NAACP Backs Marijuana Legalization in Colorado

Amendment 64, Colorado’s ballot measure that seeks the legalization of marijuana for adult use and regulation of the drug similar to that of alcohol, is picking up a new endorsement from the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The Denver Post reports that at a Thursday morning conference, the NAACP’s Colorado-Wyoming-Montana local branch is expected to announce its support of Amendment 64, not because the group necessarily favors marijuana use, but because members say current marijuana laws lead to a disproportionately high number of people of color being incarcerated or otherwise negatively affected.

“Marijuana prohibition policy does more harm to our communities than good,” said Rosemary Harris Lytle in a statement, president of the NAACP-Colorado-Montana-Wyoming State Conference. “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.”

The NAACP provided this data in a press statement about marijuana arrests in Colorado:

African-Americans made up roughly 4% of the population in Colorado in 2010, but they accounted for about 9% of marijuana possession arrests and 22% of arrests for marijuana sales and cultivation. The numbers in Denver are particularly staggering. According to a report prepared by the Denver Police Department for the the city’s Marijuana Policy Review Panel, African-Americans accounted for more than 31.5% percent of arrests for private adult marijuana possession, despite making up less than 11% of the city’s population.

Colorado, Washington and Oregon all have marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot this November and earlier this month, a local NAACP group already endorsed the Oregon measure, according to Oregon Live.

– Read the entire article at The Huffington Post.