NAACP Regional Chapters Endorse CO, OR, WA Marijuana Initiatives

All three marijuana legalization initiatives on state ballots this year have won the endorsement of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) regional organizations this week. Last Wednesday, the Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming conference of the NAACP endorsed the Colorado initiative, and last Friday, the Alaska, Washington, and Oregon conference of the NAACP endorsed the Washington initiative. That same conference endorsed the Oregon initiative earlier this month.

The Colorado initiative, Amendment 64, has already won the support of a growing list of organizations, including the Democratic and Libertarian Parties of Colorado, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, and the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. Similarly, the Washington initiative, I-502, also has a growing list of endorsers, including the King County (Seattle) Bar Association, the Washington State Labor Council of the AFL-CIO, the Green Party, the state Democratic Party, and numerous county and local Democratic Party groups. Likewise, the Oregon initiative, Measure 80, is busily picking up endorsements as well, including that of the Libertarian Party presidential ticket.

"In ending the prohibition against adult use of marijuana, we might affect mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on African-Americans and other people of color," said Rocky Mountain states regional NAACP president Rosemary Harris-Lytle.

"Treating marijuana use as a crime has not only failed, it has perpetuated racial inequities through unequal enforcement," said Pacific Northwest regional president Oscar Eason, Jr.  "African Americans are no more likely than whites to use marijuana, but we are much more likely to be arrested for it."

Every endorsement counts in what will be a nail-biter of a campaign in both states. According to recent polls, the Colorado and Washington initiatives are leading, but are only hovering around the 50% support level. It takes 50% plus one to win, and veteran initiative watchers say initiatives should be polling at least 60% as the campaigns head into the home stretch because some support is soft and likely to be peeled off by last minute opposition campaigning.

In Colorado, an early August Public Policy Polling survey of likely voters had Amendment 64 leading 49% to 40% and trending upward from an earlier PPP poll that had it leading 46% to 42%, but still not over 50%. In Washington, a July Public Policy Polling survey had I-502 leading 50% to 37% and trending upward over an earlier PPP poll that had it leading 47% to 39%, but still not over 50%. The battle looks to be a little tougher in Oregon, where a July Public Policy Polling survey asking a generic question about whether marijuana should be legalized had 43% saying yes and 46% saying no.

Look for in-depth reporting on these three marijuana legalization initiatives and their prospects after the Labor Day holiday.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Make your voice heard

Take the time to submit questions to CNN, ABC and PBS regarding how the Presidential candidates would reaction if any the marijuana initiatives passed in CO, WA  and OR. This is an opportunity to put the legalization issue on the international stage and certainly force the candidates who have avoided addressing this issue to get their opinion on the record.

NAACP Endorsement is NOT a Good Thing

The NAACP is not a civil rights organization.  It's a business and a corrupt one at that.  The statement that all races use marijuana but coloreds are more likely to be arrested for it is misleading . Coloreds commit more crime in general and put themselves in contact more often with law enforcement.  Arresting coloreds for breaking the law is not racist.  If a movement wants legitimacy it needs to avoid the NAACP.

Seriously?

I can't determine if your posting has you just joking about a serious issue or if you're just a rabble rouser. But in case you sincerely believe that targeting African-Americans for pot arrests isn't racist, that's the whole point. If America's justice system were fair and equal, the arrest rate for pot would be the same for all races. In New York State, racism is the train that drives the criminal justice system. It starts with the state funded task force operations that target inner cities minorities while completely ignoring the drug trade in suburbia. Then prosecutors make decisions about how they're going to charge people with drug offenses. Thirdly, rich whites have the resources and can afford to buy their way out of a prison sentences while public defenders assigned to represent inner city minorities recommend plea bargains that usually result with their clients owning a criminal record and most likely in jail. And finally, this racist pattern is supported by enough the get-tough-on-crime-at any-cost crowd, such as yourself to persuade our elected officials to continue to pass laws that keep this status quo system moving forward. Not to mention, the special interests(police and prison guard unions)  that profit from this discrimination and contribute heavily to the coffers of the politicians' campaign funds. 

 

And by identifying Blacks as coloreds, you reveal your racist 1950s attitude. Get with the times for this century. It's 2012. It's quite apparent that your ox isn't being gored by the justice system you defend so vigorously.

Half agreed. I am aware of

Half agreed. I am aware of the racial disparities in America's drug war and the poor not being able to defend themselves against the system. I am also against that. But something tells me that (some) of these groups won't give a crap about legalisation if the situation was reversed and it was only white, rich people getting arrested. If the system was rigged in their favour they probably would have no problem sending out Stasi-like agents spying on rich neighbourhoods, making sure the rich folks aren't toking on politically incorrect substances. A REAL legalisation proponent would be against ANYONE getting arrested for pot regardless of race, gender, class or social status.

I am so happy to see this

I am so happy to see this happening in my lifetime. It has been a long hard time of criminal prosecution of peoples constitutional right to pursue happiness or it might be the bill of rights i am not sure I am high right now. Mary J.

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