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

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 thoughts

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  10. FTW x 1000

    yes indeed, this is BIG, bill not maher lol dude wtf man, let em try that shit then we will simply label em as racist idiots….no mate thi si s a great thing, just watch this space eh

  11. Interesting article. It’s good to see some support from those outside the realm of those directly involved with cannabis smokers. The NAACP has been a very organized and strong willed group and to have them in our corner is a very good sign. It seems that police officers who have been using racist notions to ‘clean the streets’ have shot themselves in the foot and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

    The only thing that worries me is the idea that the police can change their policies and instead of just stopping and frisking the black ‘suspicious individuals’ they can start frisking everyone. Unlike the airline security people at airports, there may be a bit more success in finding Marijuana on little old ladies instead of bombs. Once again this begs the question as to what police think the difference is between a criminal and a non-violent criminal.

    One thing that did disturb me about this article is this quote I read in the middle of it:

    “I had a good year in 2009; I only buried six youths related to drugs and drug overdoses,” said Bishop Ron Allen, president of the International Faith Based Coalition. “If marijuana is legalized in the state of California, crime will increase, murder will increase. If marijuana is legalized in my community, and is legalized in my world, and our youth have an opportunity to be able to use, we will see more dropouts, we will see an increase of crime, and we will see more individuals hanging out on the corner, and I am seriously afraid we will lose generations to come.”

    My first question is how is it a good year when only six ‘youths’ have died due to drugs? What makes me suspicious is that the quote doesn’t state what these six ‘youths’ died of and whether cannabis had any hand in it. The last thing I would like to call attention to is the abundant ignorance that this person is slinging when he says that crime will increase due to legalization of cannabis. As we all know, the facts are out and that is so very far from the truth it’s sad.

    We’ve got to get the facts out there people. Some don’t want to listen to reason and we’ve got to make sure that those who do know what scientists and doctors, not politicians and lobbyists, think. It is our job to spread the word and tell others what we know to be true. We’ve got to keep working.


  13. and the ACLU is suing Wal-Mart for firing a medical marijuana user.
    It’s a slow, sometimes painful process, but it seems society is slowly rubbing the sand out of it’s sleepy eyes and saying, “huh? what’s going on? This does not seem right.”

    Of course, we knew it all along. Often, as I sit and smoke I think about this whole situation and am filled with a mix of frustration and hope. I hope my hope is justified and my frustration will soon give way to celebration. Meanwhile I seem to be able to get good product in at a reasonable price so whatever.

    Smoke on brothers ans sisters!

  14. The one and only Renewable & Biodegradable oil source is currently illegal. The ‘War on Drugs’ has? been the second biggest social failure in?? American History, second only to Slavery. Re-Legalize Industrial Hemp so we can grow all of our oil and fuel in America Mr. President. Hemp Biodiesel Engines + Hemp Cellulose Ethanol = WIN. All I’m saying is if we can use Hemp to defeat? the Axis powers in WWII, then why can’t we use it for renewable energy? Cuz some kid somewhere might get high? Riiiight

  15. @always something…

    There wouldn’t be any DWI’s for weed because people drive fine on weed. Take it from me, it is easy to drive on weed, and in fact driving on weed has made me a better driver overall. Driving drunk is a different story…

  16. Holy Smokes. The record shows that prohibition destroys lives of families. A community coming together to end the insane notion that our policies are working. 40 years of prohibition, millions spent on incarceration, families torn apart. What don’t they (leaders) understand! The NAACP did the right thing. They are saying “enough is enough.” We want our communities safe. Take the illegal profits out of the hands of criminals and regulate cannabis. Regulation means legal adult supervision, not street dealer supervision.

    The Rev.sLeezy

  17. I’m not a particalar fan of “ethnocentric” groups. That being said, their support will go a long way towards making this a reality. Wise people take help where they can get it.

  18. Good for the NAACP to stand up for medical marijuana laws to protect all communities and especially theirs since african-americans have been specifically targeted for many years.

    If everyone wants to protest how ridiculously stupid this country is and how much they imprison us and waste our tax dollars to imprison us, then everyone should go to the DC 4th of July smoke-in. The problem with the million marijuana march is it is spread out all over, even small podunk towns. You cannot get good media attention this way. It was the stupidest idea ever. If you can get one to two million people in DC to get noticed together, then your cause will be noticed. See you there.

  19. these folks are a well funded, organized and influential grassroots organization.

    just what we need in this 50/50 battle.

    somewhere in heaven satchmo is blowin his horn.


  20. George Washington grew Hemp!! Give me Freedom, or give me death! Vote YES on Prop 19!!!

  21. Hi All. Are you fired up … he said ARE YOU FIRED UP!! Anyway, did anyone hear President Obama’s speech about legalizing deprioritizing and regulating cannabis with 18345.6 designation : Nation Legal_\|/_ (pot leaf).. he wants national legality and I’m not sure I agree with Ammiano on his good and bad philosophy about ‘ma rijua na’ legality.. I like cannabis legality and I want the deal on National Decrim known as Nation Legal_\|/_ (pot leaf symbol).. it will be designation 18345.6 and include future accord 100 grams cannabis manna pot nationwide at about the age 20 years (age) :: we at midwest cannabis industry can support an equation 20 tons outdoor a given time .. and if you people will allow outdoor common not the Shiva Skunk and Durban what so ever manicured outdoor CAkind~a buds ,. we will legalize cannabis manna pot and de emphasize the phrase ‘ma rijua na’ (mana and rijua hybrid) [a kinda good outdoor exampl and crazy weed : ‘rijua’.] and I will work with Midwest ‘Kingdom’ NORML Chapters and actually decriminalize cannabis manna nationwide and at the Midwest TriCameral Union future Green Smoke OK _\|/_ / Bryan .. OK fire it up .. and save the planet.

  22. Some Reverend Ron Allen guy, a recovered crack addict, is calling for Alice Huffman to step down on the grounds that her position promotes kids getting high or some such shit. The CNN report, which was on Cannabis Culture’s site, also mentioned that there is a slight majority in California against legalization.

    I can just see prohibitionists pulling out all the stops, trotting out child victims of irresponsible parents and neighbors.

    The legalization side ought also to trot out their poster people to make a lot of emotional pleas, pleas for sympathy for those (those of us) who genuinely benefit from cannabis instead of prescription drugs or alcohol to relax after work or whatever.

    Legalization will definitely bring age controls and access control with it, so having parents keep it out of reach of minors is the responsible campaign counterargument to more kids will get it because more of their parents will have it to steal from.

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