PA NAACP Endorses Marijuana Legalization Legislation

The Pennsylvania Chapter of the NAACP endorsed Senate Bill 528, legislation that would regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, yesterday during a press conference in Harrisburg. SB 528 was introduced earlier this year by State Senator Daylin Leach*.

Speaking at the press conference the current chair of the Legal Redress Committee for the Cheltenham Area Branch of the NAACP, David Scott, stated, “The war on drugs is a catastrophic failure.”

Sponsor Daylin Leach welcomed the group’s support. “This is decimating the minority community. This is a problem that is particularly acute,” said Senator Leach.

More coverage of this endorsement can be found here, here, and here.

Sponsors of Senate Bill 528 hope to bring it up for a committee hearing in the fall.

A recent report released by the ACLU, The War on Marijuana: In Black and White, revealed that Pennsylvania was one of the worst states when it came to racial disparities in marijuana arrests. According to their data, an African American in Pennsylvania is over five times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white Pennsylvanians, despite using at similar rates.

*Senator Leach is also running for the US House of Representatives and has received support from NORML PAC. You can learn more about Senator Leach’s campaign here or the NORML PAC here. You can learn more about the ACLU report here.

16 thoughts

  1. I once read an op-ed asserting that the nascent war on drugs was a war on black. How true this became!

    Go NAACP – one more back seat of the bus you aren’t gonna ride on anymore.

  2. hey D.C. way to keep Jim Crow alive and well !your doing a great job. ASS HOLES!!!! Where is Jessy Jackson or All Sharpton?

  3. Pennsylvania’s legislature is trying to meet its budget deadline by the end of June, and Governor Tom Corbett’s proposals to sell off the state-controlled liquor system and change state pensions are running up against resistance.

    Now is the time when the state is looking for money the most, not the fall.

    Why is this waiting until the fall? It needs to be fast-tracked as the carrot dangled out in front of the politicians and the public. The need for the money is now, not the fall.

    It states: “Sponsors of Senate Bill 528 hope to bring it up for a committee hearing in the fall.”

    I mean, come on!

    Put something out there NOW about following Washington, whose liquor control system is/was similar to that of Pennsylvania. JOBS!

    If Corbett gets to privatize the liquor system in the Commonwealth then to keep those state workers under the Liquor Control Board employed let the organizational structure be assigned a new mission: to regulate cannabis.
    After that, the number and quality of the jobs created in the private sector as it assumes functions formerly directed by the state can be weighed. Which side will we get to hear “I told you so” from?

    When Pennsylvania legalizes I don’t want any of this you-can’t-grow-your-own shit like in Washington! Kleiman already has acknowledged that if brick and mortar places never open because of the feds or cold feet or whatever, that the collective structure where there is strength in numbers is the alternate way of supplying patients, and now adult recreational cannabis consumers. As Jabob Sullum puts it in his August/September Reason article The Cannabis Is Out of the Bag: “If federal drug warriors somehow prevent those [state-legal] stores from operating, they will be confronted by myriad unregulated, small-scale growers who will be a lot harder to identify, let alone control, than a few highly visible, state-licensed businesses.

    I mean, seriously, now is the time!

    How much of Pennsylvania’s cash problems do you estimate cannabis legalization will solve? What is the estimated profit and savings for the Commonwealth? Now is the time you make your biggest impact with that.

    Move it up! I mean, move it up in the time line. Get something together and move this legislation forward before there’s a budget. Put this legislation in now in with the budget legislation.

    It’s money you didn’t have before!

    I want to see things in the news about cannabis legalization being a major solution, if not the face-saving solution, to the budget woes.

    Jobs, jobs, jobs, Baby!

  4. It is amazing that the NAACP has sat on the back of the bus in the drug war. It is Jim Crow at its best. Perfect way to keep the minority down. Fathers in jail with a criminal record. Perfect. No high paying jobs for you and for that matter no job at all exempt at Micky D’s. Keep silent and play into the governments hand.

  5. While I’m glad to see the NAACP finally come around to support an end to a discriminatory drug war that has victimized the impoverished and minorities for decades, I’m getting sick of the coined phrase,” Failed Drug War.” Let’s get this straight; It’s a “Made-to-Fail Drug War.”
    Why else would Nixon have added and used executive privelege to protect the Department of Justice from Congressional oversight and prosecution? Why else would EVERY president ever since use executive privelege to cover up war crimes, whether it’s Carter and Reagan in Central America, Bush Sr. EVERYwhere, Clinton with his “Free Trade of Drugs” agreement, Bush Jr. in Afghanistan (opium) and Iraq (oil is an addictive drug too), and finally Obama in the fast and Furious scandal in Mexico.
    The cover up with executive privelege was crucial. The Nixon adminstration new damn well what they were doing was unconstitutional. Giving cops, an executive branch, specifically the DEA, the legislative authority to write our drug policy? There’s a reason we have three branches of government. Since it was Congress who broke the law and gave their power to the executive branch, basically the Justice Department, it’s going to have to be the Judicial branch, or the pro-marijuana Supreme Court that will have to fix it. What the NAACP should do is join the ACLU and NORML to take a case like Danny Chong’s to the Supreme Court but NOT based on collateral damage– in other words, sue the Controlled Substance Act for being unconstitutionally organized. Open up a like Zimmerman did to cover legal expenses, and the alleged victim will get more money right away than some stupid settlement with the DEA.
    The Made-to-Fail Drug War may contain a few more syllables then “Failed Drug War” but it represent how much bigger and more costly this drug war was always INTENDED to be than just going to war on our own minority communities. It has been a war on the world and against ourselves, with very few winners out of the Justice Department who are able to get away without fear of the asset forfeitures they stole, medicine they denied, lives they incarcerated and destroyed, innocent people they have killed and assets and freedom they have robbed.

