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Californian NAACP Offers Support to Marijuana Legalization Measure

Calling this a civil rights issue, the California charter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has announced its support of a ballot measure that, if passed, could mean the legalization of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal consumption.

In explaining the organization’s rationale for supporting legalized marijuana, California NAACP Charter president Alice Huffman called marijuana arrests a civil rights issue and pointed to a wide gap in arrest rates between white and black Californians for non serious marijuana crimes.

She argued that at present, these laws are used to persecute minorities and said, "Justice is the quality of being just and fair and these laws have been neither just nor fair…This is not a war on the drug lords, this is a war against young men and women of color. Once a young person is arrested and brought under the justice system, he or she is more likely to get caught in the criminal justice system again, further wasting tax dollars."

Although federal survey data indicates that black people between the ages of 18 and 25 use marijuana less frequently than white people from the same age group, black people in the 25 largest counties in California are as much as 4 times more likely to get arrested on a marijuana crime.

Voters will decide the ballot measure in November. Should the marijuana legalization measure meet with voter support:

  • Up to an ounce of marijuana would be legal for personal consumption
  • California residents could grow marijuana in gardens for personal use
  • Individual jurisdictions could decide whether or not to allow marijuana sales

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