The 420 Times told you last week about that study out of California, showing that blacks are targeted for arrest by police enforcing marijuana laws. This has prompted the NAACP of California to come out publicly in favor of CA Proposition 19. The President of the CA chapter of the NAACP, Alice Huff, wrote a stirring op-ed in The Huffington Post today that is worth reading in full. Here are some excerpts:
As leaders of the California NAACP, it is our mission to eradicate injustice and continue the fight for civil rights and social justice wherever and whenever we can. We are therefore compelled to speak out against another war, the so called “war on drugs.” To be clear, this is not a war on the drug lords and violent cartels, this is a war that disproportionately affects young men and women and the latest tool for imposing Jim Crow justice on poor African-Americans.
We reject the oft-repeated but deceptive argument that there are only two choices for addressing drugs — heavy handed law enforcement or total permissiveness. Substance abuse and addiction are American problems that affect 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.
The abject failure of The War on Drugs is apparent to most people; the question is, what is to be done? We agree with President Huff that passage of CA Prop 19 is a start down a long road to freedom.
The California NAACP does not believe maintaining the illusion we’re winning the “war on drugs” is worth sacrificing another generation of our young men and women. Enough is enough. We want change we can believe in; that’s why we’re supporting Prop. 19. Instead of wasting money on marijuana law enforcement, Prop. 19 will generate tax revenues we can use to improve the education and employment outcomes of our youth. Our youth want and deserve a future. Let’s invest in people, not prisons. It is time to end the failed war on drugs by decriminalizing and regulating marijuana to save our communities.
In the end of course, The War on Drugs effects every race and creed. When will we stop feeding The US Incarceration Machine and admit that our policies have not only failed, but they are harming society? Maybe this November in California we will get a bright new beginning.