  6. your lucky you have pot to use. I am in Florida. and I am ill the pills make my sick. not for long time use .But in Florida thay lick seeing use in paine then to help people lick me we need it bad I hope you are ok not sick ……

  7. The hearing is in the fall, that is if it gets scheduled. Pat Vance buried the last MMJ legislation by giving it a hearing and then never doing anything else with it again. That one was for MMJ only. This latest one’s for recreational adult.

    We need a twin-pronged approach. Listen up! Leach said a lot of politicians wouldn’t vote for the legalization unless it were secret ballot. Professor G. Terry Madonna polled just over 80% in favor of legal MMJ in Pennsylvania. Most of the comments on the PennLive article link from a comment about this issue in MPP’s write-up shows more commentts in favor of recreational legalization than not. That’s representative of tech-savvy younger voters.

    If you leave the matter of MMJ in PA up to wussy legislators nothing will happen. It would be better to put both the legalization of MMJ and the legalization of adult recreational cannabis as two (2) separate ballot items. Pennsylvania lacks the ballot initiative so the politicians would have to put the issues on as referendums or whatever you call it.

    Hey, I’m thinking this latest bill will get a hearing and then die a death of inactivity. Because the politicians want to secretly but not with a publicly recorded vote. They just don’t want all those argumentative people calling and writing and withdrawing their election donations. That’s their argument. You backup plan is the referendum for each. It would be a great financial rescue if the public would vote both into law. Keeping them separate could mean that the public will vote MMJ legal but not recreational use. If you bundle them voters who would only vote for MMJ but not recreational won’t vote for it because of what for them is a poison pill.

    Pennsylvania is a 1ng/ml state right down there with prohibitionist Oklahoma so you may need to go with a desensitization period of MMJ only and then after a few years like Washington and Colorado after more of the public see for themselves that MMJ is not the destruction of modern civilization they’ve been led to believe it to be.

    If Pennsylvania were to go this route and legalize both MMJ and recreational you know the feds had better just get out of the way.

    The Cannabis Is Out of the Bag

  8. I live in Pennsylvania and it’d be like
    dream if they only approved medical
    because besides Pittsburgh and
    Philadelphia; Pennsylvania is one
    of the more socially backward places
    in America I’m really surprised they’re
    even discussing it Maybe they are
    just trying to make it appear that
    they are up on things (what a joke)
    It’s like a fucking Russian Ghetto
    here or some such shit….lol

  9. But I have to give it up for the
    NAACP a true human rights
    orginization that fights for the
    little guy It is only through them
    and the ACLU that us little
    people have rights or a voice
    at all GodBless!!

  10. Senator Leach indicated that a good number of politicians told him they would vote for SB528 if it were secret ballot. The medical marijuana bill in the House is permanently stalled despite the fact that Professor G. Terry Madonna polled that just over 80% of Pennsylvania voters approve of medical marijuana. Because Pennsylvania has no ballot initiative process (Citizens in Charge link) the way to put this to the voters is by legislatively-referred constitutional ballot (Ballotpedia for Pennsylvania Ballot Measures) and “a majority vote is required (in two successive sessions of) the Pennsylvania General Assembly. However, when a ‘major emergency threatens or is about to threaten the Commonwealth’, the legislature can put a proposed amendment on the ballot in just one legislative session, if they gain a 2/3rds vote on the proposed amendment. “ (Ballotpedia for Legislatively-Referred Constitutional Amendment) If politicians are too afraid to vote for these pieces of legislation, the voters definitely should have the opportunity so that the laws reflect the will of the people governed by them. Both House Bill 1181 and Senate Bill 528 should be put to voters as 2 separate legislatively-referred ballot measures.

    I hope all this juristic jargon means Pennsylvania politicians can squeeze in the first session before the end of 2013, then turn around and vote on it for the second session right away early in 2014. Since they’re such wussies the sooner they get it moving so the voters can do it the better.

  11. Yeah, can we be a strong nation, if our leadership is bunch of God Damn Pussies, afraid of shadows and herbs and people of the “wrong color”?

  12. Some people need weed. I suffer from depression and know that things are way better if I have weed. It’s better to feel good and positive than awful and negative. Why should we be denied something that works to cure depression when we want it? For what reason? Weed is better for you than ALL other “drugs,” including sugar, alcohol and aspirin! Thousands of things WOULD/WILL be better if and when Marijuana is “allowed.”


    1) Go to and sign the petition to get this before the White House

    2) Please make this petition known to other groups, such as

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    Please help us to compel the White House to react on this issue, (since proactive leadership isn’t forthcoming…).

    “Signatures needed by July 24, 2013 to reach goal of 100,000”

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