The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has endorsed Amendment 64, Colorado’s marijuana legalization measure.
The NAACP believes that the war on drugs is actually a war on minorities, who are targeted for drug crimes far more frequently than their white peers.
In a press release, the NAACP reported that although African Americans make up only 4% of Colorado’s population, they accounted for 9% of the state”s marijuana possession arrests and 22% of the state’s marijuana distribution arrests in 2010. If you look at the city of Denver, African Americans make up 11% of the city’s population but accounted for for 31.5% of all arrests for adult marijuana possession in 2010.
The President of the NAACP Colorado-Montana-Wyoming State Conference, Rosemary Harris Lytle, explained, “Marijuana prohibition policy does more harm to our communities than good. That is why we have endorsed Amendment 64, which presents a more effective and socially responsible approach to how Colorado addresses the adult use of marijuana.”
If marijuana were legalized, or even decriminalized, in Colorado, it would decrease the toll on Colorado’s residents of color.
In addition to Colorado, Washington and Oregon have marijuana legalization initiatives on the General Election Ballot. A local Oregon NAACP group endorsed the state’s legalization measure, Measure 80, earlier this month.