NAACP Announces Its “Unconditional Support” For California’s Marijuana Legalization Measure

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 29, 2010

    The California NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) today expressed its “unconditional support” for The Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Initiative 2010, which will appear on the November statewide ballot.

    The measure, also known as Proposition 19, would allow adults 21 years or older to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use. It would also permit local governments the option to authorize the retail sale and commercial cultivation of cannabis to adults. Personal marijuana cultivation or not-for-profit sales of marijuana would not be taxed under the measure.

    The California NAACP announced its endorsement of the measure at a news conference in Sacramento this morning. The press conference coincided with the release of a report finding that African Americans are arrested for marijuana possession offenses in California’s 25 largest counties at more than twice the rates of Caucasians.

    “Young blacks use marijuana at lower rates than young whites. Yet from 2004 through 2008, in every one of the 25 largest counties in California, blacks were arrested for marijuana possession at higher rates than whites, typically at double, triple or even quadruple the rate of whites,” the report concluded. “[B]acks were arrested for simple marijuana possession far out of proportion to their percentage in the total population of the counties. In the 25 largest counties as a whole, blacks are 7% of the population but 20% of the people arrested for possessing marijuana.

    Statewide, authors reported that in 2008 African Americans and Latinos combined comprised less than 44% of the state’s population, but together constituted 56% of the people arrested in California for possessing marijuana. An estimated 80 percent of those arrested were age 29 or younger.

    Since 1990, annual marijuana possession arrests of youth of color in California have risen from 3,100 to over 16,000 — an increase that is about three times greater than the group’s population growth.

    Alice Huffman, President of the California State Conference of the NAACP stated: “We have empirical proof that the application of the marijuana laws has been unfairly applied to young people of color. … We are joining a growing number of medical professionals, labor organizations, law enforcement authorities, local municipalities, and approximately 56% of the public, in saying that it is time to (depenalize) the [adult] use of marijuana.”

    In 2008, police in California made over 61,000 arrests for marijuana possession offenses, a criminal misdemeanor. Law enforcement made over 17,000 additional arrests for marijuana felony violations – a category that includes personal cultivation of even a single plant.

    42 responses to “NAACP Announces Its “Unconditional Support” For California’s Marijuana Legalization Measure”

    1. Dirty D says:

      I have always said that we needed the NAACP to be on our side. We need to show all people of color that these laws were created to punish them!

    2. Don_M says:

      This is big! The NAACP endorsement is a major win for legalization proponents!!! 🙂

      Guess what, I didn’t think much of her when she campaigned with John McCain during the presidential election but my opinion of her just changed dramatically. She told the Fox Biz Network:

      “If somebody’s gonna to smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody any harm, then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems we have in society.”

      Palin is not for legalization. No. But she thinks the fuzz should “not concentrate on such a, relatively speaking, minimal problem we have in the country.”

      So, even if she’s not for legalization for some obscure reason, at least she thinks the police should have better things to do!!! She is a lot smarter than I originally gave her credit for. In fact, I’d say, she is a genius compared to the status quo politicians!

    3. steve basham says:

      questions regarding ” Responsible Cannabis Growers/User’s ” Helping the police clean up the crack, gang infested streets, and neighborhoods in Ca.?? It’s happening…I know!

      I’m a non – toker, but this whole prohibiton bs. has about got on my last nerve….

      Mississippi University grows, and distributes, but that’s ok…..But, if a regular person was try to help themselves, then they get busted! Screw that!

      How about Israel??? Cannabis is a must by most doctors’ plenty of responsible people out here standing, and watching!! Hopeing, and praying, and DYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      C’mon!!! Stand the hell up folks!!!!!!! You only have your life to loose, God forbid you get cancer ect. ect. ect….

    4. This is ONLY going to fuel racism toward the movement. The same racism that fueled prohibition of cannabis in the 30’s. “oh them black people just wanna smoke they’s weeeed”
      Maybe we’d be better off without the NAACP’s support.

      [Editor’s note: Not!]

    5. always something... says:

      Legalization would be nice but think about the amount of DWI arrests that are going to happen on the roads, and they will probably put a felony count against you for it unreal…The law will have their way any day of the week in the USA law enforcement and government wins…………………………………….

    6. claygooding says:

      You would think they would have lead the pack on this issue,but I guess some issues are just too controversial to get on board until you see the track laid.
      The drug warriors have used guns,military tactics,imprisonment,financial devastation,social propaganda and spent over a trillion dollars in a war against American citizens,while the stoners have used the truth and their wits,and the stoners are winning.

    7. Mike Stroup says:

      If prohibitionists were capable of feeling shame they would hang their heads, as they begin looking for places to hide. The days of reconing are fast approaching. There must be justice and prohibitionist (a.k.a. Drug “War” criminals) must be held accountable for their violations of human rights and God’s will for people to live in freedom and liberty, as acknowledged and cited in the Constitution of the United States.

    8. MatterofLiberty says:

      This is great news! Now when will the rest of the NAACP chapters join the call for the end of one of the most racist set of laws on the planet?

    9. pass ab 2254 says:

      right on!!! keep up the power and vote yes to legalization…peace

    10. Tac66 says:

      It has already been scientifically proven since 2006 that the only harmful effect from marijuana is loss of memory and being tired while under the influence. If you are responsible, just as with alcohol, it really isn’t a big deal. Young kids have been kicked out of their homes for a plant. I don’t use it, I am interested about the topic but in my opinion it is kind of a waste of $. I do not mind those who do use it, even for recreational use, and do not think any different of them.