The NAACP is backing a bill in Pennsylvania that would legalize and regulate marijuana. The legislation was proposed by Senator Daylin Leach, who hopes marijuana legalization would create new revenue for the state and allow law enforcement to focus their attention to more serious crime.
David Scott, chairman of the legal redress committee of the Cheltenham Area Branch NAACP, joined Senator Leach at a news conference about the legislation in Harrisburg on Tuesday morning.
According to the NAACP, blacks are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, despite the fact that usage rates are the same amongst blacks and white. By putting an end to prohibition, the NAACP feels that an end would also be put to biased arrests.
According to Leach, Pennsylvania spends approximately $350 million annually on arrests, incarceration, and monitoring of individuals found to be in possession of small amounts of marijuana. He explained, “We could tax this and gain revenue — that’s hundreds of millions of dollars each year.”