Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Marijuana Law Reform is a Civil Rights Issue

PhotobucketThis opinion piece was written for the San Francisco Chronicle by Alice Huffman, the president of the California state NAACP. It was written last month, but I just found it today while clicking through a bunch of hyperlinks on Huffpost. She offers a rational and eloquent argument for the legalization of marijuana, focusing on the reality of who suffers the most under anti-marijuana legislation. She writes:

We reject the oft-repeated but deceptive argument that there are only two choices for dealing with drugs - heavy-handed law enforcement or total permissiveness. Substance abuse and addiction are American problems that impact every socioeconomic group, and meaningful public health and safety strategies are needed to address it. However, law enforcement strategies that target poor blacks and Latinos and cause them to bear the burden and shame of arrest, prosecution and conviction for marijuana offenses must stop.

Despite consistent evidence that black youth use marijuana at lower rates than whites, in every one of the 25 largest counties in California, blacks are arrested for marijuana possession at higher rates than whites, typically at double, triple, or even quadruple the rate.

Her final message? Yes on California Proposition 19. Read her entire piece here.

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