, Josh and Elwood

    One in 100 adults in the United States are in prison, most of them because of non-violent drug charges. That percentage increases to an astounding 1 in 15 for African-Americans, yet drug use in this community is lower than those of whites.

    Clearly, laws that so unfairly targets one segment of the population must be discredited and abandoned. The N.A.A.C.P. made the right move.

  • M

    This is a courageous position by a visionary leader.

    There are more African Americans under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.

    Get Informed. Do the right thing like the CA NAACP:

    http://blog.norml.org/2010/03/10/the-new-jim-crow-how-the-war-on-drugs-gave-birth-to-a-permanent-american-undercaste/

  • Elwood

    Re: #6:

    Do you have any figures on how many blacks are imprisoned for crack cocaine offenses and how many for weed?

  • Allen Payton

    As a member of the East County Branch of the NAACP, I want to say this is a big mistake. With the negative impacts from marijuana on a person’s education this does nothing to advance the cause of African-Americans.
    If it’s an equal application of the marijuana laws, then fine, let’s fight that – that’s a equal justice issue. But to legalize its use is not the solution.

  • wayneflo

    @Allen Payton

    Cannabis should be legalized because it’s SAFER than alcohol.

    Every objective study concludes it is far less toxic and far less intoxicating. Alcohol is also physically addictive, cannabis is not.

    Alcohol use fuels aggressive behavior and violence, including domestic abuse, assaults and vandalism. Cannabis use does not.

    Legalizing cannabis will severely shrink the violent cartels and street gangs by wiping out over 60% of their profit. It will take cannabis out of the hands of criminals and put it in a well-regulated market only available to adults.

    Cannabis sales will generate $1.4B/yr in taxes, and allow law enforcement to focus on real crime. The fruitless drug war has wasted $1 trillion.

    Cannabis is SAFER than alcohol! Let people choose the SAFER drug for relaxation and recreation.

  • Conservative Christian

    Fellow readers, if you’d like to VOTE on any upcoming related opportunities on this, here are the links to REGISTER TO VOTE in a few of the states with mj laws on the ballot in November. And while we’re talking, tell people to be on the watch for the “October Surprise”, some trumped-up bad “news” about marijuana that will be intended to persuade voters at the last minute. Register to VOTE and tell your friends to not fall for the “October Surprise!”

    (Remove the spaces in the w w w portions of the link and then paste the link into your browser)

    ARIZONA citizens can register to vote at http://w w w .azsos.gov/election/voterregistration.htm
    Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 3, 2010.

    CALIFORNIA citizens can register to vote at
    https://w w w .sos.ca.gov/nvrc/fedform/ Just fill out the form and mail it in!
    Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 17, 2010.

    COLRADO citizens can register to vote at http://w w w .sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/ . There’s a link in the “Voter Information” section. Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 1, 2010.

    GEORGIA citizens can register to vote at
    http://w w w .sos.georgia.gov/elections/voter_registration/voter_reg_app.htm
    Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 4, 2010.

    KANSAS citizens can register to vote at
    https://w w w .kdor.org/voterregistration/Default.aspx
    Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 16 or 17, 2010.

    MAINE citizens have to register in person; you can read about it at http://w w w .maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/voterguide.html
    In Maine, you can apparently register all the way up until election day, so Maine citizens, let’s turn out to vote!

    MICHIGAN citizens can register to vote at
    http://w w w .michigan.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127-50050_50420-175878–,00.html
    Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 1, 2010.

    MINNESOTA citizens can register to vote at http://w w w .sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=204
    Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 10, 2010.

    MONTANA citizens can check their registration status and find other information at https://app.mt.gov/voterinfo/ or get the voter registration form at http://w w w .co.yellowstone.mt.gov/elections/ (sorry, I couldn’t find a state-wide site for this. I hope this gives you a good starting point, Montana!)

    NEVADA citizens can register to vote at
    http://nvsos.gov/index.aspx?page=76
    Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 12.

    NORTH CAROLINA citizens can register to vote at
    http://w w w .sboe.state.nc.us/content.aspx?id=23
    Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 7, 2010.

    OREGON citizens can register online at
    http://w w w .sos.state.or.us/elections/votreg/vreg.htm
    Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 16.

    SOUTH DAKOTA citizens can get the voter registration form online at
    http://w w w .sdsos.gov/electionsvoteregistration/registrationvoting.shtm
    Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 10.

    WASHINGTON citizens can register online here. Registration for the November 2, 2010 election appears to be open until October 4, 2010.

    Other states: Google your State name and the phrase “voter registration” to find out how to REGISTER TODAY so you can VOTE in NOVEMBER

    I may be a day or two off on some of the registration dates, so (1) get this done early and (2) even if you get this info on or after the dates I’ve listed, go ahead and try to register. This is our chance to make a difference!

    Go online right now and get this one behind you, and you can vote in November!

    Safer than aspirin; less addictive than coffee. Register. Vote. Change things.

  • Josh Richman

    The Tax Cannabis 2010 people referred me a few minutes ago to a SurveyUSA poll of 500 California adults conducted in April, which found that African Americans support marijuana legalization at a higher rate (67 percent) than the population as a whole (56 percent). The overall poll had a 4.4 percentage point margin of error, presumably higher for the African-American subsample.

  • Elwood

    “The overall poll had a 4.4 percentage point margin of error, presumably higher for the African-American subsample.”

    What is the point you are trying to make? Are the blacks stoned? Are they stupid?

    Explanation please.

  • Josh Richman

    The margin of error isn’t a measure of intelligence, Elwood – it’s a statistic expressing the amount of random sampling error in a survey’s results. If the total population surveyed has a certain margin of error, a subset within that population will have a larger margin.

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  • Richard Steeb

    It’s long part time to confront the gross racial disparity in the enforcement of the abomination that is Cannabis prohibition. The damned law was racist in its origins and is absolutely to be repudiated. The law is immoral; repeal it. Yesterday.

    Richard Paul Steeb, San Jose California