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National Black Police Assn. supports California's marijuana legalization initiative

Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization initiative, picked up the support Thursday of a national organization that represents African American police officers, as the campaign for legalization continues to try to build support in the black community and among law enforcement officials.

The National Black Police Assn., which has about 15,000 members, is the second African American organization to back the measure. The California NAACP has also endorsed it, citing the disproportionate arrest and incarceration of African Americans caught with marijuana.

Ron Hampton, the police association’s executive director, said he decided the group should get behind the measure because it would eliminate laws that have a negative impact on the black community.

“It means that we will be locking up less African American men and women and children who are using drugs,” said Hampton, a retired Washington, D.C., police officer with 25 years experience. “We’ve got more people in prison. We’ve got more young people in prison. Blacks go to jail more than whites for doing the same thing.”

Hampton said that the money being spent on the war on drugs could be better spent on education, housing and creating jobs. “It just seemed like to me that we have been distracted in this whole thing,” he said. “We can take that money, and focus and concentrate on things that really make a difference in our community.”


Neill Franklin, a retired police officer and the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and Alice Huffman, the state NAACP’s president, spoke on a panel at the black police association’s conference in Sacramento on Thursday. “I saw with my own eyes the devastating impact these misguided marijuana laws have on our communities and neighborhoods,” said Franklin, who is black and who worked in law enforcement for 33 years.

LEAP and the state NAACP are seeking to broaden support for Proposition 19, which would allow people 21 years old and over to grow marijuana and possess up to an ounce. LEAP announced the black police association’s support Thursday in a news release. About 30 police officers and law enforcement officials in California have also endorsed the measure.

The state NAACP’s support came as the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports legalization, released a report showing African Americans represent 22% of marijuana arrests even though they are less than 7% of the population. The action stirred up opposition among a group of black ministers who oppose the measure and who called for Huffman’s ouster.

-- John Hoeffel


Comments () | Archives (47)

I'd like to be in favor of this initiative for the reasons given. I worry that if it passes, people will come to California from all sorts of places and buy pot and smoke it in public and kind of mess up the state. Can somebody in favor of the initiative alleviate my worries? I will vote for it if you can.

Intelligent move. We need to evolve!

Prohibition didn't work for for alcohol and it won't work for drugs either why is it that my kids can buy marijuana anywhere anytime in LA but they can't buy liquor control is better than prohibition when are we adult gonna learn, are we ever gonna learn?

"...citing the disproportionate arrest and incarceration of African Americans caught with marijuana. "

Yes, next we need to legalized crack too, I guess.

Right on, brothers!

This is great news!

im mad this 'national' association only has 15000 members!

Very good. It's obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes that Prohibition is only resulting in hardship and misery for thousands across both California and the nation. The only way to truly start making a permanent difference in the safety of our communities and stop the cartel violence is to *legalize*cannabis this November. Anything else is just window dressing, after all, cannabis and other substances have _not_ gone away even after decades of the War on Drugs!

I didn't know there was a NBPA.

Is there one for the white folks, Hispanics, Asians, etc.?

"The action stirred up opposition among a group of black ministers who oppose the measure and who called for Huffman’s ouster."

Further evidence that prohibition of marijuana is based more on quasi-religious beliefs than sound science and public policy.

I agree with the legalization of all drugs. Tax it highly, use the money to provide long term treatment and education. People who want to use drugs are going to do it whether it is legal not. Prohibition doesn't work it creates a violent sub-culture of drug dealers/cartels. Legalization will take the violence out it all.

End the War on Drugs it doesn't work...just look at the proof all around you and in the media. The War on Drugs is just another way of creating more of the mass prison system, increasing employment options in corrections and gives license to oppress. Mass incarceration is bankrupting this country and labeling people for the rest of their lives for non-violent offenses (drug use). The War on Drugs is just another version of Jim Crow laws here in the USA!

Legalize and tax heavily.


I really like maryajuana.

I'm concerned, too, "CONCERNED"... because people like you spread senseless propaganda about a harmless plant.

Go after tobacco and alcohol producers; those drugs actually have detrimental effects on users that far exceed any of the harms associated with Marijuana.

Also: Your statement that this will cause more problems is unfounded. In the roughly 100 years of drug prohibition (1910 - 2010) National Drug addiction statistics have remained steady at 1.3% of the population.

Our local, county, state, and national governmental bodies need to stop wasting their money on prohibition. We've spent over $1,000,000,000,000 on the "War on Drugs" and all that we have to show for it is increased drug availability.

Give me a break.

I'm concerned more idiots, seemingly like yourself, will continue throwing money at a problem and hoping it will go away. Legalize, tax, educate.

What does the National White Police Association think?

If you don't carry it, you wouldn't go to jail for it! What the he** is up with the NAACP? There’s a place in society for the NAACP and I support most of what they do, but this a not a good battle to fight. Where does it stop, when do people (regardless of race) have to take responsibility for their actions? Most people in California are given citations for marijuana and the color of their skin makes no difference at all. If they’re going to jail because they have an excessive amount; such as for sales, then they should go to prison regardless of race. If there are too many African American’s going to jail for it, then there should be outreach and drug prevention programs put into place in drug plagued neighborhoods where African Americans are going to prison. All the NAACP is doing, is teaching the people of such neighborhoods that the law is wrong. The misrepresentation of victimization isn’t helping anyone.

The NAACP needs to fight for the rights of ALL people, people that really need the help. How about starting in areas where people are extremely poor and not being represented by local politicians? There are enough people in low socioeconomic neighborhoods to keep the NAACP busy for years. Spending time in the defense of people of any race, carrying drugs of any type, is a disservice to those who really need representation. Has the NAACP lost its vision, focus and ethics?? I sure hope not…

Can we get a study on how many Blacks females are on welfare? Why do I get the feeling it's going to be a much larger % than any other race.

Your now making this a race issue and I'm sure liberal newspapers like this one will try and help out as much as possible.

If your a cop in my area and wants to use marijuana please go away we dont want you.

People already come to California for marijuana and it is exported quite a bit to other states. That's the whole purpose of the interstate interdiction teams that work to curb such transportations. There was a comment from someone who said the war on drugs hasn't made marijuana go away and they're right, it hasn't. Does that mean it should be legalized? NO! Cocaine and methamphetamine use are plaguing cities across the US in rich and poor neighborhoods. Legalizing that which was made illegal for good reason isn't the answer.

Try sitting in courtrooms during trials of serious crimes and you'll see firsthand the effect of drugs on society.

Finally! Cops who are willing to step forward and state what their years of dedicated drug law enforcement have convinced them of: prohibition doesn't work. In fact, it makes our drug problems worse, just as alcohol prohibition made our alcohol problems worse by adding crime and corruption to the mix.

This is no fault of the cops. They have fought tooth and nail, but Nixon's "war on drugs" has been going on for 40 years, cost countless lives and over a trillion dollars, and drugs are stronger, cheaper, and easier to get than ever. "Trying harder" will just shovel money down the rathole faster. It's time to stop asking our police to do the impossible and adopt a more rational strategy.

Permitting regulated sale of marijuana (and other drugs) won't eliminate our drug problem, but it will go a long way toward eliminating our crime and violence problems. Then we can deal with our drug problem as the social and medical problem it is.

Who is in control of drug sales now? Certainly not your local licensing board. The criminal decides what is going to be sold, where, when, to whom, and for how much. And, if you're 14 years old and show up with money, you've got a deal. If drug sales were licensed and regulated, all that would be up to the local licensing board, the same as alcohol. Whom do you want in charge of drug sales? The drug cartels, or licensed and regulated dealers? Pick one or the other, because it's going to be one or the other. Currently, we're choosing the drug cartels.

“It means that we will be locking up less African American men and women and children who are using drugs,” said Hampton, a retired Washington, D.C., police officer with 25 years experience. “We’ve got more people in prison. We’ve got more young people in prison. Blacks go to jail more than whites for doing the same thing.”

WHAT A MORON THAT COP IS!! What type of intervention did he participate in to alleviate the problem and why weren't whites going to jail?? Is it because they don't get caught with it as often, or is it because blacks are being stopped more? If blacks are being stopped more, are they the majority in the areas where they're being stopped?

Why is Neill Franklin complaining?? How many white people did he arrest for possession of marijuana? Did he arrest more African Americans? I would guess he did, if he worked in neighborhoods that are predominantly African American. The same thing happens in the hispanic neighborhood I grew up in. It wasn't because the officers were racist or wanted to put away hispanics, it was because hispanics were the majority and they were in possession of marijuana. A lot of my friends when I was growing up carried marijuana knowing they'd get arrested for it if caught. Too many people carrying and using it doesn't make it okay!

That's no surprise...

When we regulate something we do NOT automatically condone it's use; the regulations concerning alcohol and tobacco are there to protect us from the vast increase in criminality that would otherwise exist if these substances were prohibited.

Nicotine is the biggest killer of all known drugs, but it's sale is legally regulated. Now why is that? Alcohol Prohibition made cigarette smoking a national habit. High on the evangelicals' hit list, second only to alcohol as a substance that had to be prohibited. In 1921, cigarettes were illegal in fourteen states, and anti-cigarette bills were pending in twenty-eight others. The prohibition of cigarettes, promoted by the very people who gave us the prohibition of alcohol, made cigarette smoking almost irresistible. As the experiment of Prohibition failed, the anti-cigarette laws fell. By 1930, they were legal almost everywhere; during Prohibition, the consumption of tobacco had nearly tripled.

A regulated and licensed distribution network for all mind altering substances would put responsible adult supervision in between children and premature access to drug distribution outlets. Regulated and licensed distribution would reflect and respect society's values, thus preventing children obtaining easy access to these dangerous substances. What we need is legalized regulation. what we have is a non-regulated black market to which everybody has access and where all the profits go to organized crime and terrorists.

Prohibition causes massive crime and suffering, causes government/police corruption, causes America to have the highest prison population of any country in the history of the planet, causes Americans to lose all their rights and all their true values, causes the waste of trillions in taxpayer dollars, causes wars, causes violence and death in other countries, causes America to be hated by other countries, funds criminals, funds terrorists, causes the people who use drugs to be instant criminals who have to spend 100x the money for an inferior, adulterated, impure, unmeasured and thus unsafe product. Drug prohibition was started as a policy of racism and it perpetuates racism to this very day.

Wake up guys! The prisons are bursting! The police are corrupt! Most of you are not even safe in your own homes anymore and the whole country is on the verge of a total financial collapse!



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